Content is all around us — as consumers, we are absolutely inundated with it. From blogs, to social media posts, to online ads and beyond, there is so much content available to us, even the most important messaging can get lost in the noise.

As marketers, the best way to make sure our message is heard is to create and execute a comprehensive content strategy. A plan that outlines what content you have, what content you need, and where and when that content needs to appear to reach the right audience is an important guidepost that ensures your communications are intentional and impactful at all times.

If you don’t have a content strategy in place, you’re not alone: According to Marketing Profs and the Content Management Institute, 63% of businesses haven’t documented their content strategy. But if you’re wondering if now’s the right time for your organization to take the leap, here are three red flags that might indicate it’s time to greenlight that content strategy project.

Red Flag #1:
You’re trying to set — and achieve — new goals for 2020.

It’s the start of a brand new year (and a brand new decade!), and most of us are making plans and setting goals. A content strategy is a great tool to help you move the needle and show an impact on almost any campaign or initiative.

Setting short-term and long-term goals for your content is an effective way to show success. First, make sure your content strategy defines the metrics you plan to track — for example, click-throughs to a specific landing page, new social media followers by platform, or unique page views. Set achievable and measurable goals for each metric, including the growth you want to see over a specified period of time. Then use those goals!

To be effective, your content strategy touchpoints should be assessed on a regular and ongoing basis to make sure you’re getting results. If they aren’t driving success, make adjustments. And don’t forget to allow yourself space to be nimble if new opportunities for your content present themselves. Your content strategy shouldn’t be set in stone; it should be a living document that allows you to capitalize on new trends, topical news and other tie-ins for your planned content.

Red Flag #2:
You’re tackling a website refresh, rebrand or other big-picture project.

Are you spending big bucks on a big project in 2020? You should probably add content strategy to your to-do list.

As a rule of thumb, content strategy should be a component of any major milestone project your organization undertakes. You wouldn’t hit the highway for a road trip without consulting Google Maps first, would you? Creating a content strategy is much the same. It helps chart the course for your overall content path from start to finish — and illustrates how content complements and supports other marketing initiatives. When you’re making a major investment in a big-ticket project like a new website, content strategy ensures that your baby rolls out with a splash — and that it continues to be supported with ongoing, intentional and diverse content touchpoints that feed your funnel.

Red Flag #3:
You have no idea what content you have on hand — or how to use it.

Are there staples you buy every single week at the grocery store? Odds are, you grab them out of habit without even checking to make sure you really need them — until you find yourself with three bunches of broccoli in varying stages of freshness hanging out in your crisper.

Content can pose the same problem if it’s created in a silo and without a plan. You may write content you think you need, only to discover that a similar nugget already existed that just needed a little retooling to be repurposed. New team members, a lack of historic institutional knowledge, and poor asset organization and management can also magnify confusion over what content exists and what doesn’t.

That’s why a good content strategy starts with a thorough content audit and analysis. No one wants to waste time, energy and money recreating the wheel. Before you plan what you think you need, collect, review and assess everything you’ve already created, from white papers to customer testimonials to product sell sheets. Are those pieces written in a voice that is reflective of your current brand? Are they still factually accurate? Are they telling your story?

Ask yourself a few key questions, like:

  • Why do we need this content?
  • What audiences will be reached with this piece?
  • What action do we want to drive?
  • Do we have other content that does the same job?

Curate a strategic arsenal of multipurpose copy blocks and key messaging that can be used across a variety of channels to tell your story. Then, use those core pieces to build out the tactical pieces you need to reach your audience where they live. Odds are, you already have some raw material just waiting for the right strategy to put it to work!

If these red flags have you waving the white flag when it comes to content strategy — we can help. Contact us to learn about Willow’s content strategy services, and how we can elevate your marketing game in 2020.

Erin Witt Headshot

Written by Erin Witt

"She believed she could, so she did."