By Michele Linn published July 9, 2013

100+ Content Strategy Insights

content-strategy-insightsAre you trying to figure out the difference between content strategy and content marketing? Maybe you are looking to develop a content marketing plan and are wondering how to get started? CMI’s new Twitter chat series kicked off last week, with CMI’s Joe Pulizzi and SAP’s Vice President of Marketing and Content Strategy, Michael Brenner, answering content marketers’ questions about how to build — and execute on — an effective content strategy. 

To see what our experts had to say, you can view the highlights in the SlideShare we’ve included here, or you can read the full transcript below.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the chat, and we look forward to our next Twitter chat today at 12 p.m. EST with Lee Odden (@leeodden). Simply follow #cmworld on Twitter to join the conversation. We will be chatting with a new content marketing expert every Tuesday at 12 p.m. EST from now through August, so be sure to check out the CMI events page for upcoming topics and guests.

Q1: Let’s get started! What is the difference between #contentmarketing and #contentstrategy? #CMWorld

A1: #contentmarketing is the WHAT and WHEN and #ContentStrategy is the WHY, WHO and HOW #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

@CMIContent #contentstrategy is knowing what your audience wants. #contentmarketing is the creation/distribution #CMWorld
Jason Ouellette @JayOuellette

A1: #contentstrategy is the plan #contentmarketing is the action #cmworld
Jason Aplin @JasonAplin

A1: #contentmarketing and #contentstrategy are tied at the hip. You should NOT have one without the other. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A1: Unfortunately, most brands do not have a #contentstrategy. They create a LOT of what w/o a WHY WHO and HOW. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

Exactly @JoePulizzi. It has to start with a solid strategy and plan to manage content resources and development #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A1. Just make sure #contentstrategy comes BEFORE #contentmarketing #CMWorld
Ardath Albee @ardath421

Content is an asset, like people and buildings and cash flow. #contentstrategy directs those assets to generate a return #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

#CMWorld Popping in! #contentmarketing cannot work without #contentstrategy – the two need each other.
Cat Fyson (Koozai) @Koozai_Cat

A1. You can do #contentmarketing without #contentstrategy – but it will suck :) just like any other marketing w/o strategy. #cmworld
David Smith @davidtweets

@joepulizzi A1] #Content must be associated with a #contentstrategy. It must be aligned with company goals! #cmworld
Heidi Cohen @heidicohen

Q2: What is the first step you’d recommend when developing a content strategy? #CMWorld

@CMIContent Q2: Take stock. Most companies already have content assets but they may not be aware of all of them or who owns them. #CMWorld
Sarah Mitchell @globalcopywrite

A2: Understand that when you develop a content strategy, it’s a conversation, not a sales pitch. You don’t matter… they do. #cmworld
Jason Aplin @JasonAplin

A2: 1st step in content strategy is defining the business objective or the Content marketing mission statement @JoePulizzi calls it #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A2. Develop buyer personas! How else will you know who you’re creating content for? Or what they need? #cmworld
Ardath Albee @ardath421

A2 Asking key people in all aspects of the biz — from customer service 2 CEO — what is most imp Q are U asked re your biz/org? #cmworld
Angela Dunn @blogbrevity

#CMWorld A2: First step in creating #contentstrategy is defining personas and the objectives of the campaign
Cat Fyson (Koozai) @Koozai_Cat

A2: #contentstrategy – Who (Personas) and Why (Our Business Objective and the Informational Pain Point We are Solving with Content) #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A2: Define objective and research potential audience. #cmworld
Reena Vadehra @ReenaVadehra

#CMWorld A2: Also early in your strategy you need to define how it ties to your brand principles and mission statement
Cat Fyson (Koozai) @Koozai_Cat

Make sure somebody implements the #Contentstrategy. #CMWorld
Christoph Trappe @CTrappe

And I think step 2 is selling the #contentstrategy in. Without executive support, tough 2 get the authority and resources required #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

Can’t have #contentstrategy without knowing who’s engaging your content and why. @joepulizzi #cmworld
Peter Turner @PeterTurner

A2: Research your community. You could be producing amazing content but if it doesn’t resonate with target aud, it’s moot point. #CMWorld
Bright Fox Media @BrightFoxMedia

Q3: What tools, calendars, resources do you use most when developing content strategy? #CMWorld

A3: The most underutilized tool of all time with #contentmarketing — Actually talking to real live customers! #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

