10 Must-Haves of Content Strategy in 2014

medium_11178388835Whether you’re a crystal ball-toting futurist or a laid back Luddite, clairvoyantly connecting certain dots creates a smart strategy.

Here are 10 must-haves that you’ll want to connect for your content strategy in 2014:

1. Content and Context

Quality content is better than advertising.

Here’s why:

Quality content has context. It adds value, purpose, and meaning that come from the core of your brand. This builds engagement, and creates a digital experience that leaves customers coming back for more.

According to a study done by Demand Metric, 91% of the 518 people surveyed say that a sophisticated digital experience has a favorable influence on brand perception. The more sophisticated the digital experience, the more magnetic your brand.

2. Creativity and Collaboration

You can be creative, but if you’re not collaborating with others in and outside your industry, you’re doing a disservice to your brand (and potentially your bottom line).

Why? Creativity works best when it’s not in a silo.

Let creativity create content that connects with your customers. When you connect, you can stop the silos so that you can collaborate, and listen (no Vanilla Ice required).

3. Hustle and Flow

It doesn’t have to be hard out there for a content creator. You want to work the hustle with your content, so you can find the flow with your company {click to tweet!}. Your content should be seamless and special, unique and unobtrusive.

Create content, tell your story, and find your flow. Repeat.

4. Stories and Subtexts

Stories summon the subtexts of your brand. And you need to combine the two to create a cohesive brand experience, and so that you can create a common framework from which to communicate.

Look at Red Bull for example. They share stories about adventures in surfing, skateboarding, biking, and motorsports. But the subtext is always around being a pure, unadulterated adrenaline junky. Each story is typically an awe-inspiring tale of an experience that the customer can take part in. They find a way to weave their stories together in a thrilling, educational yet informative way.

5. Curiosity and Clarity

Humans are naturally curious creatures. When you use your curiosity to learn how people, storytelling, and technology can connect, you can create clarity. When you create clarity, your stories can become more seamless and share-worthy.

6. Technology and Data

Don’t let the technology of today just sit there. Put social media monitoring to good use.  The “internet of things” is being taken to a new level. And brands that can use it to their advantage will make their mark. Use technology and its data to better understand your customers and their needs, so that you can deliver content that they crave. Dive deep into tools like SumAll to connect data and get insights.

7. Humans and Heart

Some humans simply don’t think before they speak. Without naming names, there has been plenty of this in the news in 2013. Not everyone is on top of his or her game all of the time. Respect the fact that humanity can be messy. And have faith that we’re learning and evolving.

Do your part to have a heart. Be empathetic and understanding. Don’t monopolize conversations to your benefit, or attack without reason or context. Instead, try to listen and find ways to relate in an authentic way. If you don’t have something nice to share (or say) don’t share it at all (unless of course it’s about the woes of airline travel. Then in that case…go!)

8. Simplicity and Significance

You don’t always need a complex content marketing plan. Sometimes when your content is simplified, it can become more straightforward, and in turn, significant.

9. Grit and Guts

A smart content marketing plan is a fierce force of grit and guts. Results won’t happen overnight, and you need guts to see it through. Be determined. Respect the process. And know that you will see results over time.

10. Imperfection and Prescience

Perfection with your plan is not required. When you have an imperfect plan, you’ll have more foresight into what’s coming next. Imperfect plans are what will keep your brand nimble and agile. And this is what will hone your brand to keep creating and experimenting.

What are some other must-haves for a solid content strategy? Please comment below. 

photo credit: danielmoyle via photopin cc

Jessica Ann
Jessica is the CEO and Creative Director at Jessica Ann Media a boutique digital agency that humanizes businesses with creative copy and smart social media strategy. She champions the creative spirits of entrepreneurs and brands who want to find more freedom in their business through profitable, targeted traffic. She enjoys traveling, reading, running, yoga, and learning new things. She has a Masters in Communications from Johns Hopkins University and is a contributor to The Huffington Post.

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