The audience is the heart and meat of any content strategy
Course: CDPR108, Ryerson University, Toronto
Week 4, October 4, 2012
This blog covers my weekly assignments and learning for Ryerson University’s Social Media in PR course, part of Ryerson’s well-respected public relations certificate program. Follow this blog through the fall 2012 semester as we move from A – Z in social media.
We are learning about social media content strategies this week. We’ve doubled the fun by putting one of the most powerful trends in social media – visual communications – into action in this assignment. Our task was to find images or infographics that helped us understand content strategies and to examine their strengths and weaknesses.
First, a little background. “Content” is defined in our assigned readings from Content Strategy for the Web as “what the user came to read, learn, see, or experience.” Author Kristina Halvorson has explained content strategies this way: “The art of understanding what your customers need to know and delivering it to them in a compelling way.”
To use an old-school term, a content strategy is similar to an editorial schedule – a plan for what you will create and deliver to your readers. Here are the three best visual aids I found for understanding content strategies.
#1: Content strategy burger
Created by Mark Smiciklas http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/the-content-strategy-burger-infographic/
Using a burger to illustrate the elements of a content strategy is brilliant. This infographic clearly shows that the heart (or in this case, the meat) of a content strategy is the audience: who they are and what they want. This part of the meal drives everything else: message, topics and formats (words, images, video), purpose, voice, sources (i.e., created or curated) and channels. Showing information, themes and formats as yummy sauces and condiments is a great way to remember to create the stuff your audience loves. Is success on your menu?
#2 Mind Map template for a communications plan
I like this image from The Mind Map Library because it reminds communicators that any good strategy starts with answering basic questions – lots of them. This graphic prompts us to consider who, what, where, why and how when creating a plan, which is as applicable to content strategies as communication planning. The dotted line from the message blurb up to the “why should anyone care” blurb rightly insists that we do the ultimate reality check when planning: We must remember that having something to say is no reason for anyone to listen. We can’t let ourselves off the hook until we have ideas for useful content that will reasonate with audiences. It’s too bad the graphic elements are not better matched to the subject matter. I don’t understand why the messenger is doubled over backwards (looks painful, doesn’t it), or why the organizing image resembles a frozen jellyfish. Poor execution distracts from otherwise good information.
#3 Four steps from the Tech-Savvy Communications planning process
This graphic is fairly basic but works for linear thinkers who like logical step-by-step processes. It succeeds because it is simple, and simplicity can make a daunting task feel doable. As a visual reference, it could help keep communicators on track toward completing a content strategy. Unfortunately, it lacks a clear definition of the elements of a content strategy so can’t stand alone to help communicators get the job done. Other resources would be needed, so let’s get back to that tasty burger.
Take the poll. Which graphic works for you?
Last week’s poll: What is your reaction to seeing promoted tweets?
Three people responded and guess what? No one said promoted tweets usually interest them. Results: 66% find them annoying or ignore them; 33% said they would read a promoted tweet before deciding to click.