@joepulizzi Yes! Regular meetings with key stakeholders. If done properly, these flow into post-strategy editorial meetings. #CMWorld
Sarah Mitchell @globalcopywrite

Q3: My key tool for #contentstrategy is @Topsy — I map an interest graph of people talking about a particular idea or topic. #cmworld
Angela Dunn @blogbrevity

A3: The most important tools for us include lots of keyword research, clear personas and analytics to test and measure #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A3: An editorial/content calendar is a must! #cmworld
Reena Vadehra @ReenaVadehra

@CMIContent A3: Spreadsheets and more spreadsheets. Word docs. Dropbox. The strategy phase requires a lot of collaboration. #CMWorld
Sarah Mitchell @globalcopywrite

I’d be curious to hear what folks use for taxonomy and tagging for #contentmarkekting @CMIContent #CMWorld
Peter Turner @PeterTurner

A3: My second favorite tool is Google Trends… data data data. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A3: I am also addicted to The Google Keyword Tool. If you need to find it, google “Google Keyword Tool” ;-) #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

#CMWorld A3: There are so many tools out there – Google Trends is definitely a favourite though, and Content Generators are fun
Cat Fyson (Koozai) @Koozai_Cat

A3. Ask what can we accomplish given the resources we have? I see ambitious #contentstrategy that can never be realized #cmworld
Ardath Albee @ardath421

RT agree with @ardath421 good quality content is hard so focus limited resources on best case studies, white papers, more #cmworld
David Barry @davidbarry0

@davidbarry0 @ardath421 I think limited resources is too often an excuse. I’ve seen brands with no resources run circles around… #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

@joepulizzi Agree–Limited resources didn’t stop people like @TheSalesLion build his pool company during the economic downturn. #cmworld
Heidi Cohen @heidicohen

@heidicohen Resources we already have are the most under-utilized asset.
Website Cake @Websitecake

@websitecake Plan your content marketing in advance & include reuse to maximize your budget http://ow.ly/mANQW  #cmworld
Heidi Cohen @heidicohen

Q4: What is the best way to determine who in your organization is the best person to connect with your customers? #CMWorld

A4: who should connect with customers? we look for thought leaders in every corner, level and department of the company. #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A4: we have tens of thousands of employees @SAP and they ALL have something to say, special knowledge and skills and experience #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A4: Trick question…all employees are connecting with customers today. So culture is key here. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A4: So are you going to empower your employees to connect through content or try to hide them away? #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A4: Employees are such an undervalued asset when it comes to #contentmarketing. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

#CMWorld A4: Someone who understands that the customer is not just a buying machine there to give you money. But all staff need to know this
Cat Fyson (Koozai) @Koozai_Cat

A4: The role belongs to the shepherds in your company… everyone SHOULD participate #cmworld
Jason Aplin @JasonAplin

To connect in a meaningful way online connect subject matter experts and communications staff. Keep sales involved #cmworld #Contentstrategy
Christoph Trappe @CTrappe

#CMWorld A4: At Koozai we all have knowledge and insights to share — it shows we know and enjoy our industry. More businesses should do this
Cat Fyson (Koozai) @Koozai_Cat

A4: @SAP is one of the few B2B companies that encourage employees to share freely and frequently. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

I focus a lot of my attention and time trying to activate new employees on social, content and personal branding #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A4: Anyone who has anything to do with development should be getting out of the building and talking to customers #cmworld
MyStaffNow
@mystaffnow

@joepulizzi @atxcopywriter Diversity is key — because everyone comes from their own Point of View – which is valuable. #cmworld
Angela Dunn @blogbrevity

@joepulizzi A4: Employees can be invaluable brand ambassadors & help humanize the org. It’s about education, training & guidelines. #CMWorld
Jessica Smith @WarJessEagle

Q5: Does your organization have a documented content strategy? How did you build your business case for it? #CMWorld

A5: We have nine documented buyer personas, but have chosen to develop #contentstrategies for two of them. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A5: We have a documented #contentstrategy with executive buy-in for segments of our business also #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A5: You don’t have to have a #contentstrategy for every persona. You can make the choice…and should. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A5: selling it in included lots of data about how much of our content is NEVER used by anyone or NEVER reaches a customer #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A5 #CMWorld I believe #journalism schools are a good resource to tap for content marketing needs http://t.co/pYAcwz6LUG
Digital Journalism @mututemple

@joepulizzi can’t be all things to all people… something i stress over and over to #creditunions http://t.co/c92KWfzefJ #cmworld
James Robert Lay @jrwlay

