What is Content Strategy and Should I Care?
Content Strategy is becoming more and more popular among web professionals — both the idea and the implementation. More focus has gone into design, user experience, and techniques of getting people to websites that the reason people come to websites can get lost. Of course, I’m talking about the content, itself.
“Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.” Kristina Halvorson
Just like you wouldn’t begin a sermon without first coming up with a topic, researching, and planning, you shouldn’t do the same with the content on your website. Everything successful, from businesses, to books, to websites, begins with goals and figures out the best way to achieve them.
In order for your ministry website’s content to do what you want it to do (increase ministry visitors, volunteers, dialogue), you must have a strategy and then carry out your strategy. Here’s a simplified process for developing that strategy.
1. Develop Goals (Analyze)
Before you start typing, ask yourself some questions about the visitors to your church website.
- What do they want to know about my church or ministry?
- What do I want them to know?
- What would make them want to come back to my website?
Start a list of pages or types of content you must have on your site. These usually consist of News, Events, About, and Contact. As you develop your list of desired content, keep asking yourself if the content helps answer the questions above. If it doesn’t, maybe it shouldn’t be on your website.
2. Create Your Content (Collect)
Now that you have your list of pages or desired content, start writing. It is important for your content to be clear, simple, easy to read, and easy on the eyes, so if you aren’t skilled as a writer, find someone who is.
To get people to regularly visit your website, you’ll need to regularly update it with interesting content. Now is the time to figure out what this content is, where it is coming from, and who will keep content creators accountable for this task. It might be helpful to create a content creation calendar.
3. Organize Your Content on Your Website (Publish)
Now that your content is written and you know where updates will be coming from, it’s time to figure out where to put it all. Start with your most important pages–About, News, Events, Ministries, Blog, Contact–and work your way down. Think about where a user who is completely unfamiliar with your ministry would look for content and put it there.
4. Is It Working? (Manage)
Just because your content is live, doesn’t mean your work is done. You should always be trying to improve your content and how it’s structured.
- Do your users get frustrated when trying to find information?
- Does the content on your site meet all your goals and answer all user questions?
- Is new content being created on time? Is it quality content?
Ask these questions constantly. If you aren’t happy with the answers, your users aren’t happy with your content, and changes should be made.
A great way to make sure your website content is the best is can be is to schedule regular content audits. Sweep your website to see if your content meets all of your goals. Ask “who cares?” to each page. If no one does, get rid of it.
[Image via Romain Guy]