30 Questions To Guide Your Content Strategy
30 Questions For Your Content Strategy
30 Questions For Your Content Strategy
by

The more companies that step to the plate to take a swing at social media, the more scratch their heads at this concept of content. Whether it’s their Twitter feed, which makes content short and simple, to Facebook posts (a bit longer, still simple) or blog posts (more involved and complex but not rocket surgery), content confuses them. This is bad since content and a strategy around it drives a lot of social media success.

Understanding content is confusing, too, since content can be anything. A tweet, a video, a picture … content. A white paper, a graphic, a blog post … content. An audio recording, an interactive instruction video, a sketch on a napkin … content. Even how you respond to a customer’s question is content in the social era. Frank Eliason is awesome at content, even though most of his is limited to 140 characters of response to someone whining about Comcast.

Jay Baer developed a nice questionnaire about content he shared last week over at Convince and Convert. He presented a Content Rationale Worksheet as sort of a creative brief, to borrow an advertising agency term, for the social media activators in an organization. His report is a great first step to defining the type of content you want to create and giving you a nice direction for that content once you know the answers.

Baer’s worksheet is mighty handy if you’re the content producer and you’re trying to construct a single piece of content. It’s a little closer to the ground than what you would need to start an overall content strategy. (Of course, that wasn’t what Jay was shooting for with the piece.)

When you’re developing a more broad content strategy for an organization, you have to ask yourself a lot more questions. Here are just a few I have on my list when working with clients. What more would you add?

Organizational Questions

  1. What do you think social media can do for your organization?
  2. What do you want social media to do for your organization?
  3. In terms of providing content on social platforms, what are you afraid of? What confuses you?
  4. Who approves the content before it’s published?
  5. How many departments or divisions will be contributing content?
  6. How many departments or divisions will you provide content for?
  7. How do you engage and communicate with the various departments?
  8. Does a distinctive goal for the content exist?
  9. How will you prioritize content from one department or division over the next?
  10. Who will be responsible for providing content and on how many platforms?

Audience Questions

  1. How do you currently communicate with your audiences?
  2. How often do you communicate with them?
  3. Who provides the content for those communications?
  4. What kind of content is provided for the audiences?
  5. What do you ask your audiences to do? Do they do it?
  6. How does your audience prefer to communicate with you? Others?
  7. Have your audiences ever asked for specific content?
  8. What kind of content do you think your audience needs? Wants?
  9. How comfortable with technology, the web and social media is your audience?
  10. What is our audience interested in besides our product?

Content Questions

  1. What general area of knowledge to we have that we can share?
  2. What kind of expertise or even products can we give away?
  3. What can we explain?
  4. What type of content from others can we share with our audience?
  5. Who can we interview that would interest our audience?
  6. What can we have fun with that isn’t a disconnect from our brand or industry?
  7. What sensitive topics may we take advantage of to engage discussion?
  8. What topics are off-limits?
  9. Who in our company connects with customers most naturally?
  10. What is our capacity to produce content? Our audience’s threshold to consume it?

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
  • guptaabhijit318

    Really very instructive and fantastic post. You have added lot of information in your blog. Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

  • danettepatterso

    iy7R – Lately i have been down on cash and debts were killing me from all sides!! That was Until I decided to make money.. on the INTERNET! I landed on surveymoneymaker point net, and started filling in surveys for straight cash, and surely I have been great amounts more able to get around financialy! i’m so glad, I did this!!! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – 1Odl

  • danettepatterso

    iy7R – Lately i have been down on cash and debts were killing me from all sides!! That was Until I decided to make money.. on the INTERNET! I landed on surveymoneymaker point net, and started filling in surveys for straight cash, and surely I have been great amounts more able to get around financialy! i’m so glad, I did this!!! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – 1Odl

  • latoshaf95

    iy7R – Lately i have been down on cash and debts were killing me from all sides!! That was Until I decided to make money.. on the INTERNET! I landed on surveymoneymaker point net, and started filling in surveys for straight cash, and surely I have been great amounts more able to get around financialy! i’m so glad, I did this!!! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – 1Odl

