It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of crime dramas and detective series. I readily admit that my guilty pleasure is watching Dateline murder mysteries, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I enjoyed watching TNT’s real life crime series Cold Justice. Yes, it’s a silly name, but the two strong, smart female crime solvers are worth watching — especially as they strategically and systemically organize the evidence. Former prosecutor, Kelly Siegler would make an amazing content strategist.
I’m not actually trying to compare content strategy development to the important task of solving murders. Rather, I’m suggesting that when tackling complicated and complex tasks (like content strategy) it’s worth taking a page out of these detectives’ notebook.
To most, content strategy isn’t as sexy as television crime dramas, but the project phases are similar. It all starts in the discovery phase as this is where you understand what you have to work with, what you know and what you don’t know. Next, it’s all about understanding your methods and operations. Why are you doing the things you’re doing, saying the things you’re saying? What can be done differently? Now it’s time to create your personas (aka develop your list of suspects). Who will you be talking to so you can better understand what you don’t know? What role do they play? What do you need from them? With all this information, it’s time to start your investigation. When you start your content audit, you’ll be looking for messages that align with your mission; visual collateral that support your messaging; as well as analytical evidence that validates your goals. Even if it’s circumstantial, it all helps to tell your story.
Of course, this is a rather simplistic overview of the process, and just like every cold case, the process for uncovering the truth will be different for each. Yet, the general premise still remains — in order to determine what’s working and what isn’t, you need to examine the facts at hand. Does what you’re saying match who you really are? If it does, then chances are good that the District Attorney will accept your case and make an indictment — err — I mean, you can start putting all what you’ve learned into place so that you can consistently create, produce and publish messaging that aligns with your brand, your customers and your product experience.
Photo credit: John Nowak