A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the importance of considering content hand-in-hand with design but we didn’t talk much about HOW we determine what content we need. That’s where content strategy comes in!
In simple terms: content strategy decides what important information you and your customers need to communicate to each other and how to accomplish that. This could include contact forms, email marketing, blog posts, social media, your service and about pages, etc. A comprehensive strategy ensures you build open lines of communication with your current and potential customers while also building trust in your knowledge and expertise. For this post, we’ll focus on website content.
Planning an effective content strategy.
Before we even get to the content, we need to figure out who your target audience is and what your core values are. This helps to determine the voice and tone of your content.
If you’re a financial advisor who works with millionaires, you don’t want a website that’s written as if it’s targeting young college students, right? So we need to get into your head AND into the heads’ of your potential customers. How do you think? Why are you proud of your services or products? And how do THEY think? How do they want information presented to them? How do they want their peers and colleagues to speak to them?
That means we need to talk to you, research competitors, and use our experience as content strategists — AND as consumers! — to develop an effective strategy. After we’ve done all that, we can keep that in mind as we do a content audit. When a customer comes to your site, what’s the first thing they want to know? What’s the impression you want to give?
If you have a website already, we need to look at what’s extraneous or confusing. Why is it confusing? How do we fix it? Or is it even necessary?And this is where content-first design comes into play. How can we make the most important information the most prominent? How do we make it easy for readers to find the information they need?
At this point, designers and content strategists should be working closely together to create a sitemap or outline of proposed content. What information will go where? How do we present it in the most understandable way?