Content Marketing Strategy in 15 Steps: Marketing conversation with Ahava Leibtag

Mar 03, 2023

Who is Ahava Leibtag?

 Hahava Leibtag: AHA Media Group is focused on the healthcare space. Our mission is to empower people to make the most important decisions of their lives and in a non socialized health care system, people have a lot of choices and that tends to make it confusing. The famous paradox of choice When there are too many choices, it's hard to know what to do, and only thirty-seven percent of Americans have a college degree or higher. So you're dealing with a population of people who are having trouble a lot of the time understanding the complex nature of health care and all the different choices that they have to further that. I think that when you look at what happened in the world with COVID through the lens of COVID, you can see the Center for Disease Control in the United States says that a pandemic is just as much a communications crisis as it is a healthcare emergency. And when looking at it through that lens, we saw how incredibly important it was to use patient-centric and customer-centric language around health care and around patients around diseases and conditions. A lot of people didn't really understand the difference between a virus and a bacteria. And when you look at it from that perspective and you think about how little people really do know or and not not in a judgmental way, but just why would you have to know the difference between those two things if you've never been sick or, you know, if you've brought your child to the doctor and they've always given you an antibiotic? So what we really try to do is help the organizations that we serve, both in the B2C business to the customer as well as B2B business to business, as well as another category that we call the peak business to physician or doctor and communicate with them in a way that really helps them understand what they need to do with this health care information, what the next steps are and using ASCO and that kind of writing that will appeal to the search engines to help people find that information. Wow.

What is content strategy?

Hahava Leibtag: So I think there are two distinct parts of content strategy. The first is helping users accomplish their tasks. And the second is satisfying the business objectives of the organization. And there are three ways to get at that. There's an editorial brand, which is the first part of the actual writing, style guides, personas, and messaging architecture. Then the second part is really workflow and governance. How does content get produced in a cycle that makes sense to the organization where everyone knows what they're supposed to be doing at every point in time? And then there's a separate part of content strategy, which I think is really its own thing, now called content engineering. And that's really the back end of content metadata did structured content, adaptive content, that kind of thing. So it's a very exciting time, I think, for content. But it's also still a really confusing time. And I just wrote an article defining content strategy and content marketing, and I called it slippery fish because I do think so many people think of these kinds of categories in different ways, and it's really hard to get us to a place where we're using the same vocabulary and meaning the same thing.


Content strategy or content marketing strategy: What’s the difference?

 Hahava Leibtag: I think content marketing is a tactic within marketing and the idea is to use stories. Information and intellectual property from a brand to convince customers to develop a relationship with that brand and then to patronize that brand when they're ready to do so. That's a tactic within marketing. It's a different way to build a relationship with an audience, just like direct mail might be a way or, you know, advertising might be a way. So, content strategy is used to produce the content. That's part of the content marketing strategy. Sell some media content marketing strategy is how are you actually going to tactically implement content marketing? How are you going to do that? You're going to use some of the elements of content strategy to get there. That's how I see the two intersecting.


Designing a content strategy: main steps? 

Hahava Leibtag: So I think the first thing you have to do is establish smart goals, you know, is it realistic? Is it always going to be measurable? Is it relevant? What's the timeline? Is it strategic? So that's the first thing you have to do is really sort of understand what you're trying to accomplish and then you really have to pay very careful attention to your audience and what they're looking for. And we've never had more data about our audiences because we can really track almost everything that they do online, although that is going to change soon. But, you know, so I think that that's the first step that has to be taken. I think a really important tool is personas. I think the be, however deep you want to get with them, however shallow you want to make them. There needs to be enough information in them to give content creators and marketers, in general, a really good picture and shape who they're talking to. I think you need to figure out how you want to represent yourself as a brand in the marketplace. And I think that you need to have messages that support those ideas and then you need to decide your voice and tone. What do you want to sound like? Where do you want to sound one way when you're giving people error messages versus how you want to sound when you're talking about cancer? And then the last thing is where and when do you publish this content? So you're reaching the right people at the right time in the right place?


