Ultimate Guide for Web Content Strategy and Planning 2022
Planning content for your website without considering how it will be found by search engines is more wishful thinking than a digital marketing strategy. Google is paying closer attention than ever to what your web pages say.
For your website to turn prospects into leads (and eventually into customers), your web content and messaging should set your brand apart from your competition in a memorable way. Your content strategy should focus on quality content that engages with your audience and enables you to measure your results. You can’t create content for the sake of creating content.
Discovery: Audit existing content, find opportunity gaps
The first step to your web content plan that tells your brand story is a candid conversation about setting content strategy goals along with potential content resources, topics, and themes for each major audience.
- Setting Goals: What do you want your web content to accomplish? Boost brand awareness? Improve conversions and search engine rankings? Generate leads? Provide additional value to existing customers? Let your business goals guide your content strategy decision-making.
- Content Inventory and Audit: Many companies have archives that have gone stale, but with a little reworking these articles, papers, case studies can often provide the foundation for new content. Don’t overlook these! They are like low-hanging fruit.
- Audit your website and user experience: Consider whether your website loads quickly. Your goal is to help users get what they seek quickly and then make that content valuable, informational, and memorable.
- Keyword Search analysis: How is your market finding you? More importantly, perhaps, how is your market finding your competition? These important questions are answered through keyword research on the products and services your business offers, including long-tail keywords and industry definitions. This research helps you understand what’s being searched for and what the opportunity gaps are.
- KPI Benchmarks: Analyze media opportunities beyond the usual free social media outlets. Evaluate directories, targeted paid media, and sponsored content (also called native advertising).
Strategic Design: Your content strategy is informed by discovery
The next phase takes what you’ve learned from discovery and determines how you will roll it out.
- Communication plan: The plan defines when and at what pace your content will be developed. It defines the specifics, such as which content. A content calendar can keep your content strategy on track.
- Sales funnel planning: Be sure to consider how your content might help prospects take the next action on their sales journey. Lead them through the process with calls to action and easy ways to connect…to take the next step.
- Governance: This is where you define the content review and approval process to ensure the right content is properly reviewed prior to going live. A clearly defined set of rules and guidelines helps the process run more smoothly and avoids bottlenecks.
How to choose the right format for your web content
It’s tempting to jump into this plan and want to do articles, videos, infographics, slideshows, and more. Our advice: start with one format (we recommend written copy), do it well, then add something else.
When you start with one format, you can work all year on keeping a consistent schedule and maintaining high quality.
Best practices for writing web content
- Use short paragraphs to make the content easier to understand and digest, which gets your point across faster.
- When making several related points, consider bulleted and numbered lists to make your content easy to scan. Google sometimes returns bulleted lists to answer questions posed in search.
- Leave takeaways/tips throughout your content, or at the end of a subhead section, or in the final subhead. This gives people things to remember you by and think about.
Development/Deployment: Publish your content
Your focus should be your website, where your conversions are most likely to occur. But channels that send backlinks to your content are equally important:
- Social media: The usual suspects are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, but you may also want to consider other channels like Instagram, Pinterest, and others.
- Email: Drip marketing campaigns can automatically start prospects down the path to becoming customers.
- Native advertising: In this paid/third-party ad format, the content matches the form, feel, function, and quality of the site on which it appears. This increases the exposure of your brand and content to targeted audiences.
- Syndication: Republishing the same piece of content – such as an article, a video, an infographic, etc. – on one or more different websites. These increases backlinks, which send positive signals to Google for ranking.
Measuring web content marketing success
Benchmark performance before you started, and where you end up in 3-6 months. The performance report shows how your site performs in Google Search results. For example, you will be able to see how your search traffic changes over time, where it’s coming from, and what search queries are most likely to show your site.
Content Strategy Summary: Take these steps when planning your web content
First, when planning your web content, audit your existing website content to find opportunity gaps and areas to consolidate.
Second, think of the path your visitors will take through your content, based on your goals, then plan and create content for those funnels.
Finally, develop a way to measure the performance of the content you publish, and make changes, as necessary.
With hundreds of new web pages published every second, good content can make the difference between being on the top of the search results page or near the bottom.