What exactly is “content strategy?” First, let’s define “content.” Content includes blogs, procedures, tutorials, videos, press releases, podcasts, diagrams, Swagger documentation, and so on.
Second, te right content depends on what our audience really needs. Content strategy is the development, planning, and execution of content for that audience. Users want the best content, and we want them to find and use this content easily.
We are living in a world that demands quick, accessible content. The audience probably uses Google for all content searches. As a result, we want our content to display as the first result in that search! We can start defining content as material that is optimized for search.
Know the Audience for the Content
We want to get inside the minds of the audience. What type of content do they really need? What goals are they trying to accomplish? How will they find our content? We might want them to click Help, but let’s get realistic. They are going to Google it!
Beginning a Content Strategy
To begin creating the right strategy, we first need an audience analysis because we want to know our users. Work with all stakeholders for this information: customers, product management, marketing, UX, development, and support.
Second, we learn about the customers’ personas and understand their pain points. How can we make their lives better? How can we improve their experience with our product? Maybe we can ask them directly through forums or phone calls.
Third, we try to get inside their heads and understand their perspectives, and answer those kinds of questions. We want to give them the kind of content that will solve their problems. That means providing a quick video tutorial, a common multi-step procedure, or a simple diagram.
Finally, once we know the optimal type of content, we start creating this material! Do not forget to test this material thoroughly, and get feedback from the stakeholders as well. As content creators, we provide valuable input that could also affect the design and simplification of the product! Another great tip is using some great SEO and answer the What, How, and Why!
We want the right content, for the right people, at the right time, in the right format.
Example Content Strategy Planning, Development, and Execution
Let me walk you through an example of a successful content strategy. This particular software has multiple deployment scenarios, and we wanted customers to identify the best scenario for their environment. How will we help them find the content they need?
First, I learned about their environments. I expected customers to have different environments, so I asked them about specific details. Second, after hearing from several customers, I was able to determine the different scenario options for customers of varying sizes. Specifically, I asked them detailed questions about how they planned to use the product, how many users would be accessing the product, and the general size of their repositories. Finally, I documented the most important scenarios.
What were the most common deployment scenarios?
- Install, Configure, and Deploy the Solution on One Machine
- Install the Solution on One Machine, and then Configure and Deploy on Multiple Machines
- Install, Configure, and Deploy Multiple Instances of the Solution on One Machine
- Install, Configure, and Deploy Multiple Instances of the Solution on Multiple Machines
As you can see, each of these scenarios has its own diagram that identifies the correct installation path, followed by the installation steps with the appropriate links. Customers identified the correct scenario for their environment. As a result, they do not have to waste time contacting support. They knew where to access the documentation on our DocOps Platform. Most noteworthy, after reviewing the internal metrics, these scenarios are among the highest viewed pages. The other installation and configuration topics were top hits. Above all, a solid content strategy helped our customers!