I’m always amazed at how few content producers follow through to see if their content is ever used. or how much. or how effective? #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

@brennermichael Agree. Incorporating a Call-to-Action makes content trackable. #CMWorld
Heidi Cohen @heidicohen

@BrennerMichael — and that many content strategies stop at the finished product, and they forget about promotion/distribution. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A5: A big issue in enterprises — one silo has a #contentstrategy, but doesn’t integrate with the other groups (social, cs, email) #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

@BrennerMichael Without analytics to add additional insight – you only get half the picture. But human insight to analytics is key! #cmworld
Angela Dunn @blogbrevity

Q6: How does design play into content marketing? #CMWorld

A6: design is huge! It offers the biggest opportunity to differentiate your branded content marketing #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A6: What is the purpose of a magazine cover? — To be opened — Design is often a main motivator to real engagement. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A6: Design is key to shape your content but never mistake lipstick for the pig #cmworld
Jason Aplin @JasonAplin

A6 Design is not just the visual aspect — design thinking guides my #contentstrategy process. :) #cmworld
Angela Dunn @blogbrevity

A6: Design should have equal consideration and budget to content as far as I’m concerned. Attractive content gets noticed. #CMWorld
Sarah Mitchell @globalcopywrite

@CMIContent A6: There’s a lot of noise out there; good, compelling design will help you stand out from the crowd. #CMWorld
Jessica Smith @WarJessEagle

Content design also applies to the words you choose #cmworld
Ardath Albee @ardath421

Designers are (or should be ) involved in content strategy from the get-go! #CMWorld
Joseph Kalinowski @ringo66

@brennermichael A6] Design must incorporate brand into each element. 94% of decisions made to read w/o seeing 1 word #cmworld
Heidi Cohen @heidicohen

Here is research for 94% of content trust factors (only 1 out of 11 is content!) http://t.co/q0E7Bvozaq #cmworld
Heidi Cohen @heidicohen

@JasonAplin that visual will keep your fans coming back for more!!! #cmworld
Sarah K Walters @sarahkwalters

A6] Think dress your content for success when you consider design #cmworld.
Heidi Cohen @heidicohen

Q7: How do you decide which is best for your #content marketing — video, text or images? #CMWorld

A7: We use persona-based research to determine initial mix of content types but then test. test. test what works. #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A7: budget plays a factor as well. Blogs are cheaper than videos. Shelf life of the content is another factor #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A7: Monitor consumption and curation of the assets and nurture the appetite with fresh channels (instagram video vs vine) #cmworld
Jason Aplin @JasonAplin

@CMIContent A7: Some combination of the 3 is preferable. Also, the strengths of the staff creating the content has to play a role #CMWorld
Kristen Hicks @atxcopywriter

A7: but ALL content production should consider multi-format, multi-channel opportunities. #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A7: What is the content mix that accomplishes your goals? — sales, lower costs, happier customers, etc. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

Q7 I make sure the visual elements I use – video/images — are tagged/described properly. Key for organic search! #cmworld
Angela Dunn @blogbrevity

@BrennerMichael Although now with mobile phones, and a youtube culture — videos can be cheaper. Check out #vloggers @ChrisPirillo #cmworld
Greg Chase @GregChase

A7: Depends on objective, audience and budget. A combo of all three would be ideal. #cmworld
Reena Vadehra @ReenaVadehra

@CMIContent A7: Understand your audience & know what they react to. Not just about the type of content, but the substance of it. #CMWorld
Jessica Smith @WarJessEagle

@GregChase and Vine too. Great point that video can be just as cheap or cheaper. Huge opportunity in video #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

@BrennerMichael Or Instagram video — depends which religion you belong to. Also don’t forget photos as social objects. #cmworld
Greg Chase @GregChase

A7 – All content should be monitored and pages should be heat-mapped. See where people are clicking and holding up! #cmworld
Clifford Blodgett @clifford62

A7: Infographics should also be added to that list of content (video, images, text). #CMworld
Reena Vadehra @ReenaVadehra

@CMIContent We have 9 platforms under our harness for publishing. IG video is the ice cream truck in the neighborhood for now ;) #cmworld
Jason Aplin @JasonAplin

@cmicontent A7] Offer your audience a choice of content options. Remember people tend to be visual. Also snackable content. #cmworld
Heidi Cohen @heidicohen