SEO & content marketing: how do they work together?

Hahava Leibtag: Yeah. So I mean, I think you have to remember there are billions of web pages and a lot of content out there. People usually need to have nine touchpoints before they even think about it. Inside health care, people are searching for information. I think 30 percent of all searches on Google Daily have to do with health care. So if you think about that, you can really see how much it really does take over what people are doing. Is it 30 percent or 15 percent? Whatever it is, it's really overwhelming the amount of health care information that people are searching for. And so in the same way that you research your audiences and you understand who they are, what motivates them, what they care about, what their questions are, I think their questions are really the critical part. You need to know the vocabulary that they use. Most people have coping strategies when you watch them search and again, people search very differently. Different things, so when somebody is doing a health care search, they're educating themselves as they're going along in their search where somebody is looking for a pair of jeans. It might be educating themselves on different sizes and different styles, but it's a very different kind of surgeon, probably more fun. Although any woman who's ever looked for a pair of jeans can tell you it's a pretty frustrating experience, it's not the same as having a healthcare challenge. So, you know, and then when somebody is doing a B-to-B search because their CFO ask them to find a better software, it's a completely different kind of search. You know, they might be going to landing pages and entering in their information to get content that's going to help them make this decision. And that may become a lead. And, you know, so it's going into a completely different buying cycle. So the bottom line is, is that SEO is really important. It's critical for establishing the vocabulary of how people are going to find your content. The problem comes about when you get into this keyword stuffing. So we just had a blog that we wrote for a health care organization and their SEO firm Kunin and added 13 phrases in the blog that were the same phrases. And we went back to them and they're like, Google is going to just X. This out like this is ridiculous. First of all, a spider bot is going to know that this is keyword stuffing. And not only that, but a human being reading this blog is not going to like it because they're going to see that you're repeating the same phrases. It doesn't make sense anymore. So we really have to do a very good job of understanding that SEO leads the person to the content, and then we need the content to sing on its own to the person. And that's where I think we get stuck. So, you know, synonyms and long-tail keywords are all really important. Metadata is critical. What you're putting in your page titles and your browser titles and your age 2s and your embedded description and all that stuff. And we could argue about, you know, how valuable they are, how much it changes. But I have to say I've been doing this for about 17 years and the best practices have not changed. Google will tell you the same thing over and over now 94 percent market share, so you can pretty much guarantee that people who are searching are using a Google product. And so if that is what's going on for people, then we need to use Google's tools. People also ask, you know, their keyword finders. I'll Google Trends. All of those tools are really valuable to getting at the vocabulary that your audience is using.


Topic clusters and pillar pages: a good mix between SEO & content strategy?

Hahava Leibtag: I think again when Google is looking for the signal in the noise, right? So what they're looking for is, are you an expert on this? Do you write about this in a regular way? Is this something you update constantly? Do you have trust and authority in this particular piece of content? So if you're writing a lot of pages that support and again, I'm speaking here from a health care perspective because I'm not a product goods expert or but if you're a hospital that has a really sophisticated cancer institute, you better have hundreds of pages on cancer and how cancers are treated and how people can find the technologies that they need to get better and what clinical trials look like. And that hub and spoke approach really does make a lot of sense, and it really is going to help your SEO. So, yes, Google's been talking about that for years, the hub and spoke approach. I won't again, I think it's just again, one more signal that tells them this is a place where we should send people because this is highly relevant content. What I'll also tell you is that that's a really, I think pertinent way to think about this are we doing an integrated SEO strategy? So are we thinking about the hub and spoke? Are we thinking about research in a certain way? Are we thinking about building pages with strong metadata? It's not just one thing or the other thing. It has to be a holistic approach to creating valuable content.


Relevance of persona’s to determine your audience?