  • latoshaf95

    iy7R – Lately i have been down on cash and debts were killing me from all sides!! That was Until I decided to make money.. on the INTERNET! I landed on surveymoneymaker point net, and started filling in surveys for straight cash, and surely I have been great amounts more able to get around financialy! i’m so glad, I did this!!! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – 1Odl

  • funsarabgiant

    Recently I was REALLY low on money and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money on the internet! I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this.. With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – m734

  • Pingback: Look At This()

  • Pingback: click the following internet site()

  • Pingback: mouse click the next page()

  • Pingback: need for speed()

  • Pingback: dedicated server()

  • Pingback: Разгребая архивы: Полезные ссылки про стратегию в социальных медиа | SG Team()

  • Pingback: Genius Generation | For The Mind of a Go-Getter()

  • wog

    No questions Jason, this is a good post. This somewhat serves as a  blueprint of content strategy. But may I also add “Media or channel” Questions. What types of social media they will use?-we craft content based on the type of social media. How many social media tools that an organization is planning to utilize?–no matter how many or how less the social media tools we will have, the messages of the content should be integrated.  

  • Pingback: Mmm…. What shall I write about? | Puzzled ExPRession()

  • this was usefull thanks

  • Pingback: 7 Strategic Content Tips To Help Your Website Grow at Marketrends Blog()

  • Pingback: The 12 most useful social media posts I’ve ever read | 香港新媒體協會()

  • Jason – I have been searching everywhere for the questions you have posed here – so useful, thanks!

  • Pingback: 7 strategic content tips to help your website grow | cgwebco.com()

  • Pingback: Content development strategy()

  • Pingback: 30 Questions To Guide Your Content Strategy « 5hive Social Media Management()

  • Pingback: Content development strategy | InspireHarvest()

  • Pingback: 7 strategic content tips to help your website grow | Cg Web Consulting()

  • Pingback: 7 strategic content tips to help your website grow()

  • Pingback: Collaborative Blog Content Strategy | nateriggs.com | Columbus Social Media + Social Media Strategist | Nate Riggs & Social Business Strategies()

  • Pingback: A Guide to Developing Content – Pardot Marketing Automation Blog()

  • Pingback: Social Media Content Strategy Mix | Shelly Bowen's Pybop: Exceptional Web Content()

  • I really love the concept of Rationale Content! Rich keyword generated content is always necessary for a successful campaign and its also an intriguing function to attract the audience!

    Thanks!

  • I really love the concept of Rationale Content! Rich keyword generated content is always necessary for a successful campaign and its also an intriguing function to attract the audience!

    Thanks!

  • Jason's….did you not miss perhaps the most important questions?

    All this talk about 'Audience' and not one question asking “Who is your audience?” (i.e. Who is going to be consuming this content and to what benefit?)

    Keep in mind your very own study that showed 80% of all blog traffic to be first time visitors. This is critical to any Content Marketing strategy. If you don't know who you are talking to and why they might want to listen….. well you get it.

    • Fair point, Chris. I guess my presumption with the content-focused questions are that you know who your audience is and why they'll be consuming the content, but certainly those are important questions to begin with. Thanks for the input!

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • Rob D

    We do a lot of this right now at netSpray. Thanks for all the other added questions that we can ask our clients. Great article! Thanks.

    rob@netspray.com
    http://netspray.com

  • “Here elaborates the matter new balance shoes not only extensively but also detailly .I support the
    write's unique point.It is useful and benefit to your daily life.You can go those
    sits to know more relate things.They are strongly recommended by friends.Personally

  • Great post, Jason.

    As Community Genius for Context Optional, I create and manage content calendars for many of our clients. It is becoming increasingly important to plan ahead when generating content. Planning for events, promotions, launches, etc. is absolutely beneficial to the brand and will create a sense of knowledge of the social space.

    Also, we spend a great deal of time making competitive differentiations when generating content for our clients. Analyzing what others are doing in the space, and not being afraid to try things out and see how people react are great ways to learn and grow.

    Thanks for the post!

    Lauren Friedman
    Community Genius
    http://contextoptional.com

  • Thanks for the great asset Jason. Companies have got to realize that they have to be in the content business (in one way or another) to succeed going forward. Along with yours, Jay's blog is one of my favorites and a staple in my Google Reader.

