Why your content strategy is not a spin-off of your marketing strategy
Align with your brand strategy to create more impact and make some noise
Is your content ‘more of the same’ that is already out there? Are you not making an impact with your content? Becoming invisible and not heard?
One of the reasons could be that you align your content strategy with your marketing strategy instead of your brand strategy. Your content strategy becomes a spin-off with rolling yearly planning – instead of a solid strategy that acknowledges your challenges and an approach to overcome them ('Good Strategy Bad Strategy' by Richard Rummolt)
Why is this marketing alignment sub-optimal?
- Marketing is well, hmm, marketing-driven. Focus on sales, conversion, efficiency, and performance. With social the main channel of distribution. And especially on social, people do not like to be sold to.
- Next to this, often marketing already has yearly planning. If content follows the marketing strategy, at most your content strategy becomes a rolling yearly planning instead of a proper strategy with a focus on effectiveness.
- No integration of other silos in your content. Meaning, you are missing out on brand, PR, or CX content opportunities to compose an integrated brand story.
- No content sharing content between the departments. HR creates content to attract talent. PR produces content to show and tell the brand. And CX uses content to pro-actively inform and answer questions from your audience.
- Too much focus on micro and forgetting the macro. The main KPI for a marketing department is usually sales. With content, you have the pitfall of microdata attribution – you miss out on the macro to get insights on how content can help to build your brand and attribute to overall sales.
The brand strategy defines your mission, vision, purpose, and your identity. Including how you want to grow. And how you are better, or different than your competitors. Next to all of this, a brand strategy done well, also defines how your product or service provides a solution for the problems your customer encounters. Focus on the brand.
A marketing strategy defines how you market your product or service. Meaning where and how you sell your stuff. Detailing the message. Defining sub-audiences to target. What channels to use and promotions to run. Focus on sales.
Align content with the brand, not marketing
My recommendation is to set up content as its’ own department, directly reporting to C-level with marketing, PR, CX, and HR as stakeholders. By taking it out of the marketing silo, you prevent the content strategy from being a spin-off of the marketing strategy. You take it a notch higher and align it with the brand, integration marketing as one of the stakeholders. And get ready to make some noise.
Without getting too detailed, an overview of the benefits
- Integrated storyline: with this set up you balance brand building and brand activation in one strategy with the focus on the story and not on the sales.
- Efficiency in production and distribution: you can re-use the content over several departments. produce once, distribute often.
- Faster time to market: being your own department means you have your own approval processes and mandate.
- Accountability on overall business impact: instead of steering on marketing KPIs, you can use overall KPIs over a longer timeframe. For example, create a 3-year timeline where you plot your content efforts against overall sales in hectoliters or SKUs.
- Prepared for crisis communications: the last not least, having all content in one place means you are faster and more centered to respond to issues and escalations. There processes to align internally with all stakeholders are already in place.
How to take content out of the marketing department is easier said than done. There is no quick fix. First of all, you need a Content Director. A senior who is used to communicating with other C’s and stakeholders. And set up a decent senior team of content producers, media buying, and analytics.
Do you want to know more, need help, or pick my brain from my experiences? Please reach out. Happy to have a call, all free of charge.
Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash
The biggest mistake brands make is to place content in the marketing department. You miss out on the brand building, re-use of content, and attribution to the overall sales.