With so much change going on in the marketplace it has become essential to understand what you are doing, and why, before you start publishing your content. Any business of any size that has tried to write a strategic market plan in the last year knows that there is a force of mass information that needs to be dealt with. Hundreds of channels to choose from and millions of words published each day makes it essential to have a number one priority in mind before you publish.

To get started here are a few suggestions of how to get on track and stay there:

Start with strategy. There is a saying I’m sure you’ve heard, “Content is king” and although I mostly agree with this I must say that content without a strategy is going to get lost at sea. Consider who are the top brands you know the most about and I’m fairly certain they come to mind because you associate a specific value with their company, products and services and that makes them memorable. From a brand development perspective this means far fewer debates about what’s singularly important. No endless copy meetings trying to find the big idea. That’s already been worked out by defining the core idea of the strategy for the company and its brand.

Be specific about what you are offering. An email marketing blast that you can’t tell what is being offered is very annoying. This combined with an inability to associate a value to a brand creates negative equity and yet companies constantly make this mistake. By being specific about what you are offering, why it brings value to your customers, and what the next step is in the communication process, you will build trust that welcomes your message the next time.

Create content that is uniquely your own. One simple way to stand out from the crowd is to not sound like everyone else. Make unique statements that no one else is making. Show photos of your products in action, in the application where they are used once they are purchased. Avoid sterile product photographs. I think it has to do with time and budget why so many companies avoid this. But at the end of the day a simple product shot that looks like millions of other simple product shots is not going to break out from the fray.

The big idea is to figure out the single-most important core idea that makes your brand stand out, and then market that against all points of contact throughout your strategic marketing. Admittedly, it’s not an easy assignment but without it you risk putting your brand messaging into a sea of new media channels with little to no impact. It’s what smart marketing is built upon. Strategy first, content second.