    At Story, we joined the Content Marketing Institute (http://www.contentmarketinginstitute) to help marketers and business owners create their own content. It's young but has some great stuff already.

    Keep it up!

    Jon Thomas
    @Story_Jon

  • Great stuff!

  • Great stuff!

  • Great stuff!

  • Great stuff!

  • Great stuff!

  • Well , the view discount ugg boots of the passage is totally correct ,your details is really reasonable and you guy give us valuable informative post,I totally agree the standpoint of upstairs. I often surfing on this forum when I m free and I find there are so much good information we can learn in this forum!

  • Alex

    Awesome questions ; Have opened my eyes of how I really want to take things to the next level with my blog.

  • Thanks great information, awesome, many thanks.

  • Guo198706
  • I have books from both authors below (Joe and Kristina), have devoured and enjoyed them both. It's awesome to see them and others add incremental value to your original nuggets.

    One of the key areas I consider, as content developer for 4 distinct brands (day job), is how our products may affect our customer's unfulfilled needs. At the heart, it's about surfacing our points of distinction through material that adds value, wherever they may be in the purchase funnel. One fun project I'm working on now is a series of educational videos (14 in all) that covers general concepts of home energy efficiency, leading to insulation in general, leading to our specific insulation products and how they work, and on to installation methods, etc. Done well, the content helps with search (findability), it helps the prospect during their early consideration phases, and ultimately aids in their product comparison/purchase decision. Content is a conversation between a brand and its people, and the channels are our get-togethers throughout the season.

  • Jason, this is just awesome. These questions will help businesses improve their brand's communication strategy.

  • Pingback: DNA Digital » Blog Archive » Links da semana DNA()

  • One of the biggest issues that most people are unaware of is the capacity to produce content. I'm glad that it is on your list, because understanding how you will produce the content, how much, for which targeted audience and at what rate can bury those not willing to put in the effort.

  • Morning Jason,

    I do love days when I wake up to such a great blog post in my inbox – it makes me think, today is going to be a good day and I've learned something really useful already!

    This post is really excellent, especially for those, like me, who are still at a relatively early stage in social media for business. I'm out there on FB and Twitter, my other half writes a regular(ish) blog for his company, but there's a long way to go yet and your advice means that we can make sure the steps we take to improve what we're already doing are the right ones.

    Thanks again and have a great weekend,

    Sophia

  • Jason,

    You touched upon important questions regarding content. Crafting content to fit or embrace one's organizational or personal ethos can be overwhelming at first glance.

    @CorettaJackson

  • Jason, thought of another one,

    “Let's not get caught behind again folks, how can we make our content “touchable”? The iPad is rather transformative, no?”

  • I think another content-related question to ask is if one's organization has the proper framework to create relevant content. (e.g. a YouTube channel to host content to make it searchable, the ability to create an on-site blog, etc.)

    Otherwise, great list!

    • Thanks, Dan. Great suggestion to add.

  • Pingback: 7 Reasons Social Media Just Isn't Working for You | Media Emerging()

  • Good adds! Well done.

  • Thanks, Jason for the good thoughts and generating an excellent discussion. I would add the following questions,

    “What kind of content have we previously published that has worked well in the past?”
    “What kind of content do you see in the wild that you feel works well?”

  • Excellent questions to kick off the discussion around content. My team has a lot of options and a few slightly different customer groups to address, so this additional set of questions will help a lot as we work to help our org map it out.

    Thanks!

  • Hi Jason! What a great post…I can't tell you how thrilled I am that social media folks are *finally* starting to dig into the messy, necessary components of content strategy.

    I want to refer you to my book, _Content Strategy for the Web_, which I think is the longer version of the awesome advice you've provided above. :) The book gives you the tools you need to assess both your current and future state content needs: what, why, how, when, where, for whom, by whom, how much, how often, and what next.

    It's a short, easy introduction to content strategy, which, as Joe P. and I are constantly preaching, is a necessary companion to any content marketing initiative. It also gives some good ammo to sell content strategy to your clients and internal teams. (The book itself has proved a powerful weapon!)

