3 Tips for a Content Strategy that Delivers

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing, Digital

  • Date:

    April 27, 2016

3 Tips for a Content Strategy that Delivers

Content Marketing

Lucas WeberContent Strategist Lucas Weber provides strategic oversight for digital platform projects. He specializes in ensuring all efforts align with clients’ overall goals and utilize SEO best practices. He also has extensive experience defining strategies for developing, sourcing, managing and distributing compelling and well-organized content based on a thorough understanding of clients’ goals, user needs and industry best practices.

Today’s consumers want more than ever before. They demand compelling and engaging digital experiences, and they have little patience for websites that don’t meet their lofty expectations. 

One of the driving forces behind meeting these user expectations is leading with a thoughtful content strategy. As you begin creating a platform and planning for the experience you want to provide, it’s more important than ever to map out a clear path forward. By taking the time to understand your content’s goals, target audiences, format and organization, you will make smarter decisions regarding the information architecture, visual design and overall platform strategy.

Below are several tips to ensure that your content strategy helps you meet and exceed those consumer expectations.

Start with Clear Goals 

Before you start doing anything, it’s essential to define your overall goals. What are you hoping to achieve with your platform? Are you hoping to increase brand awareness? Do you want to increase conversions and get more customers? 

By taking a step back and defining your goals, you can create guideposts for all of your efforts. As you begin making decisions about what content to provide on your platform and how to present it, you can constantly check it against those goals and ask yourself whether your efforts can be mapped directly to one of your goals. 

Let’s use a rug manufacturer’s platform as an example. Imagine that the rug manufacturer wants to focus on hero images of rugs and not worry about headlines. But what if the manufacturer’s goal is to emphasize that it provides the industry’s most affordable rugs? In this case, hero images do not align with the goal. A better option would be to include headlines that immediately highlight low prices and use prominent calls-to-action that provide users with a clear path to learn more.

Compile a Content Inventory

It’s also important to compile a content inventory before you begin determining what content will live on the platform and developing the overall design direction.

If approached correctly, a content inventory is an exceptionally powerful tool. Beyond the basic assessment of a website’s content quantity and quality, they provide a clear understanding of an information space, facilitate strategic conversations, and uncover substantive insights that directly influence design direction and strategy.

A content inventory can also help you determine priorities. Knowing what content is currently on the site, why it’s there and how often it's actually being used, is essential to understanding priorities. For example, if there are certain pieces of content on the site that are considered high value but, upon conducting a content inventory, you discover that there is very little traffic going to those pieces of content, you’ve uncovered an issue. You would need to determine the cause of the disconnect — either your target audience research has missed the mark, or your navigation is organized in a way that makes it difficult for users to find that content.

Content inventories can also:

  • Give you a clear understanding of what you currently have and where it lives.
  • Serve as a reference for source content during future content development.
  • Assess content needs and identify gaps.

Make the User’s Life Easier

If you’re creating a platform, you should always try to make the user’s life easier. 

When a user lands on your platform, you ultimately want him or her to take a specific action. That may be to add one of your products to a cart and purchase it, it may be to fill out a contact form, or it may be to pick up the phone and call you. Regardless of the desired action, you want to make it as easy as possible for the user to complete it.

This could mean that you: 

  • Clear as many barriers to completion as possible. If you want the user to submit a contact form, you should remove any unnecessary fields and minimize the steps required to submit that form.
  • Lead with the most important information. If you have thoroughly researched your target audiences and understand the information they are looking for, make it easy for them to find it. Avoid burying the important information deep inside your platform with the expectation that they will be willing to dig for it. Research has shown that users aren’t willing to dig for it.
  • Make the navigation intuitive. Users want websites that are easy to use. In fact, about 76 percent of consumers say the most important factor in a website’s design is “the website makes it easy for me to find what I want.” Armed with a deep understanding of your target audiences, you should have a clear vision of how they will use your platform and help facilitate that use.

Today’s consumers have lofty expectations, but this gives brands a tremendous opportunity. While reaching your target audience requires a significant investment, those users are more accessible and willing to connect than ever before. Leading your digital efforts with a thoughtful content strategy can ensure that your brand is taking advantage of this great opportunity.

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