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Why Content Strategy is Critical

As a freelance writer, I largely create content for websites. Sometimes this comes in the form of a complete re-write to replace dusty content, or it can be brand spanking new copy-writing. I have learned bucket loads over the past couple of years about effective content, and why having a content strategy is so important. Grabbed your interest? Well keep reading.

Why Content Strategy is Critical

What is a content strategy?

Content strategy is the planning of content, whether it is copy, video or imagery, designed to achieve certain milestones or an overall objective. Content Strategy is very important in the early stages of building a new website. Having a sense of purpose in place at this critical stage, gives you something to work towards. So how do you begin to create a content strategy, and even more important, how do you implement it?

Tips for creating your strategy

First things first, answer these questions –

  • What is the purpose of your website?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are your target audience interested in?
  • Are your audience a specific age group? (Very important, and I will get into it a bit later!)
  • What would you like to achieve in six months, a year?

The answers to the above questions (this list is only a snippet of potential things to examine) gives you some clear goals. With goals comes clarity. The biggest mistake for poor content strategy is essentially the lack of any real objectives. Often, the concern around a new website is primarily geared towards the aesthetics of it, which is important to a degree, but can also be detrimental if the goals are not clearly set out at the beginning. An example is a car insurance company setting up a nifty on trend website, with lots of techie jewels.

Examining your target age group is essential to the creation of a good strategyClick To Tweet

Sure, this website is going to be very attractive to their younger drivers (I am generalizing people!) but what about the older segment of their target market? Perhaps the site is set out in such a complex manner that it is not navigable for the more seasoned dudes. Bye bye over 65’s! This company could essentially lose a slice of the pie by not considering ALL their customer needs.  Therefore, examining your target age group is essential to the creation of a good strategy.

Revisit

On reflection of your analytical data, it is now a good time to re-visit your initial strategy and assess where you could potentially improve, and HOW you can improve.

Testing

You will of course have to conduct a bit of testing. NEVER go live with a new website before asking a selection of people to try it out. For bigger companies, conducting market research is a handy way to obtain valuable information about how effective their content strategy is. Participants are generally asked to navigate their way through a website and comment on their likes and dislikes. Everything from web layout, content and branding are scrutinised, and this type of engagement with the public is generally an excellent source of truth (particularly when they get paid for their time!)

Another fundamental reason for engaging others to test your site, and in turn your content, is that you are getting a true opinion. It is normal to feel protective over your own work, and feel you know what will work best for your website. Truth is though, it’s not you that will be using it. It is your audience, the audience that you hope to build. So, bottom line is you need to think about your target market needs and not your own.

Implementation of your Strategy

Implementation of your strategy probably seems simple enough, right? Essentially you need to put into place what you have planned to put into place? In theory, yes but the work doesn’t stop there. Nothing in life is that simple. Learn this – content strategy is going to be an ongoing project. You should never stop strategizing. Continuous testing and improvement is critical. Solo how do you improve? Easy! You need to have tools to measure your progress. This is where a great analytics platform comes into play. You can measure your actual traffic against your projected, your most popular source of traffic, average time spent on page. The list goes on.

Revisit

On reflection of your analytical data, it is now a good time to re-visit your initial strategy and assess where you could potentially improve, and HOW you can improve.

Share with us your tips for your content strategy process? Is there something important that you include that we have missed? Let us know – we love to chat!


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