What Is Content Strategy For the Web?
Content strategy is about managing any media you create and own. It could be anything- written, visual, downloadable, just anything! It talks about the marketing plan you wish to demonstrate and what you wish to contribute to your industry. Content strategy for the web is not so different.
We all know how important content creation is for the growth of the business. What we must realize is that Content strategy for the web also needs to have a well-planned purpose. To be able to develop a web content strategy, you need to consider a lot of things, like:
The target of your content: Who and how many people are you intending to target with the content? A business may have more than one customer, the same goes for the content strategy for the web- it should be able to cater to more than one type of probable customer. Having a variety of content types and mediums ensures that you create content based on the audience type. This way you reach a wider customer base.
What it is offering the audience: Your business is offering a product or service that would benefit the audience. You may have to begin by making them identify the problem. And then make them understand the benefits and solutions you are offering.
What’s special about your product or service: The market is flooded with products. Also true that your product or service is likely to have existing competitors. So what is it that makes the audience choose you over the competitor? What makes you better or leastwise different? Here is where your content can come to your company’s rescue. Your content should be able to prove why your company’s product/ service is worth choosing over the others.
Formats: Content can be placed in front of your audience in a wide variety of forms. Videos, blogs, podcasts, emails, social media posts, and so on. So the content strategy for the web is also about deciding on the format you wish to choose.
Channels: Just like content can be in different formats, so can the channels where they get published. Channels could be websites, blogs, social networking forums like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, print media, and so on.
Creation and publication: Even after you decide on a lot of things, the final hurdle is about deciding on the creation, and the publication process can prove to be a daunting task. It’s vital for a content strategy to clearly chalk out who’s creating what, the channel it is being published on, and the time frame of its going live.
Why Do You Need A Content Marketing Strategy?
1. To ensure that Google responds well to your content. Google is more probable to respond well to a company creating valuable, unique and engaging original content. Good informative content with optimization techniques ensures further engagement of your search results. Google has laid down quality guidelines on how this can be done.
2. Content with a focused marketing strategy ensures that your target audience comes back and not just stops at a one-time visit. A focus strategy ensures a genuine yet authoritative relationship with your target audience.
3. When you provide people with more informative content and not just affiliate-driven sales pieces, it adds multi-fold to the value of your company. As per Moz/Sumo, a general blog should have an average of 2000 words. With anything under 1000 words, the search results are sure to be impacted. And in this number game, the quality of material definitely remains the superlative requirement.
4. Competition is another reason to have a sound Content strategy for the web. Not being able to keep up with your competition is sure to have dire consequences. Today more than 50% of marketers produce minimum one new content each day. Therefore you mustn’t fall behind- both in number and quality.
Types of Content strategy for the web
There are many different types of content strategies. content could be in the form of Blogging, Email, Video, Slideshare presentations, Whitepapers, Podcasting, Visual content, Infographics, EBooks, Case studies, Social media posts, Lead magnets, Webinars, Quizzes/tools, Landing page copy, Email marketing copy, checklists, courses and may more.
Primary Concepts of Content Strategy For The Web
The ultimate goal of content strategy for the web is:
· To achieve user expectations
· To meet the objectives of the business
Let us understand the things we need to know to be able to meet them.
1. Content strategy is about teamwork
It is often said, “Content is king”. But it is equally true that content alone isn’t enough. Content needs partners that it needs to consult to be able to make a good content strategy for the web. Peer disciplines to consider while planning a content strategy for the web include copywriting, marketing, user experience, development, designing, user experience, SEO, business stakeholders, information architecture, PR and brand building, and business stakeholders.
Yes, that’s too many things! So to be able to get a perfect balance is a difficult thing to achieve, for any firm big or small. But with proper planning, brainstorming, and a holistic approach, it can be achieved.
Conclusively: A worthy content strategy can only be achieved when it is in coordination with all peer-disciplines.
2. Content and people that create content
Not only the content strategy but also the people component of the content strategy is equally vital. According to the co-author of “Content Strategy for the Web”, Halvorson, we need to keep both the workflow and governance factors in mind when creating a content strategy. She is also one of the web’s first content strategists. She developed a content strategy framework “The Quad”. It has 2 aspects – the content components and people components. Content components comprise of substance and structure. The substance is all about topics, style, tone, the message to communicate. The structure is about prioritizing and breaking up the content.
People components comprise workflow and governance. Workflow encompasses processes, tools, and resources. Governance is about consistency, integrity, and quality.
Conclusively: Both content and people that create the content are equally vital for being able to meet users’ expectations and business objectives.
3. Matching writing level to the audience’s literacy level
Research has proved that people with low literacy levels find it difficult to perform even basic tasks on websites when the web site’s content is written with higher literacy level people in mind. And that people complete the task faster and with lesser frustration if the content was at a lower literacy level. Also found in the research is that even users with high literacy levels would also score quite better on websites with lower literacy levels!
