Web Content Strategy III: The Core
By: Daniel Jeffers - Search Engine Optimization - 2013
Thinking about web content strategy creates anxiety. We know we need it; we have a concept of what it is. But we’re never sure. Maybe it’s already done, maybe we have it all in our head. If we let it out, will we be criticized? Will any work we put into it end up on the shelf?
Halverson’s diagram divides web content strategy into several manageable regions. Four of these are more concrete, taking away some of our anxiety. But when we look more closely, the anxiety and uncertainty is still there, even more concentrated. Because, even though the outer parts of the circle are now defined, we now have a denser region of uncertainty, a region that Halverson describes as The Core.
Now we have no choice. To save our web content, we must plunge ourselves into the core and hope we can find the key to an effective strategy.
Because you have to start somewhere. The focus of a web content strategy should always be on achieving your business goals. That may seem obvious, but many times we end up expecting websites to do what we see other websites doing, without considering whether that matches our primary business objectives.
Pull together whatever value statements, business strategy documents, mission statements, and vision documents you have. Ask stakeholders to articulate what the point of the business really is. Nail all this down into a short statement that will remain at the center of all further content strategy discussion.
Set aside all pre-conceptions about what websites are supposed to do, and think about how the business goals, articulated above, could be translated into digital goals. This can be done through brainstorming sessions, stakeholder interviews, user surveys, etc. Find out what needs are out there that could be met with web content.
Feel free to collect all kinds of tactical approaches, but remember to step away and review what these tactics are really trying to accomplish. Tactics should not be part of the core strategy, as tactics will change.
In only a few pages, try to describe a strategy that focuses on the ultimate business goal, aspires to move the organization forward, allows for changes in personnel and technology, and encompasses the full scope of web content channels as well as all stakeholders in the business. The strategy should:
· Describe what the content is trying to accomplish
· Explain what the content itself might look like
· Map out the ways in which the organization will need to support the content process
The team at Brain Traffic recommends the use of a core strategy statement. This is a single sentence, with annotations, that expresses a focused vision. Once a core strategy statement is in place, all content development can be measured against it. As an example, this is the current core strategy statement for Bolt Digital Strategies:
Demonstrate expertise, competence, and exciting possibility on an ongoing basis to potential clients, referrers, and peers.
Or, Call Me, Maybe
The core element of web content strategy is critical to the long term success of your organization. If you don’t want to tackle it alone, please contact me and we can take it on together.