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What is Content Strategy?

You may not even realize it, but you very well may be a content strategist.

For anyone working in communications, preparing content on the web, printing a handbook or posting on social media, you are planning, creating and publishing content. But do you have a strategy supporting your efforts? What do you publish and when? Who is your audience and how long has it been since you updated your content? These are the questions answered by the content strategist.

Developed in the 1990s, Content Strategy is the planning, development and management of informational content in all its forms (print, web, social media, video, photography and any other iterations you can come up with). It goes beyond the job of the typical editor or videographer to look at content as a whole in its creation, presentation, governance and success. It's main tenets are:

  • Analysis: content audits, understanding how viewers use your content, reviewing your processes, linking your strategic or financial goals with content
  • Planning: what content you need, governance, participation from all levels
  • Architecture: content reuse/repurose/repacking, metadata, flow of content across mediums
  • Content Design: editorial plans and calendars, content templates, tone and style
  • Evaluation: surveys/focus groups, data mining, analytics

In the postsecondary education sector, the use of Content Strategy is often viewed as "complicated" as it needs to be navigated over various units, outlets, audiences and needs. However, many units may already have processes and best practices in place that can help you develop a Content Strategy that can allow you to:

  • Understand and meet your audience's needs
  • Support actions resulting from your content that you want to promote
  • Stop wasting resources on content nobody wants
  • Eliminate guesswork about what to publish, when and where
  • Get more done

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