Hahava Leibtag: We create personas for our clients, and we train them on how to use them better than others. It depends on the content maturity of an organization, and that's a really important thing to think about. I think that. The health care blog, and consumer blogs that are doing well basically have one persona they have, they're either going after a millennial or they're going after a Gen-Xer, and they're very clear on who that woman is because they think that women are really influencing the health care decisions in the home. So that's one way to go about it. I think a different way to go about it is to think about not necessarily all the millions of people that are looking for health care information, but what they have in common with each other. So somebody who's just diagnosed with a blood disorder could be a 78-year-old grandmother. It could be a 16-year-old skateboarder. You know, we really don't know. There are certain diseases and conditions that just can hit a wide range of people. So what we always tell our clients is that you have to answer people, answer people's questions where they are. So it doesn't really matter if you're a 78-year-old grandmother or your 16-year-old skateboarder, you probably have nothing in common with each other except that now you have this blood disorder. So now you are part of a community where you have to educate yourself and understand what your treatment options are. And so what we really look at is questions and answers. What is this? How do I treat it? What am I going to get better? What happens if this treatment doesn't work? Are there research protocols that could be a part of? Is this something that I was going to kill me or is it just going to have to live with? Are there other people who have been through this that I can talk to? Is there an association that researches and gives money to this, to this blood disorder? So I think that that's really where if you're being strategic about health care content, you're thinking about what are the why are these people gathering on this piece of content was valuable to them about it. And the intersection is that topic, not necessarily who they are. That's really where I think in health care, it's a little bit easier in some ways than it might be in other kinds of industries.


Building your personas not for individuals - but for a community!

Hahava Leibtag: We used to build a tool called archetypes, which we would do like chronically ill, newly emergent surgical candidates. But writers and content creators have a really hard time with like just like a broad like, you know, chronically ill. That could be a thousand things that could be diabetes. That could be completely different, right? So what we do now is we create a persona and then we talk in that persona about how they fit into different buckets. And that, I think, has been helpful in terms of writing and content creation videos, even taking pictures, you know, thinking about what is a chronically ill patient encounters in their journey that might be different than a surgical patient. Right. So and to remember that a chronically ill patient can become a surgical patient at some point also. So just, you know, if that's where it gets fun and exciting and really difficult in health care about thinking about audiences, and we use something called up a bite, a snack, and a meal. There's an adult learning theory called progressive disclosure, and what it means is that people can only learn in small chunks. So we write a short introduction in a bite and then we give people more information in a snack and then we give them a lot of information and a meal, and it gives people choice. So if they get to a page that's overwhelming, you know, they might be able to find a quick introduction at the top or a short video they can watch or something like that. So hopefully that's useful to your audience in thinking about how to take complex topics and break them up so that people don't get overwhelmed by the info.


Content audit: yes or no?

Hahava Leibtag: I don't believe in the full audit unless you're redesigning a website, and that actually is really questionable about whether or not you need to touch every page anyway. So I am actually a person who when I talk to clients, I'll say to them, What are you hoping to get out of the audit? What is the end goal of the audit and then crafting the audit to satisfy that end goal? Touching every piece of content, I think, usually leads to a problem where we no longer have clarity on what to keep and what to throw away because it's almost impossible to know the importance. I'll give you an example that I've talked about a million times. This happened 10 years ago. We were looking at a page on a huge academic medical center site that had eight-page visits in one year, and it was a very rare type of eye surgery. And we wanted they wanted to get rid of the page because what they were trying to do was get rid of the bottom 20 percent of their traffic, which is going to delete it all in that.

