You hear it so often amongst web designers and marketing gurus, but this is one worn piece of gum that shouldn’t be retired to the garbage bin just yet:
“Content is king.” It is! It reigns supreme! Just listen to the glistening words of Fast Company contributor Shawn Parr in an article titled “Content is the New Currency”:
“Great communication is an art and a science and needs to be treated as one of the most valuable currencies of your organization.”
2 Reasons For Content:
So that hunk of space reserved on your homepage for explaining your business? The blog that seems like a thorn in your side to update on a weekly (or monthly) basis? It’s valuable real estate for effective web marketing, and should be maintained as such. As Parr suggests, “when the correct words are used with sincerity and passion, they can have a mobilizing and lasting impact.” Your Content is branding.
Not to mention the search engine ranking potential of delightful content. SixRevisions author Adam Heitzman lists the “Focus on Quality Content” as pertinent to optimizing websites for Google’s newer algorithms, noting, “A large emphasis on quality is being placed on the creation of content. This must be at the forefront of any design or website management duties.” Content helps people find you and learn about you.
Making Content Work:
So yes, let’s all bow down to the value of content online (and our content writers too, while we’re at it), but keep in mind the mortality of all kings, web-based or not.
Rule as it may, content requires strategy to truly succeed. Curious about what that means, exactly?
Let’s look to Kristina Halvorson, the spearheading champion of content strategy, founder and CEO of Brain Traffic (her own consultancy devoted to the craft), speaker and author of books on the subject, and overall awesome entrepreneur:
In an interview with Tom May of NetMagazine, she defines content strategy as that which “identifies how content will help you achieve your business objectives,” “inform[ing] how organizations create, deliver and govern or take care of their content, online and beyond.”
It’s more than the come-and-go of content creation: it’s “long-term management of content,” and focuses on answering “Why?”
“Why put that there?” Any time a new piece of content is suggested for a site, there better be a purpose for it.
That is one of three solid points Halvorson suggests for companies looking to start implementing content strategy. In an interview published on IdeaMensch.com , she also mentions auditing all site content and “look [ing] long and hard at it,” to decide if its working for specific business objectives.
She also suggests companies “put someone in charge of the content at the beginning of the project [a launch, a microsite, a brochure, etc]. Not just the content creation, but [someone who is] really asking the tough questions about it and finding out who has the answers.”
Without strategy, site content can get messy and disorganized. Like a king going into battle without military consultants (and at the very least, a map), content can collapse quickly when direction is not defined.
Where to focus your efforts:
However, the smaller the monarch, the easier it is to rule. Halvorson mentions to May that content strategy “is not vital, or even appropriate, for every business.” Specifically, small companies can effectively balance their own content with careful planning with only a copywriter on staff to “ensure the copy is appropriate and structured well.”
So while hiring the services of a content strategy agency may not be essential to every business website’s content success, maintaining the content in an organized manner surely is. Whether operating on a big-budget agenda or depending on a prudent copywriter to manage the material, business website owners need to start thinking long-term about their content.
Navigator Multimedia can aid your content strategy needs at every level, whether looking for a complete content audit, or hoping to organize the distribution and creation of effective written material. As we know now, it ain’t easy appeasing a king.
Heitzman, Adam “Creating Websites Optimized for Google’s Panda Algorithm.” 15 November 2011: http://sixrevisions.com/content-strategy/creating-websites-optimized-for-googles-panda-algorithm/
“Kristina Halvorson-Founder and CEO of Brain Traffic.” http://ideamensch.com/kristina-halvorson/
May, Tom “Kristina Halvorson on Content Strategy.” 2 November 2011: http://www.netmagazine.com/interviews/in-depth/kristina-halvorson-content-strategy
Parr, Shawn “Content is the New Currency.” 20 October 2011: http://www.fastcompany.com/1789107/content-is-the-new-currency