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The ins and outs of a complex content strategy.

Woman reviewing content strategy

Content strategy involves the planning and creation of copy for your business.

The principles of a basic content strategy for your website include:

  • Deciding who your customers are and what they want to read
  • Performing keyword research
  • Crafting copy or a content plan within these guidelines

When is a basic content strategy not enough?

If your website gets hundreds of thousands of visitors a month, the decisions you make about content could drastically impact your business. For this reason, content strategies for larger websites go beyond basic copy. They also incorporate:

  • Detailed persona research and testing
  • Categorizing information (Information Architecture)
  • Navigation and design
  • Selection of a Content Management System (CMS) to support user level access, page creation, and approval workflows

For example, Atlantic BT has been faced with the following scenarios:

  • When redesigning a website for the Department of Revenue, how do you label information so people can easily find the tax forms that pertain to their situation?
  • When designing a university website, how do you point prospective students to information when they are at different phases of the decision and enrollment process?
  • When designing an eCommerce website, how do you categorize thousands of products and incorporate search?
  • When creating 1 page of content takes 3 weeks, how do you simplify the CMS experience to reduce turnaround?

Atlantic BT has developed a proven process for Content Strategy.

An all-encompassing content strategy will include persona and market research, information architecture, user testing, and supporting technologies. Take a look at the steps and considerations involved.

Defining personas.

Persona research varies on a client by client basis. Personas may include both internal users of the website, or external users (customers and clients).
Through conducting interviews, market research, and web behavior analysis; Atlantic BT creates detailed profiles that describe a member of the audience segment, their preferences, their perspective, their background, and what influences them.

Creating a content plan and information architecture.

Atlantic BT develops a comprehensive Content Strategy using a structured sequence of research, workshops, and strategy development methods. Websites of all sizes benefit from going through these steps.

  • Content inventory: We carefully examine a website to locate and identify existing content.
  • Content audit: We take this content and evaluate its usefulness, accuracy, tone of voice, and overall effectiveness. We use in-house tools and Google Analytics to score web content.
  • Content analytics: We review content ranking and keyword usage within analytic tools.
  • Audience mapping: This includes the mapping of content to different audiences and use cases.
  • Information grouping: We define user-centered topics and relationships between content. This could include grouping content by service categories or the persona it serves.
  • Card sorts: Card sorts can be conducted as live workshops or online. This testing method identifies the way users understand and group the content being presented to them.
  • Taxonomy development: We create a definition of a standardized naming convention (controlled vocabulary) to apply to site content.
  • Descriptive information creation: We define useful metadata that can be utilized to generate “Related Link” lists or other navigation components that aid discovery. This could include tagging eCommerce products into categories or tagging articles by topic.
  • Governance: We define the desired editorial workflow and build the role/auth model to fit. Your Content Management System will facilitate this workflow.

Your Content Management System plays an important role.

Choosing technologies to support your content strategy includes selecting the right CMS, or customizing an existing CMS, to meet needs. Some considerations when choosing a CMS include:

  • Will you need different levels of user permissions?
  • What will the publishing workflow be?
  • How much would you like users to be able to customize pages?

Implementing the right CMS can simplify the content publication process and create brand consistencies across templates.

A Content Strategy is only useful with adequate training.

Employees need to be able to use a system with ease publish content frequently. First of all, we provide guidance for choosing the types of things to write about and where to publish them on your website. Secondly, we provide training for using your CMS to the fullest. This could include drafting content or designing new pages.

Ready to take a deeper dive into content strategy?

If you’re interested in learning more about user behavior on your website, how to effectively structure your content, or selecting the right tools to support your goals; we’re happy to help you get started. Contact us for a free consultation.

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