A content strategy will guide your plans for the what, where and when of content creation. Content is the reason people visit your website, and any redesign should be conducted with a content-first approach. Even solid content ages with time, so if you haven’t touched the content on your website in a while, it is probably due for a refresh. We’ve outlined some key steps into developing a strong, client-focused strategy for your website content.
1. Identify your unique value proposition
Your website should answer the why and how of your firm, explaining how your services and process provide value to your clients. Your value proposition should address these things, and it should be unique from other firms in the industry so that you can differentiate yourself from your competitors. Use this as a basis for the content you create for your website. Your unique value proposition should be prominent on your website and weaved throughout your content. Making sure that your content is targeted and relevant to the people you want to reach is critical to the success of your site.
2. Conduct a website content audit
Before creating new content, determine what content you already have and where you see holes that need to be filled. What content needs to be re-written? What pieces of content are performing well and may not need as much work? Document all of the content you currently have and then identify what can stay, what needs to be refreshed and what needs to go. This will give you a clear picture of how much new content you need to create and where to start.
3. Target each of your personas
When creating website content, firms often think about what they want to say instead of what their audience wants to read. It’s essential to create content for your website with your various audiences in mind and think about what’s most important to them, since that is who your content is truly for. Buyer personas help you visually picture the type of people you are trying to reach and better understand buyer behavior. By determining your key buyer personas, you can create personalized content that is targeted and relevant to their interests, needs and goals. Your content is meant to answer their questions, educate them on industry topics, and address their pain points. Remember that you have more than one audience, and your website should have content that caters to each one. In addition to prospects, you should create website content that is geared towards clients, prospective employees, business partners, the media, etc.
4. Map content to the client lifecycle
Your content should also lead visitors and prospects down the sales funnel. Your website should have a variety of content that addresses different questions or concerns depending on where the prospect is in the client journey, from awareness to purchase to advocacy. For example, a blog is a great tool for building awareness, educating and answering general questions about your services or industry. But for a prospect who is evaluating your firm for hire, a case study or testimonial is more appropriate to demonstrate successful work that you’ve done for your clients.
5. Include the essential content
With a solid strategy, each piece of content on your website will have a specific purpose and target audience. People use the Internet to conduct research and discover information on a variety of topics. Be sure to use your website content as an opportunity to educate prospects about trends and common questions in the industry, and for those further down the sales funnel, your company, process and services. Another example audience is job seekers, who are researching companies where they would like to work. A Careers section with insight into your company culture is relevant to them. These are some of the content essentials to include on your website:
– Thought leadership blog
– Premium content (i.e. whitepapers, eBooks)
– Services/capabilities information
– Case studies and client testimonials
– Compelling “about” page
– Employee spotlights
– Up-to-date job postings
– Videos (can feature company culture, client testimonials, etc.)
6. Write compelling web copy
Take the time to create copy that informs, educates and guides your audience. The length of your copy depends on the purpose of the page and your overall message, but a minimum of 300 words is a good rule of thumb for SEO purposes. However your main focus should be quality, not quantity. Share interesting, relevant information that will be of value to your audiences. Statistics, research and quotes are effective ways to add substance to your copy, and it’s important to take the time to find high quality images and graphics. Be sure to proofread thoroughly, as nothing can derail compelling copy and make a bad first impression like misspellings or punctuation errors. And make the content easy to read by breaking it up into a list or by using subheadings.
7. Use the right language
As you begin to write your content, it’s important to speak the same language as your audience. Avoid using internal jargon, and instead use verbiage that your audience will understand. If your audience is more technical, then you can use technical language in your content. But otherwise, you should stick to simpler language that will resonate with your audience and demonstrate your expertise in and familiarity with their industry. Apart from blog articles or other thought leadership content, your website content should be more conversational than formal. Write as if you were having a one-on-one conversation with a prospect or client. Remember that your content is not about you, but about your current and prospective clients and what you can do to help them.
8. Develop a content schedule
Once you have established the type of content you need, it’s important to organize it and develop a strategic schedule to make sure it all gets accomplished. Decide if you want to first focus on a specific persona, a specific industry or a specific stage of the client lifecycle. After determining the type of content you want to create first, begin to map out a schedule. This includes the topics you will cover, how often you’ll be publishing and the dates it will be published. It may be beneficial to plan out one quarter of the year at a time.
9. Assign the right people
Part of a content schedule includes developing a process for writing the content. You need to assign people in your firm to be responsible for contributing to the content. Look at the topics you plan to cover, and identify people in your firm who are thought leaders in those areas. With the support of executive leadership, you can get technical experts to help you write content. If you don’t have the capacity within your company, then hire an agency or freelance copywriter that is dependable and diligent with deadlines. By clearly defining who is responsible for your firm’s content, there will be accountability, and this will ensure consistency with your publishing.
10. Measure and track performance
The key to having a strong web content strategy is keeping it relevant to your audiences. This means constantly evaluating and tracking the performance of all of your content. Look at which pieces are being shared, which pages are getting the most views vs. those not getting much traction, and how long visitors are spending on each page. This will help determine where you are resonating with your audiences and delivering valuable content, and where you need to do things differently. Keep your website fresh and relevant with a defined strategy for creating new content moving forward.
A website content strategy is essential
Having a solid website content strategy is critical in today’s digital landscape where search engine rankings and being discovered by prospects is driven by quality content. Not only will your content help people find your website, the quality and relevance of your content will make visitors stay and move through your site. By following these steps, you’re on a path to creating successful website content that will increase traffic and generate leads for your business.