Think like a Journalist to Become an Excellent Content Marketing Strategist

Why can’t marketers think more like journalists? Like myself, Kristine Kelley, Head of Editorial and Content Strategy at Grant Thornton, wants content marketing strategists to start thinking like journalists. Your organization should ask itself: Who is our audience? What do we want them to do with our content? And, how are we going to reach them?

hrh media: Content strategists face a market that is saturated with touch points – from websites to mobile devices to social media. How does a company elevate their content marketing into a content strategy in an effort to gain more consumer attention?

We really shouldn’t talk about content marketing until we have high-quality content – and a process to generate it – to market. Companies must start with the absolute basics: who is our audience, what do we want them to do with our content, and how are we going to reach them?  A solid mission statement is a solid start. Then, mapping our content to a basic sales cycle helps ensure that our content strategy is mapped to our business strategy. A successful content strategy also combines brand with solid writing best practices, to ensure what’s put out there sounds and looks like our company, and is naturally optimized. Finally, companies need to ensure they have a content org in place. Agencies are great, but depending on the volume of content generated (B2Bs generate a LOT of content), we need a team of people who understands how to speak to our audiences, and how to curate content in various channels over the entire life cycle.

hrh media:  What argument can be made to upper management that the time investment involved in implementing and initiating a content strategy is worth the gain?

Content appropriately mapped to the business strategy and corresponding sales cycle ensures that what we’re creating isn’t just stuff being generated and thrown out to see if it sticks. An actual content strategy is just that.

a.    Where do you start to develop a new content strategy, including a framework to keep it going?

In addition to the above, I like following the traditional magazine publishing model to develop a content-savvy org, which can then be executed against our strategy.

hrh media:  Marketing is still, at its roots, about building relationships and trust and evoking positive emotions to its customers. Could you name a company whose content strategy has achieved this and note some of the factors that attributed to that success?

Most big publishing companies have figured out how to execute their original content strategy in a multi-channel world. A few big brands, such as Ford and GE, are doing a great job of keeping their brands relevant and in the conversation. And a few big B2B groups, such as McKinsey, are keeping their markets reasonably satisfied but not completely inundated with solid “thought leadership.”

hrh media: Could you name a few tools you are particularly fond of that help you achieve your content strategy goals?

My tools are tools for writers: inverted pyramid, Strunk & White’s “On Writing Well,” AP Style, our company’s style guide, our company’s brand voice and our marketers’ marketing goals.

2 thoughts on “Think like a Journalist to Become an Excellent Content Marketing Strategist”

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