The life (and well planned-out) death of content: from content strategy to action

A few weeks ago, I shared a model for content strategy that put content at the centre of a digital initiative. To create great content for your business and your users, you need to move from the modelling stage to the planning stage. In other words, shift from the what to the how. This post shows you how to do that.

The idea behind the content strategy model is to put content at the core of a digital initiative because, like it or not, content impacts every aspect of that project, from the users who read it, to the authors who write it. You can see that post here.

How you create and share great content depends on how you work with it, from its inception to its end of life. You need an action plan that follows the content from its inception to creation, through to optimization and removal from your digital platform. The thing is, if you don’t develop a good plan that respects content and the players, your content, and ultimately your business and your audiences will suffer.

Plan, create and optimize

A lifecycle approach helps put content at the centre of your project, and “plan, create, optimize” is a simple lifecycle to follow.

This approach, at a very high level, layers in specific activities and goals for each of the four areas most affected by content. Each activity, from change management plans to usability testing, should be completed with the idea in mind of supporting goals for content, information, end users and staff in the organization.

This table provides specific activities to address the content model that are designed to meet specific content goals. As a content strategist, you can use the table as follows:

To meet the communication goal (great content), you need an in-depth understanding of business objectives, messaging, and your audience; you need to write and review effectively, and you need to study the success of your content and optimize (improve for your users and your business) that which is most important.

content strategy lifecycle table

Content strategy lifecycle table

What do you think of this table? Will the lifecycle approach work in your environment? Do the goals resonate for your organization? Do you think the proposed activities are most critical to meet those goals? Are there any missing that would help in your organization?

In my next post, I’ll talk about the who: champions – and transformations to your organization – needed to make a content strategy a success.


Scott Duncan is a senior consultant with Systemscope. He has nearly 20 years experience as an information architect and communications strategist.


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