TL; DR (also known as takeaways): Your culture may be standing in the way of…
What is a content strategy?
Think about your website:
- What content is currently present?
- What information do your audiences need, but does not appear on your site?
- When and how often is each type of content updated?
- Does your content have a consistent voice and tone, no matter what section/department of your organization it comes from?
- Is each piece of information factually consistent, both with other sections of the site and with content delivered through other media (print marketing, TV advertising, etc.)?
- Does the content in every section of the site consciously convey your brand message?
- Do you have a plan for creating, managing, publishing, archiving, and deleting each kind of content?
The answers to these questions are your content strategy.
This is not the same as content management, which is the process for publishing content on your website. A content management system (CMS) software tool can automate many of these steps, but your organization needs to do its homework in order to set intelligent, appropriate rules for your content.
Why don’t organizations have a content strategy?
- Because they don’t know they need one.
- Because they don’t understand what it is and how it can add value to their organization.
- Because they think a content strategy equals the purchase of a software tool
- Because they don’t know anyone who can help them develop one.
- Because the people who know the company needs a content strategy do not have the final budget authority to bring in the resources to help them develop one.
Why do organizations need a content strategy?
Every organization — corporate, nonprofit, association, etc. — needs a content strategy. Not just because it makes the online publishing process smoother, but because digital content is an essential part of every organization’s business strategy, whether they know it or not.
Your business may want to sell more products to its current customers. However, each product is owned and managed by a separate line of business. Each product is marketed individually, to a group of customers “owned” by that line of business. Each product’s promotions are conceived and designed by a different team, and this information is not shared among teams. The legal department reviews literature from one product, but another group does not submit its material to legal for review. There is no central repository for tracking what legal has reviewed and what changes it requested, nor any way to ensure that legal’s changes are made.
On your website, these separate but parallel tracks come together in a way they may not have before:
- Each team wants its product featured most prominently on the home page. There is no one to make that decision based on the business’s priorities, so it falls to your webmaster to choose a product or design a solution.
- The person who updated the information for one product leaves, and its content is not updated. Therefore, when a customer does a search on your site, he receives inaccurate information. Seeing inaccurate information is likely to cause that customer to mistrust all the information received from your site.
- Each product may describe the company in a slightly different way (number of employees, year founded, etc.) or use a different version of the company logo (size, color scheme, even an old logo). Each line of business may use its own brand more prominently that the company’s brand — or they may omit the company brand altogether.
- The legal department will be able to audit information from all departments and business units.
The web reveals these gaps, and many companies are finding it unavoidable to develop a strategy and assign a budget to plan and manage content.
Content Company can help your organization develop a content management strategy that adds value to your website and makes sense for your corporate goals and culture. Contact us if you are interested in our help.