When we talk to the eye surgeon, each one of those surgeries brought in three hundred thousand dollars. The organization. Why would you do that math in a different place? Right? That's over a million dollars. I mean, that's a lot. All right. That's $2.4 million. Right? Four. Eight visits. If those patients became. Patience, right? We don't know if those eight visits equaled and when we talked to him, we also found out that like most of his work, came from referrals, so he didn't really know what people looking at the page or wherever. Anyway, the page ended up staying up there, right? We just rewrote it to get easier to understand and probably by rewriting it. It elevated itself in the traffic because now it was easier to find and it was easier read, and it followed metadata. It had no, you know, tagging in it or whatever. So I think that that's where touching every piece of content can get very complicated because if you start doing that with 10000 pages of content, it'll take you 10 years. So what we really try to do is do strategic audits. You know, what is your what are the what are patterns that we can see? What are your stakeholders feeling challenged about? What are the patterns that we're seeing in your content? What are the patterns that we're seeing in your content production? What's happening on your channels? What kind of engagement are you seeing and not a really big believer in if you have a 50-page site or 100 pages that are maybe even a hundred and fifty pages, but once you start getting bigger than that? And I'm not saying that there is an advantage in having all your URLs crawled and dumping it into a spreadsheet for screaming frogs. But I really think unless you're redesigning a site and trying to go for a rebrand and looking for something completely different, I'm not sure that touching every page makes sense. Now, touching every page of a section, let's say you have a section of your website that needs an overhaul that might be a worthwhile kind of audit to look at. But I think that when you do that kind of audit, it has to be balanced with what are the stakeholder needs. Why do you want to rewrite that section on your website? What are you really looking to accomplish that has to be balanced with all those pages that you're looking at if you're touching? So, so I really am not a big believer in that kind of audit. I think I've said that now seven times. So it's very clear to your audience that how do we check does not believe in touching everybody.


Content audit when you don’t even have a website?

Hahava Leibtag: So I understand that kind of audit. I think that you're building sort of an inventory of what you've got and how you can repurpose it more in-depth. And I agree with that 100 percent. I mean, if you're coming in as a consultant, then your client says to you, we don't have any content. One of the first things you want to do is show them that they're probably sitting on a mountain of content that is in containers that don't allow it to be freed and used in other ways. So, yeah, I agree with that 100 percent. But to me, that's different than sort of just going through all the URLs and figuring out what's there.


Content type, content format, content ideas? What should we call it?

Hahava Leibtag: I always think that you're going to do best with written content, see how it performs, and then move it into a different content type, like an infographic or a video or something like that. You're just going to get indexed faster. You're going to be able to change things faster. But again, it really depends on what you're selling. So if you're selling coffee tables, then photographs are your most important content type because that's what people want to see and dimensions are your most important content type.

I am what I call a mental model for content where it's a piece of information you're trying to convey. What is your audience's need? What sort of wrapper do you put it in? You know, is it written? Is it audio? Is it text? And then what? How do you distribute it? Your blog is not your content, it's a delivery tool for your content. I think so. Yeah, so so that's how I think of it. Like I think distribution and format get very messy. You know, people will say, Oh, it's a Facebook post. Well, that's not really a content type. It's written and it's on Facebook. But Facebook is a channel for distribution, you know what I mean? So you could easily Typekit the post and turn it into an Instagram post, which now Facebook does for you automatically. So I think that that's where people get sort of it's get squidgy. I don't know if that's how you translate that word or, you know, and it's challenging for people. I think that. This is a term we do get hung up on. I do think it's an important term, but I think it's only important when you're conversing with people who are creating content. I don't know that it's as important as understanding the difference between content strategy and content marketing. OK. It's just a format type. And then you just define what that means with the person that you're creating content with. And then I think it just, you know, that's the vocabulary word you decided to use.


Involving your company team members in the content creation process?