    Thanks again, and enjoy!

    • Awesome. JuntaJoe and Kristina Halvorson both … honored. Happy to have
      people check out your book, so feel free to drop the link. I don't mind that
      so long as the link is to something relevant, which it is!

  • Keep going … the content in the comments should always be better than the
    post! I love it.

  • Keep going … the content in the comments should always be better than the
    post! I love it.

  • Keep going … the content in the comments should always be better than the
    post! I love it.

  • May do so! Thanks for the inspiration, my man.

  • May do so! Thanks for the inspiration, my man.

  • You're certainly welcome. Thanks for the comment.

  • Jason,

    Great list, some of the often overlooked questions when forming a content strategy are:

    “What content do we already have?” (conduct a content audit)
    “How can it be re-purposed into new forms of content?”
    “What needs to be thrown away and never see the light of day again?”

    Bottom line is that most companies have been in business for years and have created tons of content (taking up space on computers and file servers everywhere) …

    asses what you have, apply creative (and critical) thinking, and find new and useful ways of making it remarkable.

    • Lovin' it. Thanks, Jeremy. Good adds.

  • If you don't ask the questions, you'll probably never get the answers. ITA with Brandon about convincing clients of this, what compelling content really means. Starts with asking the right questions. Thanks for this list.

    • You're certainly welcome. Thanks for the comment.

  • Thanks pal. Great stuff. I love the list, and am even more delighted that Joe and Elizabeth and others are adding to it. You should turn the final one into a slide presentation.

    • May do so! Thanks for the inspiration, my man.

  • Excellent thoughts and information as always. One question I would add to the Organization section is “Why does your organization want to use social media?” far to often the answer is because everyone else is and to me that is a recipe for failure. Instead the organization needs to understand what it is that brings them to social media is it better customer relations, increased brand awareness, increased sales? When the organization understand the Why, they will be in a better position to create and distribute content that works towards the completion of their goals instead of against them.

  • That was short. Heh. (Thank you!)

  • Nice ones, Ryan. I likey.

  • Thanks for the questions and the post Jason. Joe, I love your added questions, but what do you do when the clients response is “no, no, no”?

    I love content, but am beginning to hate when clients use a hallowed form of the word. They will throw it around without having a true understanding of what remarkable content is, the work that is needed to produce it, or all the different shapes and forms it can take place (as you mentioned)

    For example “We'll use Twitter to spread the word about the content we produce on our bog”

    From my experience the current heads of marketing at big companies aren't super passionate about their product and don't “get” what spreads online. How do you tell them, your blog posts are boring, go hire someone who is more passionate, knowledgeable and entertaining to write posts about your industry.

    Are big companies going to need to go back and hire all those creatives that have left the hallowed halls of corporate marketing? Or will big boring brands slowly die out over time? As Joe said, they need to “stand for something” and that something can't just be selling as much crap for as cheap as possible.

    Not to mention when legal has to approve every piece of content first…don't even get me started.

    • Hi Brandon…you are right, clients push back (often).

      I use this example…I got a question from a web marketer at a large company the other day. He said they have 7 competitors and are all fighting for the same keywords and are all producing the same kind of content. He asked what to do.

      I told him that the answer to his issues was in his statement. If they are creating content, the same content that his competitors are creating, how is that having any affect on his SEO goals or marketing objectives. So we told him to go back with these points to his marketing director.
      – Similar content doesn't get linked to, which doesn't help your SEO.
      – Similar content doesn't get shared in social media, which then doesn't get linked to, which doesn't help your SEO.
      – Similar content doesn't separate your brand from the rest, which means your content won't get shared, etc etc.
      – Similar content won't create engagement on social media sites, comments on blogs, get you leads, etc.

      We find that when we focus on the pain points of the marketer (Search, leads, etc.), then you can make the point of why…even though we really should be focused on the customer. Most marketing director's think about their products and services all day long, so it's hard for them to put their publishing hat on and take their sales hat off.

      Hope that helps.

      • Keep going … the content in the comments should always be better than the
        post! I love it.

  • This is good.

