Do I Really Need a Content Strategy?

This post is the first in a monthly Web Writing 101 series.

Mo' content, mo' problems.

Let me know if any of these problems sound familiar:

  • You have too much content on your website.
  • You have too little content on your website.
  • You’re not sure how much content you have on your website.
  • You’re not sure how to structure or prioritize your content.
  • Your web content is outdated.
  • Your web content was written by an intern, or maybe a trained monkey. (Or worse, it was copy-pasted from a brochure.)
  • Your web content feels pointless and/or boring.
  • Your web content doesn’t look too great on mobile.
  • You have no idea how to optimize your content for search engines (on-page SEO).
  • You have no idea how to implement content marketing.
  • You’ve never audited your web content.
  • You can’t keep up with your web content needs.
  • No one is in charge of your web content.
  • Too many people are in charge of your web content.
  • No one is engaging with your web content.
  • No one can understand your web content.
  • No one can find your web content.
  • Your web content workflow? You don’t even want to think about it.
  • You don't know how to measure the success of your content.
  • You have a whole website’s worth of content to create… and no idea where to even start.

I could keep going. But I won’t. Because chances are, you’ve already nodded your head to at least one of the problems listed above.

Which means that you need a content strategy.

What will a content strategy do for me?

Aside from solving all of those problems listed above? A content strategy is a customized plan that lays out exactly what your business goals are and how to reach them using the content on your website—and beyond.

It not only asks what you’re publishing on your website but why, how, when, where, for whom, with what, how often you’re publishing that content, and tons more.

After all, according to Google, “Content is the most important aspect of any site.”

Because your content is more than just the words on your site. It’s the information, presented in any format—video, text, infographic, blog post, recipe, product description, podcast, game, whitepaper, survey, report, photograph, app—that your website was built to hold.

Your content is the reason people will visit your website.

People will visit your website because they want to research your products and services, watch your videos, or download your app. They want to consume your content.

Great web content that’s marked up well is also increasingly important to Google—which means it is important to you for SEO and for getting your brand discovered on the web.

So why is content the last thing anyone considers when building a website?

Content often gets overlooked because people focus most of their attention on the visual and technical aspects—how the website will look and how it will function.

What many people care about is how they appear to their audience—but they forget to consider what their audience actually wants from them.

People also tend to drastically underestimate the time it takes to create strategic content that will serve both their business goals and their users’ needs. I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count: a website is weeks away from launching, and the business owner has just started scrambling for content.

Here’s an industry secret: good content takes a really freaking long time to create. It needs planning, foresight, knowledge of best practices, and expert execution.

Neglecting web content during website development is like building a shiny new Porsche and neglecting to install the engine, or else scrambling to build the engine out of toothpicks and paperclips at the last minute and hoping no one notices.

Either way, the outer shell looks pretty, but unless your name is MacGyver, that car isn’t going anywhere.

Avoid being a content #FAIL.

Did you know? The decision not to have a content strategy is a content strategy.

Because when you make the decision not to have a content strategy, you are actively making the decision to neglect the most important element of your website.

When you make the decision to forego content strategy, you’re opening yourself up to a whole slew of website-related problems—just look at the list at the beginning of this article.

When you make the decision to sacrifice content quality for the sake of your budget,  you’re simultaneously making the decision to sacrifice your audience’s wants and needs for your bottom line.

...Wait. Doesn’t that sound a bit backward? Shouldn’t you be spending your budget on attracting and engaging customers?

Here’s the real bottom line: When your website content fails, your website fails.

Don’t be yet another case of #FAIL. Solve your content problems and find success online with a robust content strategy.