So I finally get content strategy

Amber Wolff, VP Programming

Content strategy has been a hot topic in marketing as of late, and quite honestly it can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t understand the basics. First, you should know that content strategy and content planning apply to many aspects of marketing, but are rooted in the web.

Content planning is a process used for organization all of the content and putting it into an information architecture. Web users, in particular, have certain expectations of where content can be found on a site so having a good plan in place will save a lot of headaches in the long run.

Content strategy takes that one step further and plans for the creation, publication, maintenance and oversight of useful, usable brand content. Here’s a fairly brief overview of content strategy for the web to get you started:

When you begin your content strategy process, you’ll want to ask questions like “who is our audience?”; “what information are they looking for on the site?”; “what do they need to be able to do?” Once you have those high-level questions answered you can move on to examining your current website. Make sure that every piece of content you are presenting serves a purpose to your audience, if it doesn’t then it probably needs to go. Next you’ll need to determine what types of new content need created. A simple site map can help be your blueprint for this.

After you have a site map in place and have established what type of content you need, you’ll need to determine who is going to be responsible for producing it. This should be a cross-departmental function and not just something that lives with one person. And remember that maintenance of your content is important; you don’t want to build a great new website and then not updated any of the content for 3 years, that’s not serving it’s purpose to your audience.  To that end, you should also have a governance structure in place to ensure that brand standards are being met and that content isn’t becoming out of date.

It’s taken me a while to fully grasp the concept of content strategy. Having a plan definitely helps cut down on the confusion and provides some much needed direction. If you want to learn more about content strategy, I’m excited to announce that we have Ann Handley coming to speaker to our chapter on June 12, 2014. Registration for this event will be open soon, so be sure to check back at lincolnama.com/events.

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