How to Come to an Understanding for a Content Marketing Strategy


This is part of a series of articles entitled “A Definitive Guide to Content Marketing”. Read the whole series here.

Understanding in a word is: “what?” In a few more words: “what is this grand experiment about?” Imaging the standard elevator pitch helps. How would you describe what your brand is about in under 10 seconds?

Try to sketch out your idea of a perfect piece of content. What does it look like? What does it entail?

What does the publication look like in five years?

The below advice will be helpful regardless of whether you are a one-person operation or part of a small group.

Getting your hands around the scope of your content operations is a sweat-inducing process, but it is also highly important. Once you’ve decided you are going to start up the thing *

The best piece of advice I have is to try to have a simple idea in mind before you start brainstorming all of the different ways you’ll put it to life.

For a brief example, I started this content series by stating, simply, that I wanted to walk through the steps of how to devise content strategy. The brainstorming that followed was what subject matters were required and how I wanted to display them (short paragraphs linked to a longer, stand-alone article that could live on its own.

This also applies to any situation where you’ve been hired to take on ownership of an existing content brand or organization. You should still do an understanding exercise, even if you are not being asked to overhaul the existing structure. You, as the leader, must have your own understanding.

All stakeholders should share the understanding; that way, there is less confusion about any particular piece of content or general strategy.

Take the Wirecutter, for example. My understanding is a review company that simplifies the path to purchase by only suggesting the best products. Compare it to other sites that commit to writing about new products, whether they are good enough to recommend or not.

So The Wirecutter understanding is an unbiased company that makes it easy to buy the best product. Once they knew that, they could start brainstorming how to bring it to life.

Mattress company Casper’s publication, Van Winkle’s tagline doubles as a fine understanding: “Exploring the science, culture and curiosities of sleep.”

Your initial understanding may not always be something that pithy and publishable, but it usually eventually translates into a tagline or mission statement.