  • I would add the following:

    What are the top 10 things your customers/prospects regularly ask you?
    What are the top 10 things your customers/prospects should be asking you?

  • Jason…love the questions, and Jay's sheet can work as well.

    Here's the big issue with content and social media – it's has to stand for something (or as Seth Godin preaches, has to be remarkable). So many brands out there are starting to see the importance of content, and are producing good content. Good content doesn't spread, and doesn't really make an impact in social media. Don't get me wrong, good content can deliver on some marketing objectives, but you'll never be able to be THE trusted expert in your industry without content that pushes the edge in your niche.

    I would add these questions
    Does your content stand for something?
    Does your content serve a higher purpose?
    Is your content truly remarkable?

    Thanks Jason!

  • Jason…love the questions, and Jay's sheet can work as well.

    Here's the big issue with content and social media – it's has to stand for something (or as Seth Godin preaches, has to be remarkable). So many brands out there are starting to see the importance of content, and are producing good content. Good content doesn't spread, and doesn't really make an impact in social media. Don't get me wrong, good content can deliver on some marketing objectives, but you'll never be able to be THE trusted expert in your industry without content that pushes the edge in your niche.

    I would add these questions
    Does your content stand for something?
    Does your content serve a higher purpose?
    Is your content truly remarkable?

    Thanks Jason!

  • Jason…love the questions, and Jay's sheet can work as well.

    Here's the big issue with content and social media – it's has to stand for something (or as Seth Godin preaches, has to be remarkable). So many brands out there are starting to see the importance of content, and are producing good content. Good content doesn't spread, and doesn't really make an impact in social media. Don't get me wrong, good content can deliver on some marketing objectives, but you'll never be able to be THE trusted expert in your industry without content that pushes the edge in your niche.

    I would add these questions
    Does your content stand for something?
    Does your content serve a higher purpose?
    Is your content truly remarkable?

    Thanks Jason!

  • Jason…love the questions, and Jay's sheet can work as well.

    Here's the big issue with content and social media – it's has to stand for something (or as Seth Godin preaches, has to be remarkable). So many brands out there are starting to see the importance of content, and are producing good content. Good content doesn't spread, and doesn't really make an impact in social media. Don't get me wrong, good content can deliver on some marketing objectives, but you'll never be able to be THE trusted expert in your industry without content that pushes the edge in your niche.

    I would add these questions
    Does your content stand for something?
    Does your content serve a higher purpose?
    Is your content truly remarkable?

    Thanks Jason!

  • Jason…love the questions, and Jay's sheet can work as well.

    Here's the big issue with content and social media – it's has to stand for something (or as Seth Godin preaches, has to be remarkable). So many brands out there are starting to see the importance of content, and are producing good content. Good content doesn't spread, and doesn't really make an impact in social media. Don't get me wrong, good content can deliver on some marketing objectives, but you'll never be able to be THE trusted expert in your industry without content that pushes the edge in your niche.

    I would add these questions
    Does your content stand for something?
    Does your content serve a higher purpose?
    Is your content truly remarkable?

    Thanks Jason!

  • Jason…love the questions, and Jay's sheet can work as well.

    Here's the big issue with content and social media – it's has to stand for something (or as Seth Godin preaches, has to be remarkable). So many brands out there are starting to see the importance of content, and are producing good content. Good content doesn't spread, and doesn't really make an impact in social media. Don't get me wrong, good content can deliver on some marketing objectives, but you'll never be able to be THE trusted expert in your industry without content that pushes the edge in your niche.

    I would add these questions
    Does your content stand for something?
    Does your content serve a higher purpose?
    Is your content truly remarkable?

    Thanks Jason!

  • Jason…love the questions, and Jay's sheet can work as well.

    Here's the big issue with content and social media – it's has to stand for something (or as Seth Godin preaches, has to be remarkable). So many brands out there are starting to see the importance of content, and are producing good content. Good content doesn't spread, and doesn't really make an impact in social media. Don't get me wrong, good content can deliver on some marketing objectives, but you'll never be able to be THE trusted expert in your industry without content that pushes the edge in your niche.

    I would add these questions
    Does your content stand for something?
    Does your content serve a higher purpose?
    Is your content truly remarkable?

