Planning and Creating Successful Website Content
Content is the driving force for traffic on any website and quality matters now more than ever. It’s no longer enough to have a lot of content to ensure you get a good ranking on Google though don’t mistake that to mean bare minimum content is the way to go. As the process of rankings has evolved, websites need to consider both quantity and quality for their content. Having a lot of content will certainly be part of what gets a page on Google’s radar while the quality attracts and retains users. All of this serves as the movement for a well-designed website that is utilizing excellent UX, consistent marketing, and good branding. Check out this post on the traits that make up an effective website for more info on those items.
Content strategy is the management of anything you create for yourself or your company. The items you create can be written, visual, downloadable, and whatever else you can think of. Every piece of content associated with your company should have a purpose, just as everything you do in person should support a short or long term goal for growth. Taking a step back and asking, “Why is this being created? Who are we attracting and serving with this?” is content strategy in action!
Content strategy has become more important as algorithms have become common knowledge and are changing constantly. Algorithms are quickly becoming a normal part of our daily language, from jokes about the algorithm hiding our family member’s cringey posts to small businesses wondering why their website hasn’t gotten as much traffic in the last 6 months. Some have thought if they start pushing out double the amount of content they published previously it will get them back on top. But marketing experts have found the quality wins over quantity and that’s where content strategy comes in. Content strategy focuses on the development and creation of exceptional content.
So does everyone do content strategy? You can use this guide, as well as our content-focused blog posts, to figure out your own content strategy or you can hire a content strategist. A Content Strategist is the person who leads the mission and examines why the content is being created, who it serves, and how to do it best. If you go through an agency for content strategy they will take a deep dive into your business identity, the clients you serve, and help you understand how to communicate with that ideal client. They will often create a content strategy and guide for how your content should be written(and why). This is helpful if, as your business grows, you need more content in the future and your content strategist will not be writing the copy. It keeps the language and feel of content cohesive, so the audience doesn’t feel like writing styles are completely different throughout the copy on your website or in promotional materials.
Read more about the algorithms and importance of content strategy in our post, What Is Content Strategy and Do I Need It?
So we know great content is necessary for any website to thrive, how do we get it? We plan it! Whether your goal is to update existing content or you’re creating a website and need new content, this is the best starting point. It’s common for website projects to focus on design because clients want to see what the actual website is going to look like and the design process is exciting. We have found that getting content finalized before starting design makes for a more efficient timeline. Your designer will have an advantage by knowing exactly what content their design will display and the result is a better website.
Everything your business does is for an audience- you provide services they need. So the first steps in content strategy are to research your audience and define the problems you solve for them. By researching who uses your services you will gain a deeper understanding of what your ideal client looks like. In this step you will build a profile of your ideal client and it should include their education level, job title, family dynamic, sources of stress, their values, and fears. You are looking to build trust and effective communication through a screen the same way you would in a face-to-face conversation, but much quicker. Identifying these characteristics is also known as identifying the “buyer persona.”
The buyer persona and buyer journey are helpful for planning content that will not only reach the right people, but reach those people at the right time. The characteristics we discussed above build your buyer persona- you know what they want, fear, and need to feel secure enough to make a purchase. The buyer journey lays out the stages they go through to make that purchase. There are three stages to the buyer journey: awareness, consideration, and decision. Your sales process is most likely to be affected by this concept but by becoming familiar with each stage and what your buyer persona needs in each, your content can play a big part of each stage. For example, if you have a blog then you can focus on capturing people in the awareness stage by writing a post identifying common problems your services solve.
If you currently have content that’s live on your website your next step in the development phase is to evaluate it. Take some time to read through everything you have and assess how successful it is. Get some more tips on evaluating your content in the ‘Planning Great Content’ post.
When you have a plan for the content it’s time to get typing. It’s really important to make sure your content prioritizes quality over quantity, especially after you’ve gone through the process to identify your audience and what content will be useful to them. Unfortunately it’s common to see spelling errors, unnecessary/wordy pages, and content that is confusing to read.
Our first tip is to always produce original content. In fact, it’s not just a tip it is a must- do not plagiarize or take someone else’s content. Not only is it dishonest and unprofessional to take someone else’s work, Google’s algorithm penalizes copyright violators. Writing original, quality content is a great way to utilize SEO and gain organic traffic.
Our second tip is to be clear and concise. We’ve discussed that your content should be useful to the reader so make that information easily accessible. If important information about your services is buried in pages of copy your potential customer doesn’t care about they’ll leave. If you utilize Google Analytics then you can check the bounce rate on certain pages to see how many users leave within seconds of the page loading. If an important page has a high bounce rate consider the amount of copy you have and whether or not it’s easy for users to find what they need.
Read our post for more tips on writing good content and check out the online tools we recommend too!
“Should I Hire a Content Strategist?”
This is one of those “It depends…” situations. Most people are going to hire a content strategist to write and coordinate their content to save time. We discussed the role of a Content Strategist briefly earlier, but let’s dive in a bit more. A content strategist takes the lead in identifying the why, how, and what of creating and organizing content for a project. They help clients by laying out how the business objective, user needs, and content should relate to each other and reach the audience best. Through this process they define your strategy and evaluate the gaps in current content, often creating new content to support the new strategy. Hiring a content strategist means you will only have to spend a few hours total on meeting to discuss the unique qualities of your business, reviewing content, and requesting changes.
Remember those algorithms we mentioned earlier? It’s impossible for content strategists or marketing experts to predict how things will change but it is their job to stay on top of it all. Your content strategist will probably audit your current content, meet with you or a core leader in the company, and create a guide that explains exactly what your strategy is. Then they rework or completely rewrite your content and take into account things like SEO, which help your website rank better without paying for ads or visibility.
Reputable web agencies offer content strategy services for a range of needs, including new content for a new website, ongoing blog management, and marketing. If you’re looking for content marketing services in Los Angeles contact 95Visual! We’d love to discuss your content strategy needs on a discovery call.