If you embrace content strategy as a way to fuel communication between your brand and target audience, you probably already invest in researching your audience. But how well do you know the other half of the equation, your own brand? Can everyone in your marketing team articulate who you are, who you’re not, and—most importantly—who you’d like to be in the hearts and minds of your target audience? Those tough questions inform your brand’s message architecture, or hierarchy of communication goals.
You may already have a mission and vision statement, and core values might decorate a wall in your office lobby. A message architecture provides strategy to bridge the gap between lofty and externally facing promises and the actionable, tactical guidelines your content owners need. Both visual and verbal initiatives take direction from communication goals—but only if you can clearly articulate and prioritize them.
Before you engage in any kind of website redesign or marketing initiative, establish a message architecture. It serves as the strategic foundation for more tactical decisions—like your choice of content types and channels, editorial style and tone, and the visual look and feel. Through a facilitated exercise, your team will confront your brand attributes and communication goals and get past the trite answers. (What does it mean to be “traditional yet innovative,” anyway? We’ll establish the message architecture and discuss how to articulate it over time and across different platforms. The workshop will culminate in a hands-on, high-level content audit. Drawing on case studies from your industry, we’ll see how other organizations’ message architectures serve as a qualitative yardstick against which to measure existing content, inform an editorial calendar, and clarify editorial style guidelines. But first things first: message matters. We’ll put the cards on the table and discuss what you can do to own it.
- Get everyone on the same page by starting with a brief overview of content strategy—where it came from, how we define it, where it’s going, and how it complements content marketing
- Draw on a rich combination of case studies and exercises from an industry veteran with more than a decade of experience in corporate and consulting-side content strategy
- Engage in a facilitated hands-on exercise to prioritize your brand attributes
- Unpack marketing platitudes and help your team develop a concrete vocabulary to articulate your brand—no more nodding in agreement around terms that mean different things to different people
- How to translate business vision to an actionable message architecture
- How to align execution and tactics with your communication goals to minimize waste and ensure your communication is consistent and cohesive across channels, between owners, and over time
- How to identify and navigate your own organization’s linguistic political pitfalls
- How to prioritize your communication goals—and maintain that vision over time through your choice of content types, editorial style, and editorial calendar
- How to evaluate your existing content against your new message architecture