Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Content Without A Solid Strategy is Just "Stuff"

I've just been reading the April 2014 issue of Chief Content Officer magazine, and this month's editorial from editor, Joe Pulizzi, struck me as something important for agencies to consider when approaching clients or prospects.

His editorial references that wonderful George Carlin stand-up routine about "stuff".  We spend our lives collecting "stuff".  A house is a place to keep your "stuff" so you can go out and buy more "stuff".  We buy bigger houses so we can collect more "stuff".

I have had several clients ask me recently to help them develop content, but none of them had a formal (or even informal) strategy for that content.  They wanted to produce more content because they need fresh ideas and more "stuff".

As Joe discusses in his editorial, when the web came along, companies filled their website with "stuff".  And the thought was "the more stuff we can put on the website, the more chance we have to sell the stuff we have".

And before long, companies found new ways to talk about their stuff, through blogs, white papers, YouTube videos, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.  They put out a lot of "stuff", without a clear plan on how to organize and use it to provide real information or value for their customers.  It's mostly about their "stuff" and why you should buy it.

Nine in 10 companies budget for and create content, but the majority have no documented strategy for why they are creating all that content stuff.

It seems to me that this is where agencies could provide a great service to clients.  If we can help them move away from creating, publishing and sharing for the sake of the stuff, and focus on content that supports their strategy, we can perform a real service.  To our clients,and to their customers.

We all know that good branding begins with a strategy.  Why in the world wouldn't we have a documented plan for creating content? If we can help our clients to plan and produce creative content that informs and entertains their target audience, and provides a real service to that audience, we can be heroes.

And maybe create a little less stuff in the process.

In case you don't remember that Geoge Carlin routine, here it is. I miss that guy.