To efficiently get your team to a killer content strategy you need a common framework that can be applied to all your content decisions, as well as a simplified planning process that connects your approach to your audience and business goals.
The Conversation Framework
We often talk about digital content as a storytelling medium, but that assumes a one-sided relationship with one storyteller and one or many listeners.
I prefer to think of it as a conversation that may include stories. In a best case scenario, your content resembles an ongoing dialogue with your audiences that you can learn from over time, just as a good conversation requires listening and thoughtful reaction.
If you think about content planning in this context of a natural dialogue you will find there are certain elements that impact the direction and elements of the varied kinds of conversation that we all engage in day to day:
- Depth of relationship: You talk about different things and in a different cadence and tone with strangers or new friends than with those you know well.
- Frequency of touch point: Catching up with a long lost friend takes on a different flavor than conversing with another friend that you see more regularly.
- Passion point: If you have something in common with someone that can often become the central theme of your interactions.
- Attention: Is it a passing opportunity to chat or do you have uninterrupted hours to spend together?
- One-to-one or one-to-many: Are you addressing a group or having a private conversation?
- Utility: Is the focus on getting something specific accomplished?
- Conversation initiation: Are you initiating the conversation? If so, you carry the burden of the setting the clear direction, pace and tone.
- Intent: Are you trying to persuade? Entertain? Educate? All require different approaches and info.
- Channel conventions: What’s accepted and commonplace in some channels may not be in others.
- Format: Content can take many forms including visual, audio, interactive, etc… and the format will influence the structure and flow of the conversation.
- Language or tone varies based on norms for the intended audience: Certainly age and other demographics but also take into account regional flavor, language preferences or degree of formality.
- Investment: Depending on how important the interaction is to your goals you may invest your time or other resources more or less liberally, including using paid media to maximize reach.
- Content authorship: Are you using your own stories and content or sharing something that someone else created?
You can quickly see how these and many other subtleties impact the flavor and flow of our conversations and how they could also influence your content choices. Once you have that conversational framework in mind you can get through the actual planning pretty swiftly.
Simplified Content Planning Process
Now to break down the two-hour planning process into managable 30-minute chunks.