Creating effective website content can be an arduous task, especially when so many factors must be considered: varying role capacities, internal politics, customer expectations etc. However, following a structured strategy can make creating focused content a piece of cake!
In recent years, as the term ‘content strategy’ has gained momentum, the working definition has shifted and shaped a little, with many industry experts now accepting it as the plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content. What exactly does this all mean though and what impact does content strategy have on your organisation?
According to Kristina Halvorson, recognised as one of the industry’s leading advocates for content strategy, the benefits of having a strong content strategy are abundant. Halvorson argues that “High-quality web content that's useful, usable, and enjoyable is one of the greatest competitive advantages you can create for yourself online.”
Yet understanding the term ‘content strategy’ and actually applying it in real life are two different things, which is why we’re going to dissect these three main components to success:
One common content strategy mistake is to undervalue the creation process. When planning a new website, many organisations will focus too much on the graphical specifications, instead of curating useful and usable content.
Therefore, beginning the creation phase, especially the re-creation phase for an existing website, can be challenging but there are plenty of solutions available to you. Firstly, consider what data you may need to help you in formulating content. A good analytics tool should be able to give you an in-depth insight into how your developing site or existing sites content is meeting and engaging people’s expectations and needs. From mapping user journeys, to understanding where users come from, it all helps in deciding on what content to create or use.
For more information about how analytics can assist in the content creation phase check out Web Analytics expert, Bo Vejgaard’s blog ‘Take inspiration from your analytics data when planning a new website.’ Another useful device to consider using during this stage is a tool such as Siteimprove SEO, which is ideal for figuring out whether content is optimised for keywords and search engines.
The publication stage in which content finally goes live is both exciting and daunting. During this time it’s important not to become complacent, as an excellent content strategy is one that is ongoing. Due diligence during this stage is just as essential as it was during creation. Part of this diligence means ensuring that all published content is thoroughly reviewed and checked. Now while this may seem like a bigger task than creating content in the first place, there are resources that can help you.
One solution is to consider investing in a quality assurance tool. A good QA tool should be able to identify spelling mistakes, internal and external broken links, as well as provide a complete overview of all media files that are currently published on your website. All this helps ensure your website’s content credibility remains protected. Additionally it should also be able to assign responsibilities so that everyone’s publications roles are clearly defined, which sets a high ongoing publication standard.
Those interested in making their content inclusive should also consider the role accessibility plays in content publishing. Although it can be very technical based, adhering to international guidelines for web accessibility ensures that as many users as possible can navigate and comprehend your site. Take a look at some of our previous blogs to learn more, such as what exactly web accessibility is.
Once created and published many organisations tend to adopt a ‘done and dusted’ policy, rather than enforcing a proactive content governance model. Without such a model organisations are unable to ensure content consistency - which is a waste of time and money. To implement a web governance model there are four key aspects to consider:
Tools such as a web governance suite are great for ensuring the other aspects are in order. Different tools within the suite, such as a quality assurance tool make it is easy to assign authority and responsibility, while a monitoring tool will greatly assist in ensuring a website’s maintenance, and analytics and SEO take the guesswork out of measurement.
Stay tuned for our next instalments
Throughout the upcoming series we will be delving deeper into the three necessary components for content strategy success, their common issues, as well as offering you specific solutions to these problems.