Content strategy focuses on the planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content. Content not only includes the words on the page but also the images and multimedia that are used. Ensuring that you have useful and usable content, that is well structured, and easily found is vital to improving the user experience of a website.
The goal of content strategy is to create meaningful, cohesive, engaging, and sustainable content. Throughout her book, Content Strategy for the Web, Kristina Halvorson discusses in detail the benefits of and how to create your content strategy. It reiterates that your strategy helps you to identify what already exists, what should be created and, more importantly, why it should be created.
Melissa Rach has created what she calls the Content Strategy Quad to help describe the content-oriented and people-oriented components you need to know. We have adapted it a bit to discuss the components that come together to help you create a successful strategy and governance.
|Content-oriented Components||People-oriented Components|
|Identify Goals and Substance: focuses on what content is required to successfully execute your core strategy. It includes characteristics such as messaging architecture, intended audience(s), and voice and tone.||Outline the Roles and Workflow: focuses on how people manage and maintain content on a daily basis, including the roles, tasks, and tools required throughout the content lifecycle.|
|Determine Structure: focuses on how content is prioritized, organized, and accessed. Focuses on the content itself, including mapping messages to content, content bridging, and creating detailed page tables.||Identify Policies and Standards: focuses on the policies, standards, and guidelines that apply to content and its lifecycle, as well as how an organization will sustain and evolve its content strategy.|
Producing compelling and sustainable content means that you need to understand and follow the content lifecycle. Erin Scime identifies that there are five stages in the lifecycle. In general, content lifecycles include the following:
Several of the deliverables related to each of those phases overlap with the deliverables of other fields, including information architecture, user research, project management, web analytics. Instead of thinking of who owns each deliverable, it’s important to think of who contributes to each and how those different contributions come together to define the final product. There’s value in including multiple perspectives on deliverables.
We have identified these best practices to help you create meaningful and relevant content. Each piece of content should: