Why You Should Focus Seriously On Content Strategy

Let’s be honest. No one is going to ask you about your content strategy when you need a website right? I mean, what’s that all about?

If there’s a sort of last frontier secret, Content has to be it.

But what is Content really? Is it the words in your website? Is it the captions underneath your photos? Is it the headlines or even the page titles to tempt the search engines?

Actually, it’s all this and more.

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Content First Actually

Content drives Design. It’s not just for websites. It applies to brochures, flyers, banners and anything that serves to communicate your message to your audience.

When we say Content drives Design, it means we plan for content first before we even start on the design of a website. We plan for the content so that it makes sense when users use the website. It’s not disjointed or hastily put together. Content flows seamlessly and users will find it such a pleasure to read and navigate.

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The Problem Here Is…

Unfortunately in Malaysia, it is usually Design that vetoes everything else. And that is where things start getting problematic.

That’s when you get a website that contains lots of “lorem ipsum” – that’s blank text which should be taken out and filled with proper text. But most designers (web and graphic) are so anti-text and so freaking scared of reams and reams of words that they just leave the “lorem ipsum” text there, waiting for the copywriter on their team to fill up the empty page with something. Anything. Even writing that looks like it ought to be banished forever in some dungeon.

When the website is finally completed, they either hand it over to their client or they help their client maintain the website. All fine and dandy until you realize that both parties have no clue what they need to do next.

This is where Content Strategy is needed.

This is where most websites falter because the Content Strategy comes at the planning stage. If the web designer has not seriously thought about planning and information structure (and this entails understanding what should go into a website now and in the future with a serious eye on Marketing), the website is as good as a hovel that cannot be built upon.

What is seriously needed is not only planning content for the present website but also planning how the future content can be accommodated.

When your website does not have a Content Strategy, it either means you have no content or you couldn’t be bothered with any strategy.

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The Bad News If You Want To Hear It

Which really is bad news for you if that’s your take. The online world is very serious about content, and if the content is yours to begin with, that’s great. But if you have no content, no updates or if your updates are so trivial that it makes no sense EVEN to your own customers, then it is no wonder that your website is not turning up in search engine results.

But let’s just say your website has done time and it does turn up in the first page of Google. When the prospect lands on your website, your content reads badly, is dead boring, isn’t even appealing and looks really untrustworthy. Do you think that person will take the risk to contact you?

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What Happens If You Are Serious About Content?

So what’s the reverse? What’s the happy scenario?

When you are serious about your content, it means your website is updated with the right content that benefits your customers and is written in a refreshing way. You get personality in the website. The content that you read is something that’s relevant to you (as a customer) – it could be tips, how-tos, product use demos. It could be informing you of what’s inside the product – for instance, the ingredients which you’ve often wondered about.

Content isn’t just about words. How about sharing photos with proper captions so readers know what they’re looking at or whom they’re looking at?

How about videos related to your products or business? In the same manner, how about blog posts, Facebook status updates and Twitter tweets which provide value to your customers and prospects?

How about re-purposing content across different platforms? If you’ve written a blog post, turn it into a series of tweets. Or turn it into a presentation you can share with your customers.

How else can you share content (which you’ve created)? Can you podcast?

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Not Everything, Just The Best Bits Only Please

Having a strategy also means you know when to distribute content and why. Stop yourself from broadcasting – that will turn off your customers anyway. Instead, look at your content and curate – pick and choose the best of the best – to present to your customers in a way that will delight and surprise them.

If you promote across multiple channels – these days it is common to have a website, a Facebook page and even a Twitter account – your strategy should involve leading interested people back to your one and only content hub – your website. Many people forget that Facebook doesn’t belong to them; it changes its policies and page layouts ever so often. What you should do is use Facebook or whatever new social media as a channel that leads interested folks back to your website – this is the one serious piece of online real estate that is yours and yours for life.

So you see, if you don’t have a content strategy for your website, you won’t get where you want to. Every new marketing technique is worth a try.

When you have a content strategy for your website, you will know what is worth doing and why. Your goal then is to create lots of premium quality content which you can use to start conversations with your prospects.

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