Content strategy is absolutely key in online marketing and a subject that deserves a lot of attention. If you have no strategy for your content, your site is doomed from the start.  The web is full of stagnating brochure sites that fail in the sense of visitor numbers and user experience.  Your website, and your business, deserve much better than that.

Content strategy is about a plan of action setting out how to develop and maintain content which goes on your site.  Many businesses approach website designers with a cry of “we need a website” but thinking that little or no work is required once the site goes live.  However, a good website is an evolving relationship between business and consumer and it’s important that your content strategy reflects that.  If new visitors to your site see pages that are clearly months or years old, or repeat visitors see content they have seen several times before, they will soon lose interest and go elsewhere.

Lead with Content not Design

A website is only as good as its content.  The fanciest design, coolest navigation and pleasing use of colours will never make up for poor content.  It therefore makes sense to place equal, if not more, importance on content right from the start of any web project.  Ask yourself “what do my customers want to know about us, about our products and services, what can we tell them that will convince them to do business with us and not our competitor ?”.

Identify your Tone

Before you start to develop your content think you should think about the ‘tone’ that your business takes with it’s customers. Are you a friendly brand that needs to keep things light and fluffy?  Or do you need to reflect the professional corporate image that your existing marketing material has taken?

Define Key Themes and Subtopics

Once your website is live, it is vital that the search engines find it and rank it high in their results pages. This topic of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is huge and countless articles and books have been written on it.  However, the foundation of good SEO is good use of keywords.  Keywords are the words and phrases that your customers might use when using a search engine and you need to research what these are.  Your web designer will include these within the code, and equally importantly, you need to ensure those keywords are used within the text on your website pages.

The more the keywords appear, the better the search engine will understand the subject of your site.  For example, a website devoted to purple parrots has the words ‘purple parrot’ mentioned many times within its pages.  When someone uses the term ‘purple parrot’ in a search engine, this website should feature highly within the search results.

There are a variety of seo keyword tools available online free of charge to really drill down and examine what keywords are going to get you the best results.

Make it evergreen

Search engines want to show their users the most relevant sites for the criteria being used. Keywords help to identify a website’s subject but if the site’s content remains unchanged the search engine’s computers will consider the site is old and out of date and less relevant than other sites that are updated regularly.  That’s not to say every page of your site needs rewriting every week, there is no harm in evergreen content.

Evergreen content stays relevant long after it has been written. You should be thinking about what sort of articles will stand the test of time and attract visitors.  Evergreen content takes time to create but will form a good starting point for the rest of the content.

Other types of content you might consider are How To articles, technical articles which teach your visitors something new or just plain old resources and freebies.