What is content strategy?

Content strategy looks at how our content can play a role in meeting audience needs and furthering our progress towards program goals. It makes creating content worth the effort and an easier process to achieve.

The purpose of the Extension website has three high-level goals:

  1. Education: Make high-quality, relevant educational content easily available, understandable and useful to as many Oregonians as possible.
  2. Participation: Increase and facilitate public participation in local Extension programming.
  3. Marketing: “Tell the story” of Extension to the public (and policymakers) in order to build awareness of, interest in, and support of Extension.

Content includes not only educational articles or publications but also your event announcements, newsletters, program materials and videos.

Content strategy looks at the lifecycle of that content. It can help us be data-informed about what content is needed. Do you have information available to the public that they are always inquiring about or that is your program’s priority focus for the year?

It also addresses how to share that content in an accessible and engaging way. Content marketing can be a piece of the strategy to make sure it reaches all audiences.

Content strategy also includes reviewing the content and its analytics down the road to decide if it needs updating or archiving. We want it to be accurate, current and used by our audiences.

The implementation of the strategy requires content operations — the people, process and technology needed to pull this off. This is why Extension faculty and staff are part of web groups. Together you need to coordinate on key decisions and roles to manage the content, so it meets intended needs and the process feels efficient.

Extension Communications content strategist can help guide teams in this purpose. Contact our web and content strategy team with requests you have.

Examples

This page includes resources we’ve found useful in exploring, understanding, and applying content strategy. Check these out, and let us know your thoughts. And if you find a useful resource, please contact us!

While this type of a digital strategy has been common in industry for some time, it’s less common higher education and Extension. But that’s starting to shift. Here are a few examples:

Online Resources

Not your father’s Extension! The transformation of an organizational model. [Webinar recording] M. Wirth, J. Emigh, Penn State Extension. 2016.
In this webinar we will give a sneak peek at the new Penn State Extension and an overview of the strategy, the structure, and the status, as well as lessons learned along the way.

ATLAS: A new age for Extension. [Seminar recording] M. Wirth, J. Emigh, Penn State Extension. 2015.
The ATLAS system will seamlessly integrate content management, e-commerce and marketing, customer relations, and communication into Penn State Extension’s daily workflow.

Content strategy basics. [Webpage from Usability.gov] 2016.
Short overview of content strategy components, life cycle, and best practices.

Content strategy for everything. [Slideshare presentation] K. Halvorson. 2015.
Overview presentation by co-author of the definitive, go-to handbook: Content Strategy for the Web (see below).

Content strategy in popular culture. [Recorded conference presentation] DrupalCon New Orleans, 2016.
By exploring how crucial aspects of content strategy play out in movies, music, even comic books and video games, we’ll expand the palette of language we can use to explain and convince more people about the importance of content strategy online, and ensure they understand that it’s not just vital, but fun, as well.

How the Sausage Gets Made: The Hidden Work of Content [Article from A List Apart] C. Roberts. 2017.
The author dispels the myth of the “content hose” or “automagical tool” and provides suggestions for improving the content entry process.

Book

Content Strategy for the Web, 2nd edition. K. Halvorson, M. Rach. 2015.
For organizations all over the world, Content Strategy for the Web is the go-to content strategy handbook.

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