Content is what makes up your website – content IS your website. Therefore, you have to make sure that every single piece of content that exists on your site is useful. We\’ve already explored how ‘content is king’ and how you can make it work for you on social media, but, what if you are re-vamping your entire website or creating brand new website content? Where do you start with your content marketing strategy?
The reason you need a content marketing strategy in the first place is because you want your content to be useful. If Information Architecture (the structure of your website) helps us say “where” content lives, a content marketing strategy tells us decide “when” it lives. This combination lets us know why this content exists.
Assess Your Content
If your website already exists, these are key steps you can take to see whether a content audit is necessary:
- Inventory: Demonstrate magnitude and complexity of the existing content.
- Best Practice Assessment: Prioritize content efforts by identifying low quality content and gaps.
- Strategic Assessment: Measure content against strategic user and business goals. What needs to change? How do we get there?
5 Step Inventory Process
- Identify your user and business goals.
- Make a list of the pages on your site in an Excel/Google document.
- Map the hierarchy of these pages using an online system like Balsamiq.
- Map your user goals that are met on the hierarchy map.
- Identify excessive content (pages or elements that don’t meet a goal)
How can we use personas as part of the content marketing strategy to create user driven content?
Whether you’re undergoing a content audit or creating content from scratch, personas enable us to map user goals against business goals. The user goals help us best understand what users want and need. We can then prioritize these goals and then this will take shape to create a better or a new Information Architecture.
Hold a workshop and use post it notes to write out all your goals. See which goals align with each other, can these form pages? This will help you create your content.
Cancer Research UK – New Content Creation
When creating a BBQ for Cancer Research UK, it was vitally important to refer to business and user goals at each step in the process. This process meant that we avoided excessive and duplicate content and that everything created for the page was completely necessary for the user.
Cancer Research UK – Content Audit Process
Sometimes re-evaluating content can be much harder than creating content from scratch. This is because they’re needs to be a thorough assessment of the content that already exists. Why is it there in the first place? What goals does it currently meet? Is it duplicated elsewhere on the site? Is the content fluffy or excessive?
At Cancer Research UK we often come across problems with old site content because it has been written by people with a publishing background. Print is very different to digital in that it cannot be as easily reiterated. Also, people who read on screen, read in a very different pattern to people reading offline.
Research proves that readers skim content online. Therefore, it is forever more important to prioritize what is important on a page and how you can highlight this to your reader. At Cancer Research UK, we use headers, bold text and bullet points to deliver effective information in a digestible way. Therefore, the challenge we often face during the audit process is breaking down reams of unnecessary content to make it useful and coherent to our audiences.
The Content Lifecycle
Content, just like the websites they inhabit, are living, changing things. When strategists seek to assess and improve the quality of a website’s content, they typically follow a four-part process. Content should be a circular process. Once created, it should be revisited and updated. Not only is this good for SEO but it ensures that your content is always the most valuable to your audience.
Whether your website is stale and in need of a content audit or you need to create content from scratch, make sure you have a good strategy behind what you’re creating.
Once you have either audited or written your content from scratch, you shouldn\’t leave it to go stale. As an editor, part of your work is to update, rework and revisit. Content is thought of as circular because it isn\’t ever complete and it changes with the times. Not only will revisiting content ensure that you are always appealing to your users but it will also make sure that you’re meeting user goals and continually improving your SEO.
Start your content life-cycle today, whether it is auditing, creating or improving.