Service Spotlight: Content Strategy for Education

By Posted in - Content & Content Strategy & Pickle Jar Communications' Projects & Service Spotlight & Strategy and Planning on December 4th, 2014 0 Comments

According to our recent sector research, content strategies are high on the education sector’s agenda for 2015. We’ve been developing digital content strategies for the education sector since we were founded in 2007, so we thought we’d a share a little about our approach and our top tips for commissioning a content strategy for your organisation. Our strategies have informed website developments and social media plans, so our advice here applies to all digital developments (and offline approaches too).

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss how we can help with your organisation’s content strategy.

What is a content strategy? 

A content strategy provides a framework and guidance for:

  • The content that you need to develop to attract, engage and motivate your target audiences in order to fulfil your organisational goals;
  • The structures, channels and platforms that you should use to distribute that content and how those channels will work together;
  • The resource and governance systems that you need in place to implement and sustain your content strategy.

 How do we approach this?

  1. Define organisational goals and appropriate measurement techniques
  2. Understand related marketing and communications objectives
  3. Understand the culture and personality of your organisation
  4. Get to know your audience and what types of content attracts their attention, engages and motivates them
  5. Take a look at your competitor approaches to content
  6. Develop creative content strategies
  7. Develop content plans and editorial calendars
  8. Produce recommendations for governance and resourcing.
  9. Some of our clients also ask us to create the content for them or even manage the channels that the content is designed for.

Top tips for commissioning a content strategy

  • Be clear about the organisational goals or problems that your content strategy needs to address;
  • Have a clear understanding of whom your target audiences are and be prepared to share any existing audience research with your consultancy;
  • Gather together as much data as possible from your existing channels and content;
  • Plan time to do this. Content strategies done well take time for research, planning and creative reflection to come together;
  • Don’t scrimp on the research and discovery phase. This is often the most important phase. The information gathered here will make the difference between failure and success. Even when working with a sector specialist consultancy like us, don’t make assumptions about how your specific audiences will behave based on our knowledge from other client projects, or your knowledge from previous experiences;
  • Be honest with the consultancy about how much capacity you have (or might be able to get) for implementing the strategy. Failure to do this can result in a strategy that isn’t sustainable for your organisation.
  • Assign a project manager or dedicated key contact who can give the project time and attention to work in partnership with the consultants.
  • Be realistic about your budget for the work. Good consultancies will always ensure you get the most out of their time for your budget, but content strategies done well do take time, so you will need to allocate dedicated budget for this. Contact us for advice on planning a budget for a content strategy commission if you’re unsure about this and just want a guide.

Who have Pickle Jar Communications developed content strategies for?

More than we can possibly list here, but a few of our content strategy clients for websites and social media have included:

  • Imperial College London
  • Nord Anglia Education
  • 28 individual schools within the Nord Anglia Education group
  • Newcastle University
  • The Open University

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