@cmicontent Content should be searchable, snackable & shareable #cmworld #content=> here’s graphic http://t.co/GfEOoGKcM4 #cmworld
Heidi Cohen @heidicohen

@heidicohen @CMIContent at AMP, we say it should also be like peanut butter – sticky and spreadable (and also delicious!) #cmworld
AMP Agency @AMP_Agency

@CMIContent Hey, don’t discount “long-form” content online. It’s making a comeback. See @huffingtonpost #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

@BrennerMichael I would say that most web design around content is an afterthought. Marketers often accept what IT gives them. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

Q8: What are some best practices in getting people to share your content? #CMWorld

Authentic. No marketing speak. RT @CMIContent: Q8: What are best practices in getting people to share your content? #CMWorld
Ken Ericson @kenericson

A8: How to get people to share your content? Um, try creating good, shareable content! #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A8: Start by building your influencer hit list (at least 10-15 people). Share relevant content. Give A LOT to build your audience #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A8. Sharing great ideas your audience finds useful gets your content shared #cmworld
Ardath Albee @ardath421

A8: Yes, shareable content.. but focus on building amazing connections at the same time to reach those outside your network. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

@CMIContent #CMWorld. A8 Don’t think about your target buyer, think about your target interest group. ie kids influence moms etc.
Anna Sternoff @annasternoff

A8: So many brands are so focused on just the content part…when (perhaps) the ultimate goal is building the audience. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

@joepulizzi begs the question if #contentmarketing is about just engagement or action? #CMWorld
Anna Sternoff @annasternoff

@CMIContent Sharing plenty of content yourself! Someone whose content you’ve shared with reciprocate if yours is good #CMWorld
Kristen Hicks @atxcopywriter

A8: And make sure your content fits the context. #cmworld
Angela Dunn @blogbrevity

A8: Create compelling content! Ask yourself: “would YOU share it?” If you wouldn’t share it, why would someone else? @CMIContent #CMWorld
Lucas Miller @lucasmillerwsu

A8: Interact with other org’s content to generate interaction with your own. #Cmworld
Reena Vadehra @ReenaVadehra

Q8: Make it useful, memorable, clever, and relevant. #cmworld
Jason Aplin @JasonAplin

#cmworld A8 if it’s not interesting to you, it’s not interesting to them.
Ken Ericson @kenericson

A8: I find one of the most effective methods is to ask. Send out an email with pre-crafted tweets, LI and FB updates. Make it easy. #CMWorld
Sarah Mitchell @globalcopywrite

@CMIContent #CMWorld A8: I work in sports, so tapping into the raw emotion & passion compels people to share. Ex: http://t.co/GfOD4RjK2B
Jessica Smith @WarJessEagle

@CMIContent don’t be afraid to promote your content. leverage your community & existing audience. oh and make sure it doesn’t suck #CMWorld
Jason Ouellette @JayOuellette

Q9: What are some rules we should consider when deciding if content is off-limits?

If your mother wouldn’t be proud of your piece of #contentmarketing, don’t distribute it. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

Repeat after this tweet: No one cares about your product or service, they care about themselves. Create content people care about. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

@CMIContent shareable content is hard. have to resist the urge to create promotional content no one wants or reads #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

Q10: Our last question: Now that we’ve talked about building a strategy, how do we decide how much content is enough? #CMWorld

@CMIContent A10 more is not better. give #content room to breathe so conversation can build #CMWorld
Anna Sternoff @annasternoff

A10: How much content? You can never have enough but has to be quality first. Focus on customer needs. They provide the answer #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A10: There are no silver bullets when it comes to content frequency. Some brands do great things with fewer stories. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A10: I don’t believe any brand can create all the content customers seek. Must mix creation, curation, syndication to reach goals #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

@BrennerMichael @CMIContent a word of caution on syndication: it can get inauthentic. content farms are a serious turn off #CMWorld
Anna Sternoff @annasternoff

@annasternoff yes. syndication must come with editorial review and human interaction. #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

A10: The key is consistency of content. Content is a promise to your customers. Do you every see media companies skip a day? #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A10 How much content is enough? As long as there is a question, there is a need 4 an answer – however long or short it needs 2 be. #cmworld
Angela Dunn @blogbrevity

A10: I wouldn’t look at it like that. Less is more, so spend the time you have to create quality, not quantity #CMWorld
James Perrin @Koozai_James

