Content Strategy for the Web

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If you’re accountable for creating content for marketing and sales I encourage you to immediately get copies of Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy for the Web for everyone on your team.

Content Strategy for the webThere are many parallels and insights that apply to building non-website content. The core premise, that organizations must take a strategic approach to building content and think of content as important business assets, applies to content created for lead generation and nurturing programs, sales enablement and customer communications.

The following are a few key excerpts from the book:

“Only when we embrace our identities as publishers will we be able to commit to the necessary infrastructure to care for our content as a strategic business asset.

For years, we’ve been spending millions of dollars on strategy and research, user experience design, visual design, and technical platforms. In other words, we’ve invested in everything we need to build the online vehicles for our content.

And yet, strangely, it’s the content that gets left until the last minute. It’s the main reason projects are delayed or even abandoned. It’s an afterthought, a nuisance.

Why? Because most of us haven’t yet realized that we’re actually in the publishing business.

Publishers plan far in advance which content they will create. They have established, measurable processes in place. They invest in teams of professionals to create and care for content.

Creating useful, usable content requires user research, strategic planning, meaningful metadata, web writing skills, and editorial oversight. It requires people. With experience. And insights. And judgment. It requires planning. And input. And time. And money.

It will not happen automatically.

Content strategy is the practice of planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content. A strategy is a carefully considered, well-articulated plan of action, achievable and executable. It’s a roadmap that gets us from where we are now to where we want to be.

Until we commit to treating content as a critical asset worthy of strategic planning and meaningful spend, we’ll continue to churn out worthless content in reaction to unmeasured requests. We’ll keep signing up for online content initiatives without pausing to ask why. Our customers still won’t find what they’re looking for. And we’ll keep failing to deliver useful, usable content that people actually care about.

Content strategy will help you deliver content that inspires trust. Drives action. Builds loyalty. On time. On budget.”

Elements of strategy include:

  • Online messaging and branding
  • Information architecture
  • Editorial strategy
  • Web writing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Metadata strategy
  • Content management strategy
  • Content channel distribution strategy

Three steps to content strategy

  1. Content audit
  2. Analysis
  3. Strategy

Content Strategy Deliverables

  • Message map
  • Content inventory
  • Gap analysis
  • Site map
  • Page tables
  • Content template map
  • Editorial strategy
  • Content style guide
  • Editorial workflow diagram
  • Content management system architecture
  • Metadata framework
  • Taxonomy
  • Content flow schematic
  • Content model
  • Content quality assurance tools
  • Content production schedule
  • Competitor content audit
  • Content migration plan
  • Content licensing evaluation report

My company, Avitage, provides content strategy servicesfor content marketing initiatives, with unique approaches to rich media and video content.

Over the next few week’s I’ll delve into the application of a strategic framework for publishing content that is not targeted for website delivery.