Content Strategy Starts At -2

A 4-step approach to take before you begin creating a content strategy

3 min readMay 15, 2023

Content Marketing has been a staple strategic initiative for all digital-first organizations to generate leads, improve positioning, garner SEO benefits, and help potential customers make an informed decision for well over a decade.

But your content calendar and platform mix are not strategy. Before you can build a high-impact content strategy, looking ahead and mapping your way to step zero is only one-half of the codex.

Here is what completes it:

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Understanding Causality of As-Is Practices

Before strategists and content teams begin to restructure their efforts, it is indispensable to know what impacted and established the current efforts. It is important to know the data, the pain-point, or the concern that brought the team to where it stands now.

Attrition, lack of right talent, or lack of results may have prompted your team to instate said approaches.

For e.g: The accelerated adoption of Clubhouse may have made sense for your needs, nudging you to leverage audio as a content format. But as lockdowns lifted and the driving factor behind rapid scalability of Clubhouse vanished, audio offered marginalized utility — deeply impacting results. Not to mention, well established social media platforms baked-in audio as a feature offering and leveraged large-scale network effects to edge past the new kid on the block.

Or, an SEO penalty prompted you to pivot. If you have fixed the penalties and some time has gone by, you can re-evaluate the dramatic turn you had to take and get back on track.

It is important to know the causal impacts of such instances as these will define the no-go area, or a ‘tread with caution’ area as you prepare a viable content strategy for tomorrow.

Understanding As-Is Practices

Once you understand what was the reasoning behind implementing certain approaches, you can now begin to understand the good, bad, and ugly of the resultant actions.

Do a quantitative and qualitative research, identify the high-impact implementations, breakdown the winning components, and ensure you don’t lose them going forward.

Do a sentiment analysis, behavioral analysis, engagement and re-sharing trend analysis to fully understand which content is aligned with your business objectives and which ones are delivering on impact. The gold standard is the content piece is that is well-aligned and performing well.

Audit current content efforts to identify gaps and new ideas you would like to throw into the mix.


Clearly something is not working, or your goals have shifted. Perhaps there is a gap in business objectives and content objectives that you’d like to address.

One thing is certain: it’s time to pivot — either iteratively or by dismantling everything.

Everything you documented at -2 and -1 now gets compiled and collated with creative suggestions to chart the path forward.

Establishing new strategy

Make your content strategy the right mix of creative and data-backed actionable steps.

The new strategy could be a team-wide implementation or a pilot program for specific platforms, specific area of focus for your business, or deployed in phases.

If you are executing your new content strategy in phases, sequentially load and stack workflows and jobs-to-be-done in select sections to understand where the implementation breaks.

It is non-negotiable to know if your new strategy is repeatable and scalable.

Establishing Best Practices

As action items from your content strategy go live, closely monitor how they perform.

Look at how well assumptions and hypotheses you posited hold in the wild.

Continually iterate best practices, A/B test variables, tweak for SEO guidelines and algorithm changes.

Have in place metrics to track and benchmark so you always know what is working and what is not.

Now it is time to create a high-impact content strategy, with these steps being the undercurrent of all the efforts that follow.




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