Content strategyBuilding solid foundations for beautiful, effective content
Content can be painful. Lots of people are involved, it’s not always clear who’s in charge, and there’s often too much of it, on multiple channels and platforms, with no obvious strategy. It’s frequently internally focused, and once it’s published it tends to get abandoned, becoming progressively more and more out of date.
There’s no bad time to start thinking about content strategy. And if you’re planning a new website, a campaign or a new brand, it’s vital to think about your content as soon as possible.
A content strategy will make sure you create the right content, efficiently and effectively. It will ensure that your content feels loved throughout its life, delivers a great experience for your users and helps your organisation achieve its goals.
Smiles all round.
Elements of content strategy
Content strategy deals not just with the words and the pictures, but also with the systems and the processes, with the people.
There are many different elements of a content strategy and we always put together a bespoke package. The following are elements that we usually include.
In order to deliver the best possible service to your users, it’s vital to have a clear understanding of the content you have and how well it’s working.
We start our content audits by honing and agreeing the success criteria that works best for you. We work out what data you already have, and firm up exactly what the audit should measure in order to maximise its usefulness.
We sort and we weigh up, using the best tools around to help pinpoint readability issues and build a picture of what content people are currently consuming. Then we layer our qualitative analysis on top.
We deliver the audit in a beautiful Airtable alongside a report full of useful insights. You’ll be well equipped to clear out the clutter, repair anything that’s tired and tatty, and polish the gold to keep it shiny.
User research and analysis
Content has two sets of users: the people who create it and the people who consume it. Finding out about everyone’s needs and wants is vital to an effective, sustainable strategy.
We interview the people who create and maintain content, finding out about their aims and pain points. We sometimes create content ecosystem maps. We also run workshops and talk to users to work out what they want.
Then we do some analysis of the data and intelligence we’ve gathered in order to discover the sweet spot where internal objectives and external needs overlap.
Core content strategy
Based on research, discussion and collaboration, we like to produce a core strategy statement in the form of an annotated sentence: a version of the Brain Traffic method. This acts as an internal guiding light that ensures all content pulls in the same direction.
To accompany the core strategy, we devise tactics for how it can be put to good use.
A good core content strategy is:
- Aspirational: something to aim for, not a description of what you’re doing already.
- Flexible: able to deal with content and context of all sorts. Rainy days and sunshine too.
- Inclusive: something that brings in a range of contributors, that everyone will get behind.
- Graspable: something that’s straightforward to understand. Everyone involved should be able to comprehend what you’re trying to do and why.
- Memorable: something that everyone can remember, without too much difficulty. Nobody should need to refer to a PDF.
- Motivational: something that enthuses and energises people. It shouldn’t be a dull, corporate mission statement.
A structural content model maps content types and their elements. It’s particularly useful for designers and developers, helping them to make intelligent, informed decisions about the website. A content model is also invaluable for content creators and editors.
We also construct taxonomies and information architecture, recommending navigation and metadata structures that work for organisations and users.
Voice, tone and style
A brand that doesn’t consider content – what you say and how you say it – is like a bird that’s ambivalent about wings.
We help you define the key attributes of your organisational personality and craft voice, tone and style guidance that helps you fly. We make sure your brand, content and design are cohesive, consistent, memorable and effective.
How can we help?
However large or small you are, whatever you’re doing, we’re pretty sure that a content strategy will improve your life, save you time and money, and make you more effective and generally happier.
Content strategy gold
Some of our favourite resources about content strategy, and the importance of being content-led.
The Alphabet of Content Strategy
Jess Vice’s A-Z is full of useful definitions, descriptions and links.
Content modelling: a master skill
A persuasive and comprehensive article by Rachel Lovinger.
Content models to the rescue
A brilliant step-by-step guide to creating a content model by Josh Tong.
The discipline of content strategy
Kristina Halvorson’s rallying cry may be approaching its tenth birthday, but it’s still brilliantly (and scarily?) relevant.
An epic list of content strategy stuff
A goldmine of content strategy books, blogs, and resources curated by Jonathan Colman.
Website projects should be content-led
Practical techniques to help emphasise content at each stage of a website project. An in-depth guide from GatherContent.
Projects: some content strategy things we’ve done
We needed to explain how Pack works and to get people to sign up. Clarity was vital, and we needed to hit exactly the right note.
We needed to kickstart debate and conversations about the future of the charity sector, without a lanyard in sight.