The term “Content Strategy” may be one of the mosts misunderstood concepts in the marketing industry. One of the reasons is that there are many different definitions for the term, not to mention that most agencies, organizations, and even core teams have differing opinions of what makes up content strategy and execution. Everywhere I have worked has handled content strategy in different ways, but all had one common trend: Content Strategy was integral to a successful website build.
One such definition by marketing guru Rahel Bailie states:
Content strategy deals with the planning aspects of managing content throughout its lifecycle, and includes aligning content to business goals, analysis, and modeling, and influences the development, production, presentation, evaluation, measurement, and sunsetting of content, including governance. What content strategy is not is the implementation side. The actual content development, management, and delivery is the tactical outcomes of the strategy that need to be carried out for the strategy to be effective.
Rahel Bailie, coauthor of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits and principal of Intentional Design
Rahel does a great job in articulating the essence of Content Strategy. At the end of the day, it is about the process that is put in place to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. Content Strategy is not a set-it-and-forget-it task; it requires active attention and ongoing support to ensure success.
At Bluetext, content strategy is a key component of every website project. At the beginning of a project, we work with our clients to define the right balance of support required to ensure that they are successful. We strongly believe that without a well-defined and well-executed content strategy there is an abundance of business opportunity left on the table. Whether this be in the form of missed SEO juice, messaging gaps, or outdated and unimportant content, the bottom line is that your organization is missing out on some of its potential.
So what does a sample content strategy process look like?
In this blog post, we walk through a very high level overview of the core pieces required to have a successful content strategy. These are by no means the only things that make up content strategy and there will be different flavors/add-ons/adjustments based on your organization’s specific needs.
Step 1: Define your Audience
The core of a sound content strategy is defining your audience. A content strategy may have more than one target audience, but without at least a basic understanding of your users, you will effectively be shooting in the dark. For growing companies whose business goals are raising more capital, investors will be an important audience in your content strategy. Differentiating between primary and secondary audiences will help prioritize your website’s content curation, presentation, and execution. Understanding the nuances of your audience — their goals and their behaviors — will allow you to tailor the content on your website such that you give them the best experience possible.
- Analytics Trend Analysis
- Stakeholder Interviews
- Market Research
Step 2: Define your Content Areas
Having a clear definition of what content you need and how it will be structured will help ensure a sturdy foundation for your website. Thinking through how content will be grouped and how a user will find content are key to being successful in this area. Outputs from Step 1 should inform how you construct your content areas. Do you need a page dedicated to target audience testimonials? Are you planning on being a thought leader in your space? Consider where on your site your content areas will be most effective at delivering your core messaging to your target audience.
- Sitemap Audit
- ROT (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial) Analysis
- Competitor Sitemap Analysis
Step 3: Define your Editorial Strategy
Editorial strategy covers many different topics. Defining the voice, point of view, and writing style will help you create a unified website that is easy for your user base to consume. The last thing you want is every page to read like it was written by a different author with no cohesion or consistency.
- Keyword Analysis & Planning
- Competitor Research
Step 4: Define your Editorial Process
As I mentioned earlier, Content Strategy is not a “set it and forget it” type of task. It takes constant attention to keep up with not only your competition, but also evolving web trends and expectations of your user base. An editorial process will provide a guideline for you and your team to continually monitor and improve your websites content strategy.
- Blog Planning
- Content Refresh Schedule
- Ongoing SEO Analysis
Ultimately, the content strategy for every business, industry and organization will be a little bit different. The important part of a content strategy is that you have one, you are actively engaged and thinking about it and that you and your team understand it is a living, breathing thing.