What is content strategy? Why is it important?
We define content strategy as the thoughtful planning for and execution of thoughtful web content driven by your business objectives and your targeted user needs. Your content should be both findable and readable — planned for search engines and people alike.
Yes, this requires planning. And yes, it’s complicated. That’s why we’re starting small today, breaking it down into bite size pieces to help take out some of stress.
First up: what does Content Strategy look like in a nutshell?
- Content informs. Information can be packaged as entertainment, practical applications, or factual statements complete with stats and measurements.
- Content accomplishes a goal. Why are you following this content strategy? What do you want the consumer to take away? How do you want the shopper to engage with your brand through the content?
- Content isn’t uniform. Content can consist of videos, written text, audio, or graphics. But good content, and a good content strategy, no matter the format, is:
Well-rounded. A mistake we frequently see companies make is the lopsided design of the content. In some cases, it’s all about marketing. In others, it’s all about the optics. What you need is a content approach that includes input from design, development, and account services.
Actionable. Content strategy cannot be something that looks good on paper but cannot be implemented. Focus on developing a strategic approach that is clear and easy to put into practice for your organization.
Goal-oriented. A B2C marketer will be focused more on mass appeal, while B2B has a targeted list of audiences. Your goals must drive your content.
Of course, we here at WDG focus on websites, so let’s dive into that next: how to translate your overall content goals into web specific content.
How to Plan Web Content Strategy Plan
A website acts like your digital storefront to the world. Web content tells your story. It is unique for each business. It’s a comprehensive, critical tool for connecting with current and future customers. But above all else, it must be effective. Telling your story and reaching your audience are two sides of the same coin. But, sometimes they don’t connect.
That’s why we go to great lengths to support the site’s information architecture, while also detailing recommendations to strengthen content across all channels. By doing this, we can make the strategy support larger organizational goals. A good example is a company that’s trying to extend to other media.
What are visitors to your website trying to achieve? Are they looking for prices, specs, stats, product options, information, or are they exploring the topic for the first time? Juxtapose this question with what you are trying to achieve on the page. Where both intersect, you find your content strategy goal.
Content strategists can help you organize existing content and highlight pieces that best exemplify your brand. From there, we amplify elements that work toward your goals and remove those that don’t. In some cases, we have to create a block of content to move the site or specific pages closer to the goal.
Our job is to help you define the goal and then reach it. This doesn’t mean that you have to scrap altogether what you already have. On the contrary! Sometimes, it might be better to look for opportunities to strengthen content to support your strategic vision better.
Mapping Content Objectives
Next up, we’ll need to engage on one of my personal favorite activities: content mapping.
Content mapping is a term that refers to the relationships between pages and sections on your site. It also focuses on the strategic aspect when it comes to supporting the customer’s journey. We recommend content mapping to visualize how to reach the audience based on the buyer persona you created.
Also, it supports breaking down the phases of the sales funnel. By mapping what’s already on the site, it’s easy to move it into place. From there, we see where gaps exist, and we can then work to develop targeted content needs to fill them. Start with critical pages and eventually go through all website sections.
Marketing, The Sales Funnel, and SEO: Content Strategy in Action
Content attracts interest and is your strongest tool to attract new audiences. We know that strong content is the backbone of a strong marketing plan.
Take search marketing, for example. Targeted search engine optimization (SEO) makes sure that your targeted consumer demographic finds the information organically. In the past, moving customers along the sales funnel meant amplifying the advertising messages.
Marketers now know that this can be a mistake. The real downward force is content that makes a difference and addresses specific pain points. It solves problems and lets the customer learn something new. It gives them solutions in practical ways. So, your content strategy all along the funnel must highlight your expertise and your awareness of the customer’s needs.
Doing so builds trust, which ultimately moves the shopper toward becoming the buyer.
Here’s some starter questions for you as you consider how your content and marketing goals intersect:
- What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) for related content?
- Where do target audiences for the various content pieces diverge?
- How can you build a steady source of SEO-friendly content?
- Is there a content type that’s working better for our goals?
- How are we reaching out to the consumer with our content?
Be True to Your Brand with Your Content Strategy
With the new strategy in place, your company is ready to lead audiences through the content. No matter what you put on your site, it must support the brand promise and amplify your unique value proposition. These are the aspects that differentiate you from the competition. Each piece of content plays a role in the messaging hierarchy.
Your audience takes in the messages as they go through the pieces of content that educate and teach them about products and services.
Are you ready to put all this data into practice? If you’re starting from square one, we walk alongside you to put together a comprehensive content strategy. On the other hand, if you’re bringing with you a foundation of content and website design, we help you focus on the areas where improvement makes meeting your goals possible. Don’t forget that with an experienced project manager, the project stays on track and budget.
Reach out today to talk to an expert about your business goals through content strategy!