A content strategy has many benefits that stem from defining purpose that create guidelines and quality measures. Having a content strategy as part of the planning process of any marketing initiative is critical to a successful end result and this is particularly true with websites. The most important part of any marketing website is content and unfortunately it’s often the most under-worked.
Here’s an interesting observation about how many companies view web content: they’ll spend countless hours poring over copy in a brochure only a few hundred or thousand people will ever read, but will publish almost anything online for millions of people around the world to access. That doesn’t make much sense to me. I suspect this relaxed attitude toward the web is because the website can be easily updated and print is forever, but companies fail to look back and often do not revise content as planned.
Making matters worse are content management systems that power many of today’s sites. These applications allow almost anyone within an organization to publish web content without review or restraint. Many companies think providing subject matter experts the power to publish is a good thing, but it can be a recipe for disaster. Without proper guidance, business strategies and goals can quickly become overrun by special interests and poor writing. Following the steps below will keep your website well-managed, fresh and frequently visited with less effort.
10 Steps for a Successful Content Strategy
- Content must support defined business objectives. These objectives drive the strategies used to satisfy business needs.
- Content is organized to fit into an overarching, hierarchical structure.
- Copy is written in a standardized format and style. Create a style guide for reference.
- Content is created for a specific intended audience. Define personas that represent different types of people that will consume your content and create content that addresses their needs.
- Establish publishing workflows that allow only select properly-trained individuals to publish content. This is essential for maintaining quality over time.
- Create a schedule to review and update content keeping it current, relevant and always improving.
- Coordinate and share content across multiple media channels. Example: write an article for a brochure; use it on the website; edit and post on blog; edit further and post on a social network.
- Design video and graphical elements for a consistent look, style and quality. Inconsistent visual elements degrade message clarity.
- Keep search engine optimization in mind. Make sure copy has proper keywords and all visuals have adequate text descriptions accompanying them.
- Work with an information architect and business analyst to create a strong strategy.