Academy Xi Blog

Content Strategy: It’s a Long Game

By Natalie Khoo

“Content strategy is like the choreographer in the background who doesn’t get the recognition, but weaves everything together,” says Natalie Khoo, director of content agency Avion Communications.

Content strategy is a long game, and Natalie advises not to look for instant and measurable results.

“If a company doesn’t invest in a content strategy before they invest in content marketing— two very different things— then they’re throwing money down the drain.”

The amount of content people have to sift through day-to-day has grown astronomically over the years. People are suffering from information overload, and the growth of digital platforms means customers receive five times the amount of information as they did in 1986!

So, what’s relevant, and what’s just words on the screen?

Here are three ways to think about content and its relationship with the customer:

Thinking Backwards

Natalie explains that a content team, whether internal or external, needs to lay down the groundwork from the beginning by asking the right questions.

“What interaction with product or service has the customer had before? How can you acknowledge that and how does that determine your relationship with them now?”

These questions help to find the customers’ “motivational triggers.” For example, Natalie has previously worked with AAMI Insurance to identify and deploy a content strategy that identifies and engages with a customer’s motivational triggers.

To identify these triggers, Natalie questioned the following: ‘What motivates a customer to take out an insurance policy for a car? Is it because of the financial year, or a growing family etc?’

Natalie believes creating relevant and targeted content for AAMI depends on the answer to those questions. And for all companies, questions around the customer’s motivation determines how a content team can form the right bond and relationship with the customer.

“Understanding at what point this customer has gotten to this piece of content is really important,” says Natalie.

Asking those questions ensures the content team understand how the business’s needs tie into the customer’s needs. Thinking backwards is about mapping out the customer journey and their experience of the product or service prior to their current interaction.

Thinking Present

Thinking present, Natalie explains, is about understanding who the customer is, what their needs and wants are, and how to engage those needs and wants from a content perspective.

“One of the most important things in understanding content strategy and planning content creation is around understanding how that piece of content is being consumed at that point in time,” says Natalie.

Questions to ask include: “What channel is the customer consuming content on? Who is the content going to? What has that customer already seen? Have they already had a face-to-face interaction with the company or is this their first point of call?”

Content is a soft sell, rather than a hard sell, and it’s about nurturing the customer’s needs and wants. This nurturing leads into thinking about the customer’s future.

Thinking Forwards

A good content strategy sets up the future relationship with the customer and looks at how to re-engage them at different points through their journey with a product or service.

“We use an outside-in approach to make sure we’re thinking laterally. That way we’re able to build relationships with our customers, rather than just sell them something.”

In applying your current knowledge of the customer to future strategies, there are simple things Natalie says you can do.

“When you send out an email to a customer, you shouldn’t be sending out emails that don’t include their name if you already have a relationship with them. If that customer has bought something before, then that should be recorded or acknowledged in some way.”

Today, where data is so readily available, Natalie says there’s no excuse for not understanding at what point of the journey a customer finds themselves. Identifying the past, present, and future journey of the customer is a good place to start.

Learn more about how you can refine your content strategy – with our Digital Marketing online courses