Why strategy is key

As a content and copy agency, we regularly get asked to write catchy content for websites. But what we often find, is that the big picture – the strategy – is missing. Ouch.

“We need new copy for these pages, ” our customer says. “Great,” we respond, “we are happy to help!” We shake hands and a while later; a copy writer arrives at the customer’s location and asks: “Can I see your content strategy and communication guidelines?” An uncomfortable silence ensues.

Granite or wetland

As a rule, I ask for brand or strategy documents, because I feel it’s essential to write copy and develop concepts that match a brand and its audience. This ensures you tell a consistent story with a clear message and a strong focus. In short: good communication starts with a good strategy.
Knowing who you are aiming your message at, what you want to say and how, removes a lot of uncertainty and miscommunication. Without decent guidelines, everyone who writes for your organisation can just do as they please. Which creates differences in tone, style and focus. Not great if you want to present a strong brand. So build your communication on granite, not treacherous wetland.

Three important questions

Creating a strategy may seem daunting. But don’t let that stop you: once you start working on it, the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. Use these 3 questions to get you started:

1. Who are you?

This may seem like a simple question, but many companies answer this question with what they do. Which is of course important, but your identity is mainly formed by your character. And by why you do what you do. Imagine, your organisation is a person… what kind of person would they be? Be sure to check our Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle if you start looking at this question.

2. Who are your customers?

The story you want to tell is important, but not as important as what your customers want to hear. How does your product or service meet their needs? And what do you know about their ages, habits or occupations? What could make their experience even better?

3. What do you want to achieve?

Which position do you want to have in the market? What sets you apart from the competition? How do you make a difference and what makes you unique for your target market? And mainly: what are your ambitions? Where do you want your organisation to be in 1, 2, 5 years?

Make strategy simple

Thanks to the answers you have given to these questions, your strategy is becoming more and more real. Concrete questions lead to concrete answers that tell you which steps to take next.

For example: during my time at Zilveren Kruis, I was blogging on behalf of this health insurer about healthy entrepreneurship, in order to become thought leader. That meant looking for inspiring entrepreneurs that had a good – and fitting – story about their health policy. So I interviewed RITUALS’ Irene Vernie, which resulted in a relevant item for the target audience, was therefore read a lot and in turn created a great addition to a recent event.

Question, answer and plan

The above example relates to editorial content, but for your choice of channel, pay-off, content partners, brand voice, copy, (interaction) design (etc. etc.), your answers will be equally important.
So, as a company, have a look at yourself in the mirror and wonder: do I have answers to the three questions above? Because that is where your opportunities lay.

Published: 03-2018