Content strategy: really?

Content might be king, but is it strategy?

Since when was saying something useful to the right people strategic?

We’ve been doing it for years – saying things we hope will grab attention and change minds.

We called it communication.

It required thinking before talking.

And we asked questions like: Who are we trying to impress? What’s making them antsy? Why should they listen to us? And what do we want them to do?

These are good questions.

But few people ask them today, because, well, the strategic part of content is delivery.

Content itself is simply stuffing.

It’s not what you say; it’s the cracks you fill.

I blame technologists who have crept into marketing and traded their brown cardigans for hipster beards.

They’ve somehow convinced everyone that the only things worth worrying about are dashboards that plot your progress on a galaxy of measures invented by other technologists.

These folk think content is like coal.

Something shovelled into the belly of a mysterious beast with dials for eyes that tell you when and how fast to work.

Forget about surprise and delight; saying something new or using words that make people think differently.

Your only task is to fool Google’s spiders and watch in wonderment as your position on the ladder of organic search returns rises a few rungs.

All hands on deck: maintain the best practice number of daily blog posts; squirt the condensed form to Twitter; stream it to LinkedIn; inject it with steroids and pack it off to a news media distribution service for ‘pick up’ and a new lease of life.

Content is not strategy.

It’s common sense communication.

Start by asking the right questions.

And then you’ll say the right things in the places people are looking to hear from you.

Whispering to a single person who is ready to listen is better than shouting at millions of people looking the other way.