    Thanks Jason!

    • When my stuff gets spit shined from the content marketing master, it's that
      much better! Thanks, Joe.

  • srinirao

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I've recently taken on the role of editor in Chief of a new travel blog at work, so I'll be going through this list of questions and using them to map out my strategy for the next several months.,

  • srinirao

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I've recently taken on the role of editor in Chief of a new travel blog at work, so I'll be going through this list of questions and using them to map out my strategy for the next several months.,

  • srinirao

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I've recently taken on the role of editor in Chief of a new travel blog at work, so I'll be going through this list of questions and using them to map out my strategy for the next several months.,

  • srinirao

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I've recently taken on the role of editor in Chief of a new travel blog at work, so I'll be going through this list of questions and using them to map out my strategy for the next several months.,

  • srinirao

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I've recently taken on the role of editor in Chief of a new travel blog at work, so I'll be going through this list of questions and using them to map out my strategy for the next several months.,

  • srinirao

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I've recently taken on the role of editor in Chief of a new travel blog at work, so I'll be going through this list of questions and using them to map out my strategy for the next several months.,

  • srinirao

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I've recently taken on the role of editor in Chief of a new travel blog at work, so I'll be going through this list of questions and using them to map out my strategy for the next several months.,

  • Good points, Diana. Certainly, understanding the channel vs. the message is
    an important factor in a communicator's success. My point was to simply say
    that because of the all the various platforms and mechanisms (channels) in
    place with web communications that “content” doesn't simply have to be
    defined by a blog post, a white paper or a report, which is where most
    marketers heads start when they hear the term.

    Content in the web world can be defined a number of different ways. The
    messages in a Tweet are content … but you don't normally think of Twitter
    posts (if you consider Twitter a purely conversational platform,
    particularly) as “content.” I intended to make people see that even the
    messages in their conversations are a part of that content strategy.

    But thank you for clarifying the channel vs. message distinction.

  • Good points, Diana. Certainly, understanding the channel vs. the message is
    an important factor in a communicator's success. My point was to simply say
    that because of the all the various platforms and mechanisms (channels) in
    place with web communications that “content” doesn't simply have to be
    defined by a blog post, a white paper or a report, which is where most
    marketers heads start when they hear the term.

    Content in the web world can be defined a number of different ways. The
    messages in a Tweet are content … but you don't normally think of Twitter
    posts (if you consider Twitter a purely conversational platform,
    particularly) as “content.” I intended to make people see that even the
    messages in their conversations are a part of that content strategy.

    But thank you for clarifying the channel vs. message distinction.

  • Good points, Diana. Certainly, understanding the channel vs. the message is
    an important factor in a communicator's success. My point was to simply say
    that because of the all the various platforms and mechanisms (channels) in
    place with web communications that “content” doesn't simply have to be
    defined by a blog post, a white paper or a report, which is where most
    marketers heads start when they hear the term.

    Content in the web world can be defined a number of different ways. The
    messages in a Tweet are content … but you don't normally think of Twitter
    posts (if you consider Twitter a purely conversational platform,
    particularly) as “content.” I intended to make people see that even the
    messages in their conversations are a part of that content strategy.

    But thank you for clarifying the channel vs. message distinction.

  • Good points, Diana. Certainly, understanding the channel vs. the message is
    an important factor in a communicator's success. My point was to simply say
    that because of the all the various platforms and mechanisms (channels) in
    place with web communications that “content” doesn't simply have to be
    defined by a blog post, a white paper or a report, which is where most
    marketers heads start when they hear the term.

    Content in the web world can be defined a number of different ways. The
    messages in a Tweet are content … but you don't normally think of Twitter
    posts (if you consider Twitter a purely conversational platform,
    particularly) as “content.” I intended to make people see that even the
    messages in their conversations are a part of that content strategy.

    But thank you for clarifying the channel vs. message distinction.

  • Good points, Diana. Certainly, understanding the channel vs. the message is
    an important factor in a communicator's success. My point was to simply say
    that because of the all the various platforms and mechanisms (channels) in
    place with web communications that “content” doesn't simply have to be
    defined by a blog post, a white paper or a report, which is where most
    marketers heads start when they hear the term.

