Content Strategy

What is content strategy, and why does it matter?

Toward the end of 2013 I received an email from someone who said her company's website needed some "wordsmithing" (her word). Their new site had been live for about four months. They loved the look and the SEO, and they loved how well the page ranked in various search engines. The problem was that, after all the time, analytics and money, the site wasn't actually creating new business.

Let me say that again a little differently: their great ranking site was not working as a sales tool.

The reason the site wasn't working seemed pretty simple and straightforward to me: everything skewed too far on the analytics side. The site had literally been built to generate good stats. As far as the content was concerned (copy, images, navigation, etc.) things were a mess. Users who found their way their via organic searches or targeted PPC ads arrived and quickly lost their way. And it wasn't that the copy was "bad." It was something bigger than that. The entire flow was off.

The site had literally been built to generate good stats. As far as the content was concerned (copy, images, navigation, etc.) things were a mess.

Ask important questions before launching content strategy, such as:

  • What is the essential information this site must display?
  • How must this information flow?

How would you like users to engage with key information across multiple platforms?

  • What does the intended flow feel like against the concept of narrative structure?
  • Will the narrative structure lead people deeper into the site, and encourage/inspire them to make a sales decision?

My revision process took about three months, and involved a complete re-ordering and new navigation (structure first). Then we redid the copy--adding more here, cutting some there, giving the voice a personal touch.

Three months after the project ended (six-months since the initial inquiry) the client reached out and shared the following three things: 1) analytically speaking, the site was performing better; 2) sales-wise, the site was actually bringing in business; and 3) internally, management was happy.

What's the best way to make the people who sign the checks happy with a website? Spend time on the UX and content strategy BEFORE you get lost in anything else.

There's a reason the phrase "content is king" is part of our lexicon. Content IS king, and content strategy is the king's blueprint.

Interestingly, this whole page is dedicated to content strategy for websites only. The bigger picture of content strategy is a much hairier beast that involves your social channels, digital marketing, email, blogs, newsletter...the works. The reason I focused on websites is because your site should be your hub for your larger content strategy.


Bottom line (I promise): start with content strategy and UX. They go hand-in-hand, and serve as the What? Why? and How? of your equation.
There's a reason the phrase "content is king" is part of our lexicon. Content IS king, and content strategy is the king's blueprint.