What is content strategy?

By Posted in - Content Strategy on August 21st, 2018 1 Comments

Back in 2015 we published a blog post called ‘Content Strategy: What is it and why do I need one?

Since then a lot has changed. Content strategy has grown and become more recognised. Here at Pickle Jar Communications, we’ve launched Europe’s only content strategy conference for the education sector. We’ve even started to see a few universities putting the words ‘content strategy’ into people’s job titles.


So what is content strategy?

Discussions have unfolded – at Confab in the States, ContentEd in the UK and, of course, on Twitter – about what content strategy really is and what it can do.

The definition we gave in that 2015 post still stands. Even today, many people start with Brain Traffic’s classic quad and Kristina Halvorson definition in Content Strategy for the Web that: “Content strategy plans for the creation, publication and governance of useful, useable content. “

But Brain Traffic have recently updated the quad, a sign if ever there was one that the conversation is moving on. 


Collecting different definitions

We’ve not reached the stage where there is a single ‘right answer’, and hopefully we never will. Instead, a raft of thoughtful and creative individuals are contributing their own ideas on what content strategy is and why we need it.

Like some kind of content strategy magpie, I love collecting different definitions of what we do and why we do it. Here are a few to get you thinking:

Content strategy helps organisations provide the right content, to the right people, at the right time, for the right reasons.” Meghan Casey

“The process that gives you an idea of what you are publishing where and why.” Sarah Richards

“A content strategy is a repeatable cycle that governs the management of content throughout the entire content lifecycle.” Noz Urbina and Rahel Bailie

Some people have been bolder in their claims, connecting content strategy to other marketing buzzwords:

“Content is story. And content strategy is storytelling.” Prateek Sarkar

“Content strategy uses words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences.” Rachel Lovinger


Developing our own definition

At Pickle Jar Communications, we often use the definition:

“Content strategy is the process of supporting organisational goals by planning, creating, distributing and maintaining content in a way that is useful and usable to your audience, and understandable and adaptable to machines and intelligent systems.”

This is supported by a model of ten pillars that you can use to assess the maturity of your institution’s content.

However, we’re always searching for new ways to understand content strategy. At our recent ContentEd conference we ran a workshop to help attendees develop their own definitions, and learnt a lot along the way. We have created a post, ‘How do you define content strategy’, on our ContentEd blog to share attendee’s definitions from the workshop.

We’d love to know: how do you define content strategy? Comment below or reach out on Twitter @picklejar.

Want to dig even deeper? Find out more about Pickle Jar’s content strategy work

(1) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Noz Urbina - Reply

    August 24, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for the shout-out! If you’re still interested in where content strategy is going beyond the web, you might be interested in the new event on the block: OmnichannelX. http://omnichannelx.digital

    We’re very interested in bloggers attending the inaugural so feel free to get in touch!

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