What is your Content Strategy?
When you hear the words “content strategy” what comes to mind, anything? With the web being such a major player in marketing your business to the world those two words most certainly should mean something to everyone.
The adage “Content is King” has never been more true. With the web becoming over crowded, ensuring that the content you put up on your site is top notch should be a primary concern. Yet many companies just get a bunch of information together and throw it at a web developer and then expect them to mine for gold in the raw material that is provided.
While that is one method, is it the best content strategy?
Content is Complex
The written word can be very powerful and compelling. In the case of web content you need to combine the ability to write along with the proper subject of what to write about. This is not something that should be left for the last minute or handed off like it is a minor part of the project, because it isn’t.
For some reason when people design an new site, or even redesign an existing site it seems like content gets the short end of the stick like it is a red-headed step-child. But in reality the idea of content should be right in the middle of the conversation and go hand-in-hand with your design so that they match and flow. If content is king then the website is the castle and the two should be connected from the beginning.
So how should you go about it?
Enter the Content Manager
Someone needs to take the lead on the project and be the de-facto content manager who handles the content strategy. Think of that person like an editor of a newspaper. There job is to work with the various departments such as sports, news, and entertainment (or in this case marketing content, help documents, and social media content) to hand out assignments of not only what to write but include the general tone and theme to be used overall.
That way the entire project is going to have a similar flow. Also this allows a central person to meet with content providers and help with the perspective on the entire project rather than leaving the individuals to figure it out, or in many cases the web design company that might not understand all the nuances of your business.
Luckily these days there are some fantastic project-management tools such as Trello or GatherContent to help the process. Along with a good project management tool, your content strategy should involve or at least acknowledge these aspects:
- Regular Content Audits – After it is all said and done, it really isn’t said and done. Just because a site is created or revamped doesn’t mean that the content won’t go stale. You should think of content as a something continuous that should be touched on regularly.
- Open Up Collaboration – Use a shared space such as Dropbox or Google Drive as a centrally located space where everyone involved in the project can work from. Writers can easily see guidelines, share samples, and get feedback on what they are doing along with anyone else that is part of the content team.
- Be Consistent – Your content should all have a similar style and tone along with being connected. It is very useful to have your guidelines and expectations along with a content map so you can see how everything fits together and ensure it sends the same message with the same “voice”. Some companies do this simply by having the same person write all of the content because often that voice doesn’t change. At the same time this creates a future problem if that person becomes unavailable and you do not have guidelines in place for the next person.
Long Live the King
Content truly is king on the web. It must be treated respectfully and with proper ceremony, pomp, and circumstance. By moving the content conversation to the front of the project when designing a new website or revamping an existing one, you will ensure that the two aspects work together to create a more integrated product; that is content strategy. Content should be developed, not just collected, and actually be part of the development of the site if you want your king to have a long and prosperous reign.