Online marketers have many options as they create and refine their web content strategy.
Content Marketing Institute’s many contributors have offered a diverse range of ideas, tools, and guiding principles on how best to handle web content, including tips on how to achieve better conversions.
Here are some of the best practices that they’ve shared:
1. Use templates to save time and effort
For your content strategy for the Web, you can save time and stay organized by taking advantage of a suite of invaluable templates.
You’ll find everything from a content mapping template to a social media conversation calendar in Michele Linn’s post, 10 Must-Have Templates for Content Marketers. In addition, the post references additional tools recommended by CMI contributors, including a content questionnaire and a template to track keywords.
2. Manage the process by breaking it into steps
Managing a web content strategy requires a wide range of skills and processes, not to mention considerable ongoing efforts. But it’s easier to stay on task if you start by defining goals and following some effective, established best practices. In Ben Finklea’s post, An Overview of the Web Content Strategy Process and Deliverables, he suggests five steps for streamlining the process, providing relevant deliverables and advice for each:
- Phase 1: Research Overview
- Phase II: Analysis Overview
- Phase III: Strategy and Design
- Phase IV: Content Creation and Testing
- Phase V: Maintenance
For example, Ben recommends existing content and competitive analysis reports. He also believes a readiness report is worthwhile. He describes it this way:
The readiness analysis is an optional spreadsheet for a smaller project, but it is a necessity for larger ones. This document evaluates the readiness of a content strategist, a team or a company for conducting the project successfully. This document should look at the three Rs: resource readiness, process readiness, and technology readiness.
3. Try a creative approach
The web content you produce can be presented in many different formats. For example, Virpi Oinonen outlines comic-style visual content in her CMI post, When Your Web Content Strategy Can Benefit From Comics: 5 Factors.
Virpi notes that businesses need to decide whether a non-traditional or humorous approach makes sense for their web content strategy. Marketers should ask questions like, “Will a comic resonate with your audience?” and “What style will best represent your business?”
As with movies, comics don’t reflect a particular genre, she writes. “Humor tends to increase shareability online, but depending on the message and the audience, you might want to consider a more serious tone.”
With your web content strategy, you need to be mindful of how far you push out the content because of a number of opportunities throughout the web, including social channels.
4. Avoid overextending your reach
Aaron Dun acknowledges the pressure to extend the reach of your business in his CMI post, The New Content Life Cycle: 4 Steps to a More Strategic Approach to Web Content.
Aaron asserts that in the current culture of “share everywhere,” it’s essential that companies start to take a more holistic approach when deciding what, when, where, and how to connect with various stakeholders across the social web. He outlines four key content imperatives:
- Create a holistic system that allows you to communicate with stakeholders across a number of social channels, drive conversation, and influence customers.
- Engage with more customers through a wider online presence by allowing more people to contribute content throughout your organization. Be sure to remove any technology or process roadblocks that inhibit the expansion of your contributor pool.
- Don’t view your corporate sites as “the central point of engagement.” Instead, look to the edge of your network while delivering fresh, compelling and timely content that engages users and keeps visitors returning to your site.
- Listen to your target audience members and their online conversations. Build your web content strategy based on the insights that you gain. To complete the cycle, constantly test new ideas, and dump what doesn’t work while further optimizing what is working.
If you’d like to hear some additional voices chime in on the topic of content strategy for the Web, check out some of these articles:
- Stakeholder Interviews: Engage the Octopus
- The Content Strategy Knowledge Gap
- Kristina Halvorson on Content Strategy for the Web
- How to Create a Great Content Strategy for an Established Website
How do you effectively manage your website strategy? Please share what’s been working for you.
For more great tips to help you get more value from your web content strategy, read “Epic Content Marketing,” by Joe Pulizzi.
Cover image via Bigstock