Hahava Leibtag: It is if it's strategic. So if you go to the CEO and you say one of the things you put in the business plan is that we have to do X, can you talk about the steps that you're taking to do that? And then you use that as a written blog post and as a video series and as an infographic or whatever that's going to impress upon your clients or your internal employees like important. And yeah, that's great. If you say to the CEO, can you just talk? No, no, no. It's not valuable. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I'm a big believer in combing through an organization. If you're going to be a content marketer in an organization or a marketer in general, you have a B, and that B is that brand. And so you need to reach out to the customer service call center and say, Hey, what are you hearing lately? That's an investigative journalist. Has that approach, right? It's curiosity about everything that goes on, and it's your job to create conduits, you know, channels that people bubble up stories to you. So, you know, we have a daily huddle every day at our media group and everybody talks about what's going on with their different projects. And every once in a while, somebody says something that a client said that gives us an idea either on our process or on our marketing, or to write a blog post to make it more clear in the industry what that means and what. What's that about? I just had something happen with a client, and I posted something on LinkedIn because I was like, We need to think about this, this whole approach differently. And it was a theme that's come up a lot. So I knew that I wanted to address it in a public forum like LinkedIn. So yeah, I think that we definitely have ways to create different types of formats from one piece of content. But I think what's more important is remembering that great stories about the brand can come from anywhere. I mean, listen, we've written healthcare blogs about janitors, and custodial people in a hospital. They have great stories. I mean, think about all the things they see and hear. Do you know what I'm saying? Like, they got the T. So that's where you really can shine. If you're thinking about the unusual places that stories can come from, the CEO is not that interesting, quite frankly.


Create content when you’re not a good writer?


Hahava Leibtag: Writing is communicating ideas in an organized fashion so that people can understand that. So if you talk, then chances are you can write. You just need somebody to help you figure out how to take a lot of your ideas and organize them in a way that another person can understand. But I really, when people say to me, I'm not a good writer, I'm not a good writer either. But man, I'm a great talker. So you know, that's what I say to people like, that's ridiculous. If you communicate, you can write. If you can string a sentence together, then you can write. You just need to figure out how to organize your thoughts so that they make sense to somebody reading them. And that's where when I hear people say, I'm not a good writer, I'm just like, I know not buying that one because you're talking to me right now, so you're perfectly capable of writing.

I want to add one thing to that. If I can't, I love it when people tell me they're not creative. I'm like, Did you solve a problem today than your Christmas? You know, it's just it's a kind of like, wait to recognize. One of my friends posted on LinkedIn today that part of their mission is to make people smile every day, and his son looked at the logo and said to him, Why do you have a frown and your logo? Because it's this kind of Snoopy thing. And he said, You know, I have no visual talent. I didn't see that, but my response to him was that you had somebody else look at it and give you their perspective. That's creativity. That's what that is. It's trying to bring in another perspective because, you know, you yourself can't see it. And so anytime anyone says to me, I can't write, I'm not creative. I don't buy it. Human beings by their design are creative. That's all we do all day is solve problems all day long.


Is gated content still effective in a content strategy? 


Hahava Leibtag: So in March of 2020, when the pandemic started and I started seeing people writing about COVID and we had written about it already because it was a big concern starting in December and January, you know, people were starting to say, there's this virus coming out of China, is it dangerous? And you know, the feeling was like the flu was far more dangerous at that point. So we had already sort of written about it and used it in some workshop examples. And then, you know, when they shut down and I saw people writing about it, I was like, Oh boy, the healthcare communications world is in trouble. So we created a plain language cheat sheet, which we actually won a lot of awards for. It was a very well-respected piece of content marketing, and it was used by hopefully hundreds of people who are writing about COVID. And. The first week we released it, we only had like one hundred and twenty downloads, and I was so frustrated because I really felt like this is a critical piece that was going to change how people think about writing about this stuff. So I said to them, we're I'm getting it. I said to my marketing team, I was like, This is not a lead generation piece. This is a valuable piece. This is we care about our community. We're in a huge global emergency. This isn't the time to count how many leads we get. That's not what we're trying to do here. And I don't know, there were thousands of page views after that. What also happened? So then I said, we're I'm getting all of it because all of it was helpful. Like, we have pieces about, you know, SEO and we have pieces about writing, about difficult topics. And, you know, all of our stuff is really geared towards the health care communication field. So I said, we're on getting all of it, just engaged it. It's valuable content. We're not getting it right now. People need it. And our social media subscriptions went up. I always get them confused, but one went up 45 percent and our email subscriptions went up fifty-five percent. And that's because we were producing valuable things in the marketplace, people needed this content, they needed it now. It was helpful to them, they wanted it and they didn't want to give their email. It was just another step that they had to complete. Now they're going to bother me. I'm going to, you know what I mean? So. I say this with a big caveat. I mean, Andrew Davis made a big deal about and he made a big deal out of it from orbit and Handley wrote about it. But one of the things that I really tried to impress upon them and that hopefully, their audience is, is that I'm the CEO of a small marketing company. I can make that decision if you're the CMO, the chief marketing officer of a multibillion-dollar company. It's a different thing because when you walk into your CFO, you need to use metrics that show that your marketing department is pushing the needle on revenue.

