The core deliverables for a content strategist can be cumbersome. Unfortunately, there is not really a “content strategy starter kit” as every business is different, and how you would approach one project may not be the same on another business with different requirements and needs. There are some universal assets a content strategists needs to do their job, such as a content audit, qualitative / quantitative analysis, personas, key messages, style guides, etc…
As many of you reading this already know, there are not a lot of quality templates for content strategy available. The ones that are out there are pretty bland and do not afford for the other marketing and data points that modern content people need in practice. There is often a lot of clutter that only adds to the madness of it all.
Centralize, Combine and Simplify Our Workflow
If these deliverables were centralized and shared between marketing, web design, engineering and writing teams would have a lot more clarity on the goals of any content centric project. These templates were my effort to offer a more modern, condensed set of strategic content documents that combine the most essential stuff everyone on the team needs to kick ass.
The Super Awesome Content Strategy Worksheet
Website & Social Logins
One of the number one things that drives me crazy (and other team members trying to get their work done) is having to track down logins to all the websites, analytic dashboards, business pages and social media accounts. This template will alleviate the need to endlessly search through old emails and / or desktop notes.
The purpose of the client profile is to centralize all the most essential information about the business that everyone working on the project should know, or if they knew, would make more informed decisions.
Key Messages & Governance Model
This tab in the worksheet is meant to give clarity to other writers exactly what the key messages are for the business. Just as designers need wireframes and branding guides to design, writers need a message architecture and governance model to know what communication style they are going for and where that content is being published.
Personas can be a powerful way to help your team develop empathy for the people they are trying to communicate with. Unlike personas you commonly see in the UX community, this worksheet includes information that marketing teams seldom share. We all know if they did, our designs, content, strategy would be much more informed and aligned the need states, psychographics and demographics of the target audience.
In addition to fields for Nielsen PRIZM Market Segments, Mosaic Type, Urbanicity, Income, etc… there are also inputs for Content Affinity, Keywords and even the type of smart phone and browser the persona would most likely use.
Content Audit Template
Auditing your web content is a necessary evil that has to be done. This template has drop downs for redundant fields and makes use of the Moz API to pull in link data on your URLs. Make sure you get an API key from Moz and enter your Member ID and Secret Key into the “Settings” tab or this template wont work!
What date is that publishing? Was it approved? Where is it? Yeah, we know how that goes. There are fields for the type of content, channel, the persona the content is made for as well as the stage in the sales funnel the content is being mapped to. Well, hopefully none of that will be a problem anymore with the editorial calendar template.
Another huge disconnect with writers and web teams is URLs. Pages are moved, deleted or renamed over time and that needs to be documented. This template is particularly useful during a website redesign.