Conclusively: Always keep the website language simple and clear.
4. The Five W’s (and H)
Ensure that your Content strategy for the web can answer the 5 W’s and one H.
- Why– Why is this project required? Be aware of the business case and objectives.
- What – What is the message you wish to deliver?
- Who – Who is the audience you are targeting?
- Where – Where do you intend to display the message- the location, the type of device and the context?
- How – How should the content be offered and designed?
- When – Timing of creating and publishing the content.
Conclusively: The above 6 questions prove to be a good checklist for your content.
5. Voice and tone of the content
Voice and tone are two supremely vital tools for a content strategist. A brand must maintain its voice consistently across all content. On the other hand, the tone should adapt based on the content.
Conclusively: The perfect blend of voice and tone enhances the user experience and helps in strengthening the brand image.
6. The time of SEO has gone
It has become a notion that SEO is dead. It is getting tougher to find yourself on top of page 1. “Black Hat” SEO diplomacies are no more going to do any good for you. But this does not mean SEO is dead. It only means White Hat SEO and inbound marketing are emerging. SEO should still remain as the core part of a content strategy. But avoid any known SEO tricks and stick to Google’s quality guidelines.
Conclusively: SEO isn’t dead. Every content strategy for the web is required to adopt SEO best practices to remain effective.
7. Break content into chunks
It is vital that any content you display online should be broken into smaller chunks. Also, remember that a desktop version or a page is different from the mobile version.
Conclusively: Structuring content into smaller chunks is important. Also important to consider how content would vary across different devices.
8. Ensure metadata guidelines are followed
Metadata is a set of programming guidelines. Following such guidelines ensures that search engines better understand the content on a webpage. It would also ensure that search engines like Yahoo and Google fetch rich content to a search query and your content stands out from the crowd.
Conclusively: Metadata ensures your content achieves wider visibility in search results and gives a richer user experience.
9. Ensure to embrace web standards (and HTML5)
Web standards are generally accepted and follow best practices for building websites. This would ensure that your content would get displayed consistently across all browsers be it a mobile or desktop, be it an old and new medium. It also ensures better rankings by search engines.
Conclusively: Web standards and HTML5 ensure better visibility in search engines and consistency across all browsers.
10. Build platforms that let users express their stories
A good strategy is to ensure that the most important content on your website is your users’ content. Today, the most visited websites are of reading/write nature. On websites like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube users cannot only add their own content but also view and engage with content from other users’ as well. Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Tumblr, ExpressionEngine, Weebly, and Yola are some Blogging and CMS platforms on which creating and sharing content is very easy.
Conclusively: Users’ stories are more essential than your own.
Content Strategy Tips That Increases Conversions
To be able to build your online brand reputation is not possible without content marketing. This is how you can ensure your content marketing strategy would increase your conversions.
Get to know the target audience
Have a fair idea of your target customer’s habits, preferences, and needs. This would help you understand the type of content that gels with them, the mediums of communication they prefer and their buying patterns and habits. all this would help you in creating your strategy.
Deep data analysis
Next, gather and analyze data related to your website, compare it with existing content on the web.
Creating the correct content
Now that you have all the required data, it is time you create the content strictly based on your findings.
Setting up the content delivery network
The time and network of content delivery are equally important. Only then a right content would be able to generate a better impact.
Regular performance measurement is important to know if your strategy is working effectively.
Content strategy creation is not a set-it-and-forget-it task. It requires continuous upgrading based on market patterns.
What Content Strategy Is Not
All said and done, let us understand what cannot be called content strategy
- Copywriting: Content strategy is not about copywriting. Even very good writing cannot encompass content strategy on its own. It is actually the other way round. Good writing is a result of a well thought content strategy. Such writing is well researched, includes your goals, follows the content guidelines and has a defined structure. Also understand, the term writing here encompasses video, tweet, etc.
- Content marketing: Content strategy and content marketing are two different things. Making a complete calendar that specifies dates of different blog posts cannot be termed as a strategy. A perfectly planned date schedule blog posts could also go wrong and become chaotic. Content strategy can surely help content marketing efforts succeed, but they are not one and the same.
- Digital Strategy: Content strategy is something much wider than a digital strategy. It also includes a host of other things like platform decisions, marketing efforts, and technological factors.
Content provides information. The content of your website serves as an educational tool, both for probable clients and search engines. Ensuring the content your display on your website is accurate and clearly depicts your business purpose is very important. Be it to provide information, offer a service, or sell a product. It is vital that users find the information they are looking for in a clear and easy way. This is where formulating a clear, crisp and long term content strategy comes into the picture. It would ensure that the users stay on your website, get inspired to buy your product/ service leading to increased conversions.