Content strategy services Q&A

Q: How can you create a content marketing strategy for our company when you know nothing about us?

A: Although I may not know you – yet – I do know content and human nature. I know what it feels like to be in various stages of buying, searching for information on business sites, only to be disappointed by no content, the wrong content, or crappy content—content with walls of text, an overload of jargon, or the same information I’ve read elsewhere. Bottom line? I learn fast. I know how to think and to strategize. I also know how to write, organize, and persuade—and I’ve been doing this work for 15+ years. What more do you need?

Q: What are the deliverables for the Content Strategy in a Box service?

A: You'll get three deliverables in the Content Strategy in a Box package: 1) an informal Discovery report, which summarizes my findings from a deep dive into your environment, 2) an Audit report, which contains the results of a content audit and recommendations for improvement for your key content pieces, and 3) a Strategy report, which recaps our engagement and lays out a content marketing strategy for the next 90 days.

Q: What are the deliverables for the Virtual Content Marketer services?

A: You'll get AT LEAST three deliverables in the Virtual Content Marketer package: 1) an informal Discovery report, which summarizes my findings and recommendations from the deep dive, 2) a Competitive Content Analysis report, which outlines the content gaps I discover during discovery, and 3) a Strategy report, which lays out your content marketing strategy for the next 90-days. Depending on which Content Stack you choose (Funnel Stack, Social Stack, Blog Stack), you’ll also receive a set of professionally written content ready to put to work for your business.

Q: In your opinion, what is content marketing strategy?

A: Most content efforts start with the CONTENT, asking “What content can we create?” Content efforts fed by content strategy start instead with your GOALS and your AUDIENCE. Content strategy asks you to step back to figure out “What content should we create?”

In my mind, content marketing strategy is the glue that holds your content together. It’s the difference between posting random success stories or blogging once a month and creating the right content to be consumed by the right people at the right time.

Content marketing strategy informs which content TO create as well as which content NOT TO create. It channels your content efforts in a way that leads to you achieving your content goals.

Q: Are you a content marketing strategist? A content marketer? A marketing writer? Or what?

A: Ha ha! Here’s the deal. When I started in this business in 2002, I billed myself as a copywriter. That title landed me several gigs I hated, such as writing web content to sell male enhancement products, and direct mail content to sell videocassette training programs for get-rich-quick wannabes. (Yes, I said videocassettes. That's how long ago this was!)

Eons ago, back in the early days of content marketing, I sold crap like this.

It didn’t take me long to transition from “copywriter” to “marketing writer,” which led to projects with small business owners in trade and professional fields: management consulting, engineering consulting, law, accounting, and more. That work, in turn, put me in touch with B2B marketers, several of whom thought strategically about content and taught me what they knew. Those folks, many of them in the SaaS industry, brought me in for retainer engagements to help with ongoing content marketing efforts, for instance auditing, ideating, evaluating, and writing and editing suites of content.

Being a lifelong learner, I’ve also been digging into the topic of content marketing and content strategy myself, reading books and blogs, listening to audio presentations and podcasts, digesting what experts in the field have to say, and formulating my own thoughts and methods around marketing writing, content marketing, and content marketing strategy.

That learning and formulating has been happening for at least the last five-plus years, and I suppose it will continue as long as I keep on learning and growing. So – to answer your questions – yes, yes, yes. I’m a content marketing strategist, a content marketer, and a marketing writer.

Q: What goes into a content marketing strategy?

A: Although each content marketing strategy I create is unique and developed from scratch, all contain similar elements:

  • Content marketing goals -- the reason for the strategy in the first place
  • Target audience -- the right people we're after with our strategy, and where to find them
  • Audience needs, wishes, fears, requirements -- the heart of what we need to deliver the right content to the right people at the right times
  • Competitive space -- What others are saying and how you're different or better
  • Content gaps -- Gaps become obvious one we understand the audience's requiremenets, what you've been doing, and what your competitors are doing
  • Metrics -- How we'll measure the success of your content marketing efforts
  • Your content mantra -- A guiding statement that captures the essence of your content marketing strategy in as few words as possible

Depending on our engagement, your strategy might also touch on executive buy-in, personas, mission and vision statements, style and tone guidelines, customer journey maps, content marketing planners, editorial guidelines and calendars, channel plans, and more.

Q: Do you implement strategy? Or do you give good strategy and run?

A: If my work- and life-loads allow, I’ll be happy to help you with implementation.

Q: What if I have a question you haven’t addressed here?

A: Please let me know! I’ll respond promptly and, if appropriate, add your question to this Q&A to help others who might be wondering the same thing.

Q: I’m sold — how do I say YES?

A: Whoa! Hold on, Nellie! First, let’s schedule a Get-Acquainted call using the calendar that follows. There’s no obligation; the call is simply to see if and how we fit together. If, after the call, we agree that there is a fit, I’ll provide more “next step” details.

Q: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

A: Well … I’m into haiku, and have challenged myself to create one haiku each day for a year. I enjoy the quiet that settles on me when I’m working on a haiku; it’s a little piece of creative solitude in my otherwise hectic days. If you’re interested, check out my progress at www.facebook.com/wordstocallyourown.