The content strategy track at LavaCon included a presentation by Andrew Bredenkamp, present and founder of Acrolinx. He presented a practical approach at content strategy that teams of any size can use.

Regardless of the level of content or service that the organization provides to their target audience, Bredenkamp believes that there are four key elements to any content strategy. They are elements that are recognizable from many other content strategy books, case study, articles and essays, but in an order that Bredenkamp finds successful with many of Acrolinx’s clients.

According to Bredenkamp, practical content strategies require:

Governance. Organizations should create systems that take into account the audience, languages, tone, business and brand standards and reuse policies for content. Don’t just create governance, ensure that people comply with it (huge challenge there, of course).

Optimization & Creation. Bredenkamp recommends an iterative process with competent team members. Shoot for the best, optimal job ASAP than shooting for perfection on the first try. Be willing to come to terms with the fact that mistakes will be made, but key insights will come from those mistakes that will help shape content towards a stronger, future iteration of content.

Analytics. When looking at user behavior, content professionals should focus on better understanding what kind of language and tone captures their users attention and not just sheer web analytics. This depth of analysis lets us identify our best content, but also know which assets are our worst and why they’re “worse” to our audiences.

"Insights are great, but the inability to act upon them is frustrating."

Bredenkamp encouraged us that even though this content strategy approach is super practical, we still need to create the ecosystem and workflows that will allow us to plan, develop and manage sustainable assets.

Soon, content will be all that we've got.

Bredenkamp believes that businesses need to realize that content will soon be all we have to influence users to adopt or continue using products and services. According to some of his research, businesses like HP experience user sales journeys where 90% of users never even touch the product before buying. The knowledge they gain is from reviews and product content on the web.

Also, according to Sirius Decisions, 70% of buying processes are already complete before B2B sales engagements due to exposure to content. These statistics reveal the need for organizations to start taking a more strategic and methodological approach to their user-facing content.

If organizations choose to do so, Bredenkamp encourages us all to build infrastructures for content that is people-ready, global-ready and search-ready. This quick, practical content strategy primer gives us a nice start to check against our own internal processes to see if we’re on the right track.