Web Content Strategy IV: Substance
By: Daniel Jeffers - Search Engine Optimization - 2013
Everything is content? What about design? Yes, it’s content. Structure? Content. Metadata? Also content. You probably expected a more incisive analysis than that. Well, how about, “Literally, everything is content.”
Rachel Lovinger - Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data
What is the recipe for good content? There is no absolute, but there are some filters that will at least help remove the questionable substances from the system, just possibly, it could help find the good stuff.
If there were a rule, it might say something like: “The substance of your web content should meet the goals expressed in your core content strategy.” The problem is that many people will acknowledge this rule, perhaps add it to a powerpoint slide, then completely ignore it while making actual decisions.
These are very brief descriptions of some of the critical steps in the decision path for content.
Who is the audience?
If your answer is everybody, the general public, or “people who are trying to reach us,” you have not embraced the question. Narrowing down, refining, understanding, and ranking your key audiences will open the door to clarity. Knowing that you primarily need to reach the kitchen enthusiast who makes purchase decisions in a middle-income family with children is a lot better than believing that any website visitor might potentially purchase a food processor.
What is your message?
There is some central message you want to give your visitors, something that is important to you and to your key audience. Something that will enable the action you are hoping the visitor will undertake. A key message might take the form “We are highly trusted by professionals in your field.”
What should we talk about?
Though the number of key messages should be few, there could be many topics for discussion. What is important at this point is to group these topics together and provide a rationale for each.
Why are we talking about it?
Any topic of discussion needs to have some purpose that is related to the target audience and the core strategy.
This is just an overview, of course. Future newsletter issues and/or blog posts may go into much more detail on each of these. Next week we’ll move on to the structure of content.