Content has been the buzzword for a few years now, and we all know that having good content on your site will help to drive high-quality traffic. But according to a recent survey, eight out of 10 brands don’t have a content strategy, and people are creating content without a brief or purpose.
Aside from the lack of direction with content production, there are also many external factors people are facing when it comes to producing content. These include the need for approval from senior management and support from the team. Endless rounds of amends, compliance and regulations and the lack of analytics tools to measure success also play a part. And everyone seems to be doing it differently. Or as Catherine Toole, Founder of Sticky Content, so accurately put it in her talk ‘Frankencontent’ at The Festival of Marketing on Tuesday:
“We are in a Dantean hell of content.”
But if brands want to stand out and generate valuable traffic to their website, they must become publishers of brilliant content.
So how can we get started creating content? Are their any guidelines or rules?
This diagram by Kristina Halvorson is a very good place to start.
Here you can see the importance of: Substance, Structure, Workflow and Governance all working together to support the core strategy.
The 8 top tips below will help you create a core like this. Refer to these when you’re planning your content.
1.Create your content around your audience. What do people actually care about? Your content shouldn’t just be a sales piece. Think about people’s pain points. Who comes to your website and what bothers them? What problems could you fix? Answer their questions.
2.Make it easy to read and speak their language. Write content in a highly modular way. And remember that people might be accessing your content from a mobile (twice as difficult to consume as a laptop). Look at the science behind digesting content. And don’t forget that writing for the web is different to writing for print.
3.Keep a content inventory. Make sure you have a list of all the content you have produced, with a publication date and attributed author. This content might become irrelevant in the future and need to be removed. It’s much easier if you know where to find it!
4.Use analytics and data to steer your content strategy. Which articles are performing the best and why? Can you replicate any of this success?
5.Map your strategy to shared goals. What’s your company vision and how can the content production support it?
6.Ask people for feedback. It’s very important to listen to what people are saying about your content and how it could be improved.
7.Educate your team about the importance of content. This is much easier if you can demonstrate value with data. Find results and prove them.
8.Limit the sign off process and don’t let compliance take over. Too many cooks spoil the broth don’t they? Tremendous edit rounds and too many opinions will confuse your messaging and delay your content production schedule. So build trust with senior management.
But most importantly of all:
“At the very least have a statement of intent for every content item you produce.” – Catherine Toole
Do you have any advice for creating content? Share it with us in the comment section below.
Written by Victoria Crump-Haill