The Most Essential Website Redesign Tool: Content Strategy

If you’re like us and our clients, you’ve been hearing a lot about content strategy lately.  Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find much information about it so we thought we’d shine a little light on the subject.

What is a Content Strategy?

According to Wikipedia, content strategy is “the practice of planning for content creation, delivery, and governance” and “a repeatable system that defines the entire editorial content development process for a website development project.” Simply put, it’s the outline or plan of communication with your online audience. Wikipedia states that it is for a website development project but a content strategy is more effective when it encompasses all digital communications. It would also be valuable to cover all of your communication efforts but for the purposes of this post we will focus on digital content.

What does a Content Strategy cover?

As mentioned above: everything digital.  First, write a list of all of the areas in which you plan to digitally communicate with your customers, prospects, vendors, etc.
For example:

  • website content
  • blog posts
  • Facebook
  • twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • email newsletters

Once you have the list, focus on one outlet at a time and determine the following for each:

  •  what kind of content should be created or updated for each outlet
  •  how often that outlet should be attended to or posted
  •  who the intended audience is
  •  what the possible goals will be
  •  who will be responsible for creating the content
  •  what the process is for approval before posting the content
  •  what the possible intended engagement or action points will be for each post
  •  what methods will be used to measure success

You will notice that some of the different outlets are very similar but it’s important to carefully examine each outlet carefully because there are subtle differences.  For instance, a lot of people think that they should link their Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn pages so that they only have to post once.  It’s a fairly easy thing to accomplish, but what may not be taken into consideration is that those could be three different audiences with three different reasons for being a part of each community and if you don’t provide them with the right information at the right time then you may miss your target…or worse, alienate them because you are overwhelming them with the wrong type of content.

Why do you need a Content Strategy?

1. Search Engine Optimization: What most SEO experts may not tell you is that Google rates relevant, changing website content very high in it’s super secret algorithm for ranking. Those SEO experts do provide valuable assistance but if you are not regularly updating the content on your site and building relevant inbound links, it will all be for naught and your ranking will fall.
2. Engagement: Formulating your content strategy will allow you to plan the areas of engagement for each outbound effort in order to keep the user on your website longer, and hopefully give you a call, send you an email, sign up for more information, or engage in some other way.
3. Website promotion: If you write a blog are you going to place a link to that blog on your social media accounts? If you advertise online, what page will you link to, and what will you ask the viewer to do from there?  Thinking out your content goals ahead of time will help you spend less time on each campaign and also increase your SEO.
4. Accountability: If specific tasks and deadlines are assigned to individuals, with clearly defined goals and processes, the effort is more likely to be successful and maintained.

Much like a brand document, once your content strategy has been clearly defined, you can and should refer back to it regularly to ensure that your efforts continue to align with your goals. If done correctly, you should expect to see a fairly quick increase in ranking, website traffic, and engagement after implementing your content strategy.