This morning, I received this email from a client:
I was looking at blogging and found some real interesting reads. Can you share your experience on blogging and how we can implement this from our WEB site? I want to link our website to Facebook, LinkedIn, [and use] social media to draw more traffic. In general, we need to drive SEO. Can we re-sync on the objectives and see if we are still on plan?
What the client is talking about here is Content Strategy. Content Strategy (the proper noun) is a relatively new field, and it requires a certain amount of work to create and maintain a successful content strategy. In its most basic form, a website content strategy (the improper noun) describes:
- what content is appropriate for posting on the website
- where that content should live (that is: based on what the page is about, where best does it fit?)
- who is responsible for creating and maintaining that content
- when (or how often) it should be published
- what process is followed to approve content for the website (will they need the approval of editors, proofreaders, or maybe even the CEO?)
These are not questions we can answer for them, but we can at least direct their thinking. The client should consider their audience first: What answers would they like to see for each of the questions above? Do their readers have time for a blog post every day (or every week)? Do their readers appreciate a direct, casual approach, or are they more formal and corporate?
SEO and social media are a part of that strategy, but they shouldn’t be the focus of the strategy. Good, relevant, engaging content drives far more traffic — and customers — than social media gimmicks and SEO black magic.
Creating a content strategy is only the first step. Implementing that content strategy is frequently more difficult, because it requires everyone in the client’s organization to cooperate. Signs of a broken content strategy are missed deadlines, spelling errors, and an increased number of customer support requests. A good content strategy has room to grow in order to address all those issues.
The bottom line is this: The client gets out what they put in. If they want to devote time and resources to building a successful content strategy to drive traffic to their site, it will pay off for them.
There are no shortcuts. There is only a lot of work.