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April 9, 2018

The rise and fall of #contentstrategy

Content strategy—or should I say, #contentstrategy—has been picking up steam over the years on social media. Twitter is especially saturated with the #contentstrategy tag. But what exactly is being positioned as content strategy?

About 20 years ago, content strategy emerged as a term for the planning, development, management, and governance of content. The emphasis was on the strategy half of the term, grounded in achieving specific business goals or solving specific business problems.

screen shot of many hashtags obscuring #contentstrategy

Can you spot the #contentstrategy?

Today, the term’s meaning is diluted. Often you will see content strategy being positioned side by side with terms about content marketing, copywriting, and user experience.

That’s not to say that these practices have nothing to do with content strategy. They can (and should) overlap, feed into, or employ a content strategy. But the lines are becoming blurred, mainly from conflation on social media.

screen shot: create content. publish content. amplify content. repeat! #contentstrategy

This is not a #contentstrategy. But if it fails, it’s a great example of the definition of insanity.

Much of what we see on Twitter are tactics. And tactics are fine. You can’t execute a strategy without them. But they are not themselves strategies. Kristina Halvorson has a great presentation on this topic:

As for Scriptorium, we continue to use content strategy to solve very real (and often very big) business problems. Our belief is that a content strategy envelops many content initiatives and is tied directly to the core strategies and goals of the business.

Lumping content strategy in with copywriting, marketing and promotional tactics, and the like damages its meaning, focus, and intent.

Have you noticed this conflation of the term? Do you think it’s a problem?