A10: I wish I knew. I do believe less quality content trumps more mediocre content. I do think quality is better than quantity. #CMWorld
Sarah Mitchell @globalcopywrite

A10: too much content and u see numbers rapidly drop. Look at repeat behavior for clue #cmworld
Suzanne Carawan @suzannecarawan

A10: Lather, rinse, repeat but never drown them in content #cmworld
Jason Aplin @JasonAplin

Yes quality over quantity but you need both. Great point by @JoePulizzi on frequency. Be consistent! #cmworld
Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

@joepulizzi A10: You have to be careful with content overload. Unless it’s amazing every time, too much will turn people off #CMWorld
Kristen Hicks @atxcopywriter

A10: Batch and blast is never pretty. Content becomes shrapnel, you want it to be an arrow through their deepest desire. #cmworld
Anne Shaneen @annetown

@annetown but too much bad content is a waste of time and resources. I’ve seen this too often. #cmworld
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

A10: I dont think the problem is too much content, its not enough good content. If you sustain quality content nobody will complain #cmworld
Henry Johnson @TalktoHenryJ

A10: Content has to be responsive/flexible. If you focus on volume, you might miss the opportunites that feedback creates. #cmworld
Sara Tambascio @SaraTambascio

@cmicontent Q10 Too much content? Not sure it’s possible-Answer every possible customer question & overcome all objections. #CMWorld
Heidi Cohen @heidicohen

Want to learn more about content strategy? Download CMI’s Content Marketing Framework: 7 Building Blocks to Success.

Cover image via Bigstock.

Author: Michele Linn

Michele is the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute and a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B Marketing.

Other posts by Michele Linn

  • http://acooze.co/ Cameron Upshall

    This article is absolutely fantastic. So much great guidance. Well done CMI.

  • Tamar Weiss

    Great chat, and happy to know you’re continuing throughout August! Content marketing is really all about targeting the right people with the right content at the right time. Our platform enables you to personalize your content in real-time based on industry, location, organization, and digital behavior. Looking forward to chatting with you in the future! Tamar, Insightera

  • http://naomirochellegarnice.wordpress.com/ Naomi Garnice

    The Sign Up Now Box that appears everytime I visit the site is getting annoying. I’ve already subscribed. Not a good example of user-friendly Content Marketing.

    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Naomi…sorry about that. We are fixing some site bugs and a few things aren’t working right this week, including that. If it happens next week, please let me know. My apologies.

      • http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Michele Linn

        Thanks for responding so quickly!

        FWIW, this is not a bug I am seeing. You?

  • Anna Brown

    Very cool! I wasn’t at the Twitterchat, but here are some ideas I have:

    1) Content marketing without strategy is like shooting randomly in the woods and hoping to hit a deer. (Yep, I’m Midwestern. :-)) You can put content out there, but in order for it to be effective, it needs to be targeted to who clients are and where they live, which is what strategy will help you with.

    2) The first two steps in strategy are to define who you are (your story) and who your clients are (the personas). Bringing those to together is the focus of the rest of your strategy.

    6) Design is great, but no amount of design can hide a lack of true care about your customers. The heart is first, the design is second.

    9) The most off-limits content is ‘me-me-me!’ Anything that isn’t customer focused!

    10) Content is enough when it informs your customer and encourages them to use you to meet their needs. Some content is evergreen – brochures and whitepapers – and some needs to be updated regularly – like blogs and Twitter.

    My $0.02! :-)

    • http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Michele Linn

      Great insights, Anna. I like your analogy in point #1 (I’m a Midwesterner buut not a hunter) :) Thanks for adding to the conversation!

  • Jack

    Twitterchat?? Why oh why do people insist in using Twitter for something it was never designed for? Chat programs have been around for over a decade. Use one of them if you want to chat.

    I’ve viewed many twitter chats, and thus far I’ve yet to find a single tweet that contained any useful information. I challenge any of you to point to a single tweet that does. Why any organization would want to annoy its followers by subjecting them to this inane practice is baffling, but when it comes from a marketing company you really have to wonder…

    • http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Michele Linn

      Hi Jack,
      Like any kind of content, different formats work well for different kinds of people. I’ve personally enjoyed getting different perspectives from those who have participated in our Tweet Chats thus far. It’s also been a nice way to connect with new people. But, I understand if it’s not your preferred format!

  • Spook SEO

    Well done.. I don’t expect that CMI will document this. So much thankful to you. Really useful to me . Can I copy this article to my drafts? Please give me permission to do so. Please..