If you have a blog, website, or knowledge base of information you need a content strategy. Otherwise, all your well-written and carefully curated content is just a mish-mash of words and information.
At its most basic level, a content strategy is a plan that gives your readers the content they need, when they need it, in a way they expect it. In a nutshell, this boils down to what, when, why, and how a reader consumes content. This can mean different things depending on the size and audience of a blog. Let’s take a look at some of the elements of a basic content strategy.
WHAT Do Your Readers Need?
Are people reading your content for informational purposes or for enjoyment? Are they trying to solve a problem or understand technical or scientific concepts? Or are they learning how to do something? Each of these needs deserves an appropriate writing voice and organizational structure, which are both part of a content strategy.
WHEN and WHY Do Your Readers Need Information?
Readers access content at different times and for different reasons. Do they access your content when they are solving a problem? Or when they are using your product and they have a question? Or are they just interested in what you have to say? Especially if your reader is trying to solve a problem or fix something that’s not working, your information needs to be easy to find and easy to understand. But if they’re reading your content to learn or be entertained, your content doesn’t need to be nearly as succinct. Your content strategy should define these unique requirements.
HOW Do Your Readers Expect to Access Information?
Depending on your content, your readers will have different expectations for how to access your information. But in all situations, it needs to be organized in a way that makes it easy for readers to find what they need. Having a list of topics (or table of contents) is helpful. So is linking related topics and grouping related topics together. For example, be sure your organizational structure makes it easy to know where to go to find information about what the new features of your product are vs. how to set these new features up. The what information is more overview and the how to information may have a specific step-by-step delivery.
Searching and tagging are other ways to help readers access information.
Search isn’t Enough
An organization may have a vast repository of content to help guide their customers on how to use their products. However, unless search words are used consistently throughout all the content, a search strategy isn’t effective. For example, consider a cooking website that has hundreds of recipes, including a number of recipes that are specially designed for an InstantPot, which is a brand name for an electric pressure cooker. If some of the recipes use the generic term “pressure cooker” and others use the brand name “InstantPot,” a search for either term won’t locate recipes using the other term. A simple content strategy that defines terms to consistently use avoids this problem.
For more information about content strategy, see the other posts in our Content Strategy series:
- Content Strategy—Do You Know Why You Need One?
- Content Strategy—It’s Part of Effective UI/UX
- Content Strategy—Your Blog Needs One
- Content Strategy—Who’s Your Audience?
- Content Strategy—Types of Content
- Content Strategy—Terminology
If you want to be notified when new topics are published, sign up for our newsletter. We value your privacy and promise to never sell or give away your contact information!