Opinion What is website content strategy?

By Tim McQueen Published on 30 Apr 2018

What is content strategy?

  • Read time: 3 mins
  • Tech level: low
  • Key point: a website content strategy is an action plan which can help your web team achieve goals.
Professionals in Sydney office discussing a business case
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Although Bill Gates claimed that "content is king" way back in 1996, his statement still rings true. It's therefore important for businesses to have a clear strategy that allows for the effective planning, creation, organisation and management of content. This in turn, eases communication between businesses and their customers, aiding the achievement of business goals.

Sure, you can get by without one – in the same way you can commence a long haul drive without any planning. Just fly by the seat of your pants. However, is this the best way? Whilst you’ll get there in the end, will you get there quickly? Will you know where the speed cameras are? Do you know where the short cuts are? Will you know where to get the best food?

Why does a web team need it?

A website content strategy is a clear, goal-based plan of action, that everybody in a web team can understand. If a web team wants direction for where they are heading, everyone needs to be on the same page. Content strategy is an important stepping stone to success, and when effective, it carries a variety of benefits. Such benefits include:

  • Boosted productivity
  • Improvements to team sustainability – a team won’t work long term if it’s relying on a superman
  • Optimisation of the production process
  • Clearly mapped business objectives
  • Brand consistency across all mediums and webpages
  • Decreased effort required for current and potential students using the website
  • Being able to keep the target audience and business goals within reach.

What do you need to consider?

As noted earlier, content strategy only brings the aforementioned benefits when it is implemented effectively. In order to do so, it is important to consider your current situation and adjust your content accordingly. For example, you may need to:

  • Reduce any content that doesn’t support either a business or customer goal.
  • Take stock: perform a high level review - both quantitative and qualitative - and create a record of everything in spread sheets.
  • Create:
    • blue prints of workflows
    • a team structure where positions are responsible for specific tasks – don’t forget to get the right people to do the right things.
    • metadata schemas
    • a form for each page. It may contain details such as:
      • target audience
      • primary message
      • secondary message
      • details
      • call to action
      • metadata info
      • page templates / wireframes
  • Address the most appropriate avenues for each type of content to remain consistent across multiple mediums.

Keep the following in mind when selecting a CMS:

“Therein lays the central tenet of the CMS Myth: When it comes to web content management success, it’s not just about the technology."

How do you create one?

"In reality, CMS success hinges on your plan, your people, and your process behind your web content management initiative.” - CMS Myth. To maintain your content strategy, it is important to:

  • Govern:
    • set up a content calendar.
      • if you can get access to a CMS wizard, they should be able to make you a content calendar – with alerts and escalations baked in.
    • if the staff who need to update content aren’t in the website team, then it will be better if these tasks in their KPIs.
  • categorise content into evergreen and perishables
  • track everything and periodically review Google Analytics

One last comment – and this is key – if the website content strategy hasn’t got support from the top, then I think it’s better to put the project on the ‘back burner’. Instead just bite off a small chunk and work on that. The results of this could then be used to support the proposition that a complete website strategy needs to be created.

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