A strategy for happy content
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 can be painful. Lots of people are involved, it’s not always clear who’s in charge, 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frequently internally focused, and once it’s published it tends to get abandoned, becoming progressively more and more out of date.
But it can be beautiful.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s an example of a core content strategy we made before:
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. They’re 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.
Annotating examples of content illustrates and explains structural and tactical elements of the strategy.
It’s vital to get everyone on board the core strategy ship so that it can sail smoothly. With this in mind, the process of agreeing the strategy may be as important as the final result. We allow time for brainstorms, discussions and tussles over punctuation to ensure a happy voyage.
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.
Content over coffee*
Our free content consultations often reveal exciting things you could be doing to make your website, your social media and your email newsletters more effective and your life simpler. And better punctuated.
These initial chats can lead to great partnerships, but they don’t need to.
Let us know when’s good for you and we can meet for coffee. Alternatively, if you’re far from London, let’s have a phone or video call.
* We also drink tea.