Well, our sales jumped, I mean, we are we've gained sales by 20 percent that year, but that might not be because of the content unveiling. That could just be because people needed somebody to write all this content. There's no way to know that's the thing. All these metrics are vanity metrics when it comes down to it. It is the only way you can truly figure it out so let's see if I can do the math really fast now. I would say 15 percent of our revenue can be counted back to an inbound lead. Mm-hmm. But we have no idea because we can't really track anymore how many touchpoints there were before that person chose to reach out. And that's OK with me. But that might not be OK with the CMO. So that's the thing that I really want to impress upon people and our marketing is getting more and more sophisticated. And there is this should we start getting stuff? The only thing that I could see us really getting because we're going to spend a lot of money on it is custom research. That would be something I could see getting where we do research and show something in the healthcare communications field that we would want to get that as a leak. But I don't know. I don't really feel that strongly about it. I really do feel like I'm trying to impact the way that people write and communicate about health care. You know, I have this joke that we're trying to make the healthcare website one word at a time. So I don't know like it's a lead, whatever, either they'll become our customer, they won't. I'm not going to sweat it that much.

But that's not true. We write content for B2B also and our business customers use our content, so I don't think about it. It's what it's about. I think for me if we're producing a piece of content, I want people to use it to make their content better, whether they patronize us or not because I truly believe in our mission. And that's a value, right? That's where it comes back to the values of the organization. Sometimes the real value of the organization is to make money, and that's OK. That's what companies exist to do. They exist to make money. But that's not me I mean, my values also make money. I'm not in business not to make money, but my value is also around people who are terrified. We need help and the people who actually create the content that can help them. Can we get better? And again, that's a very unusual situation to be in. And I think that what I would tell any customer, any client asking me is try it with one piece, pilot a piece of content, and get it and see what happens. Your sales teams might kill you. They might say, we can't exist on that because then we're not going to have real leads that we can follow up on. So every organization has to make that determination for themselves.

So but what I like to remind people is that nobody gets their blog and there's tons of powerful stuff on their blog. So and asking people to subscribe to your email is a form of gating, right? If that's what it is. So to me, it's sort of this conversation that tends to go in a circle. And it's better for every organization to decide for themselves where they're going to put their stake in the stand in the sand.

All of our content out. You just go to our resources page. You can see all aggregated all


What does a day in the life of an entrepreneur/content strategist look like?

