Without content strategy, websites are little more than brochures, product catalogs, or digital storefronts.
However, when you get strategic advice for developing your content, your website then becomes a masterful storytelling and conversion tool. Ideally, your website should efficiently guide your visitors to the information they want and convince them to take actions that will engage them more fully with your services or products.
Content strategy prevents these pitfalls
Without content strategy, your website may fall prey to these common mistakes, each of which creates a barrier between you and your target audience:
- A disconnect between content and your user’s needs
- Content that scrolls endlessly without a purpose
- Poor placement of calls to action — or worse, no calls to action at all
- Short blocks of meaningless content, written just to fill space
- Failure to publish content that speaks to users at each stage of the customer journey
A tour of Mangrove’s content strategy process
First we work through a discovery process to answer these questions:
- Who is your audience?
- What questions do your website visitors have, and what do they want and need to achieve?
- What are the goals of your website, and what actions do you want visitors to take?
- What is your brand’s “personality,” and what voice and tone matches that personality?
Using your answers, plus our expert knowledge of user experience and conversion best practices, we deliver the following reports and outlines:
User personas and key audience descriptions
Who are the types of people you most want to attract and engage? What are their characteristics? What do we know about what information they want to get from you?
Example: Two of the primary audiences for a community foundation are potential large donors and existing large donors. Potential donors want to learn about the foundation’s funding areas and expertise. Existing donors want to read about the foundation’s successes and new campaigns.
Key content and important actions
What content does each audience need? What actions do we want them to take?
Potential large donors: browse content about funding areas, which is infused with the foundation’s financial and community expertise. They are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the executive director or register to attend an event. Current donors see success highlighted on the main pages, and they have easy, obvious access to financial management tools.
What content do you have now, on your website and other collateral? Do you have content that supports visitors at all stages of the customer journey?
For example, we may uncover that the foundation lacks content that powerfully describes their financial acumen and community connections.
Information architecture and site map
Information architecture is the information backbone of a website. It organizes the key content areas into “buckets” to make sure that your target audiences can efficiently find the content they seek. The site map lists the content pages necessary to accomplish user goals, shows the hierarchy and interlinking of those pages.
Content outline and calls to action
For each top-level page, the content outline recommends:
- Page title
- Top headline
- Primary or introductory info to include
- Other info to include on the page
- Calls to action
Is content strategy a required part of a website build or rebuild?
We consistently recommend content strategy unless you have an active internal marketing team working through the strategy already. We can limit the content strategy component to providing overview recommendations, giving you direction for how to fill in the content outline, or we can provide complete copywriting services. In all honesty, many clients who choose to write copy themselves often report that they wish they had hired someone to support — writing high-quality conversion-oriented website copy, especially about your own organization, can often be more difficult than anticipated.
Why are we such fans of content strategy? It’s the true cornerstone of your website. However, It often gets overlooked in the excitement of exploring your website’s new look and feel. In our experience, starting with content strategy enables a stronger design process, because the strategy decisions give the designers a crystal clear view of the story your website should tell. They can then use their expertise to create and integrate the aesthetics to support the story.
Do you feel like your website could benefit from some content strategy work? Get in touch if you’d like us to take a look and offer our opinion.
Stay tuned. We’ve invited a trusted content strategy partner to take a deeper dive into the “whys and wherefores” of content strategy. We’ll link to it from this article when it’s ready.