    Content in the web world can be defined a number of different ways. The
    messages in a Tweet are content … but you don't normally think of Twitter
    posts (if you consider Twitter a purely conversational platform,
    particularly) as “content.” I intended to make people see that even the
    messages in their conversations are a part of that content strategy.

    But thank you for clarifying the channel vs. message distinction.

  • Good points, Diana. Certainly, understanding the channel vs. the message is
    an important factor in a communicator's success. My point was to simply say
    that because of the all the various platforms and mechanisms (channels) in
    place with web communications that “content” doesn't simply have to be
    defined by a blog post, a white paper or a report, which is where most
    marketers heads start when they hear the term.

    Content in the web world can be defined a number of different ways. The
    messages in a Tweet are content … but you don't normally think of Twitter
    posts (if you consider Twitter a purely conversational platform,
    particularly) as “content.” I intended to make people see that even the
    messages in their conversations are a part of that content strategy.

    But thank you for clarifying the channel vs. message distinction.

  • Well done, Joey. Good additions. Thank you.

  • Well done, Joey. Good additions. Thank you.

  • Well done, Joey. Good additions. Thank you.

  • Well done, Joey. Good additions. Thank you.

  • Well done, Joey. Good additions. Thank you.

  • Well done, Joey. Good additions. Thank you.

  • Awesome additions, Elizabeth. Thanks for those!

  • Awesome additions, Elizabeth. Thanks for those!

  • Awesome additions, Elizabeth. Thanks for those!

  • Awesome additions, Elizabeth. Thanks for those!

  • Awesome additions, Elizabeth. Thanks for those!

  • Awesome additions, Elizabeth. Thanks for those!

  • Very useful post and links.

    I'm concerned though that content is being defined by many people as 'anything'. No wonder it becomes confusing. There's a big difference between a 'communication channel' and the content it contains. In that sense, using your examples above, I would argue that a white paper, Twitter, a blog and even a napkin are communication channels but what's in the white paper, a tweet or blog post, or on the napkin, are the content. Whereas the web provides a platform/convergence for many different communication channels, typically text, images, sound, video and animation make up the content within them.

    Content analysis has several layers and you can approach it in different ways. But overall content doesn't need to be so confusing and it's up to content strategists to ensure that's not the case.

    • Good points, Diana. Certainly, understanding the channel vs. the message is
      an important factor in a communicator's success. My point was to simply say
      that because of the all the various platforms and mechanisms (channels) in
      place with web communications that “content” doesn't simply have to be
      defined by a blog post, a white paper or a report, which is where most
      marketers heads start when they hear the term.

      Content in the web world can be defined a number of different ways. The
      messages in a Tweet are content … but you don't normally think of Twitter
      posts (if you consider Twitter a purely conversational platform,
      particularly) as “content.” I intended to make people see that even the
      messages in their conversations are a part of that content strategy.

      But thank you for clarifying the channel vs. message distinction.

      • I see what you mean now.

        Is it fair, do you think, to say that content is the substance of any message, written or spoken? And every message needs a communication channel.

        Thanks very much for a great post.

  • Very thought-provoking, Jason. Thank you. I'd like to throw my hat in the ring and add one under “Audience” if I may. “What type of content is resonating most effectively with my audience right now?” I'm not saying you should copy what others are doing, or re-hash what you've already done; but see what kinds of information they are taking in and find out why it is effective. What about that content is speaking directly to the people you want to speak to.

    I would also add in some “Why” questions to all three categories. Asking “Why” to many of these issues will help you develop a long-term plan to continue to reach your target audience. And when you know Why you are reaching out to someone, it's easier to figure out How to do it.

    Thanks for the great list!

    • Well done, Joey. Good additions. Thank you.

  • elizabethsosnow

    Great stuff, Jason. I'd add a question under “Audience” that reminds folks to look at what they've learned about keyword priorities in their SEO research. In addition, under “Content,” perhaps a question that considers how best to develop content that differentiates your firm vs. competitors?

    • Awesome additions, Elizabeth. Thanks for those!