I think I spent my day trying to remind people to think about their audience. I really find that that's my overwhelming conversation. And then the other conversation that I try to have with people is don't. Don't try to mimic what somebody else is doing in their content marketing. If you're copying people, then you're not thinking about your business and what's really going to work for your business. Nobody has the same business as anybody else. They just don't. Businesses are made up of people and processes and technology, and every business is different in those areas, and each one of those things is spinning constantly. So it's the middle is the desk and the identity of the company. And so there's just no way. So you have to figure out what's right for your business and your strategy and what you're trying to accomplish. And. Yeah, so I basically spend my day solving problems, reminding people to focus on their audience, and telling people not to copy anybody else,

Know your audience is different, but how do you impact your customers? Is different, you know? It's a great job on this. There is project management software and they in 2020 focused on its customers and how its customers use dishonor to do the different things that they did. So they have this is where they got the idea from. This is exactly what you were talking about. They, some a customer, said to them, Asana is helping us save whales and dolphins. It was some sort of environmental protection racket, not for profit. And they, the marketer, heard that and they were like, Let's go, interview all our customers and find out what Asana is helping them do. That's a very different way of getting at it. Do you know what makes your company different? It's not the software, it's what the software helps people do. And so any business, anybody who says to me or industry is all the same and like, No, it's not. I've seen plumbing companies do amazing things I've seen. There's this one company that applies like protective coating to glass when it's on skyscrapers, and they do this amazing job of showing this video. It's great content marketing. I've seen great content marketing out of shipping companies. If people say it's all the same, then they're just not doing their jobs. They're not thinking from different angles about how this product really affects people's lives. And I really do think that there are a million ways to go at it, and you just have to be willing to have a very open mind about it.


How to recruit great writers?

So that the number one thing that we look for is curiosity in both roles. So when I interview a writer, they've already gone through like seven different recruiting steps, but they come to me last because I look for cultural fit. And the third question and I'll ask them, we're not the third question, but like halfway through the interview, I'll say to them, What are you reading right now? And I love it when they're like, well, I'm in the middle of three books and then like, they're like, ashamed to tell me one of them because it's like a guilty pleasure like I'm reading a sci-fi novel. Meanwhile, like, I love sci-fi, so like, I love it when people tell me that they're doing that. But like, tell me the title, and I'll write it down. But I, you know, that's a sign that people are curious. People will say to me sometimes like, I'm reading this book, but I love listening to this podcast, you know, and that just shows that they're engaged with the world. They want to learn more. I look for good writing, but honestly, like, you're a good writer. Writing is a practice. And so by the time you come to us and work for us, you have a really established book of great healthcare journalism and great healthcare writing. We actually did just take a chance on somebody who got a master's degree in clinical research and started to become a clinical researcher. And she's like, I don't like this. I really want to be a writer. And we took a chance on her and she's amazing and doing a fabulous job. So, you know, you never know where they're going to come from. We have another woman who's a pharmacist who is a good writer. But in any case, I do not think that you need to be a good writer to be a content strategist, but it's rare for me to find one that is involved in editorial and brand, and content engineering. You need to be able to write from a memo perspective, from an email perspective, and from a reporter perspective. But if you're a content strategist that's looking at content from a qualitative point of view, you probably need to be a writer or a videographer or photographer, whatever it is. However, you are getting at the content itself.


$15,000 to start a content strategy and get results: how would you spend it?

 I would research my audience.

I would try to get as much data as I could about my audience. And that would dictate everything. You will never fail. The more you know about your audience, the more you care about them, and the more you want to spend a lot of time getting to know them. I always tell this story. About 17 years ago, I used to sit in the hospital waiting rooms and talk to patients about what they were looking for out of context. And that's what started my business because I took the extra time to sit there in a like. I'll give an example. I was sitting in the radiation waiting, waiting room and people get hungry because there was only a vending machine there and it was very far from the cafeteria. So I wrote a web page that was like things you need to know for your first appointment. And everybody I talked to afterward, like, I love that page made a difference. People come with snacks now. They're ready for how long the appointments are going to take because the first appointment is a lot of setting up so that they can pinpoint the tumor. You know, just it seems like such a stupid thing, but think about the difference that makes it everyone's day when a patient is not hungry, it's just a completely different experience. And so if you have $50000, go spend it finding out who your audience is and what they care about. Because while it may not affect your revenue, it's going to affect the ability of your employees to do their job better and that will affect your profits. And that's an important thing to remember also.

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