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In the years that I’ve been practicing content strategy (since 1999), I’ve often asked myself why organizations have been slow to make content strategy a top priority. I think it’s the name “content strategy.”

Here’s the issue: Content is not about itself. “Content” is information about your company. It’s your programs, your lines of business, your strategies, your thought leadership, your benefits to customers or members, your offerings. Content is how your organization presents itself to the world. In short, it is you. In particular, online content strategy is you online.

Moreover, it’s all the things that your customers/members want from you — who you are, what you do, what you think, what you know, and what you offer them.

In order for customers/members to really get you, find you, and use you, your online content strategy must be centered on getting the word out in a customer- or member-centered way. If you describe yourself using your terminology and your mental models, they may not find you, or may not really get that when they come across your website or Facebook page, they’ve found the solution they are looking for.

So, online content strategy really stands for customer-focused, benefits-centric, readable, relevant, useful, and usable

  • thought leadership communications
  • business communications
  • corporate communications
  • marketing communications
  • program communications

Online content strategy is creating each of these in a customer-centered way — starting with the understanding of how customers or members see you, what they currently want from you, as well as what they currently want but don’t know you offer. And all of this, with the layer of online content best practices: clear, share-friendly headlines; short, scannable paragraphs; and others.

But the writing and online presentation are the packaging — what the content is ABOUT is at the heart of all of it.

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