Content is the magnet of your website and arguably one of the most important tools in helping achieve your firm’s marketing goals. Whether you’re looking to do a complete website redesign or want to improve your current site, it’s critical to have a solid content strategy.
A content strategy will guide your plans for the what, where, and when of content creation. Content is why people visit your website, and any redesign should be conducted with a content-first approach. Even solid thought-provoking content ages with time, so if you haven’t touched the content on your website in a while, it is probably due for a refresh. We’ve outlined some critical steps to developing a strong, client-focused strategy for your website content.
Your website should answer the why and how of your firm, explaining how your services and process provide value to your clients. Your unique value proposition should address these items directly, and should differentiate you from other firms in the industry. You should use this value proposition as the basis for the content you create for your website. Your unique value proposition should be prominent and woven throughout the content on your website — making sure that your content is targeted and relevant to the people you want to reach is critical to the success of your site.
Before you begin creating new content, you need determine what content you already have and where you see holes that need to be filled. What content needs to be re-written? What pieces of content are performing well and may not need as much work? Make sure to document all the content you currently have and then identify what can stay, what needs to be refreshed, and what needs to go. This will give you a clear picture of how much new and fresh content you need to create and where to start.
When creating website content, firms often think about what they want to say instead of what their audience wants to read. It’s essential to create content for your website with your various audiences in mind and think about what’s most important to them since that is who your content is truly for. Buyer personas help you visually picture the type of people you are trying to reach and better understand buyer behavior. By determining your key buyer personas, you can create personalized content that is targeted and relevant to their interests, needs, and goals. Your content is meant to answer their questions, educate them on industry topics, and address their pain points. Remember that you have more than one audience, and your website should have content that caters to each one. In addition to prospects, you should create website content geared towards clients, prospective employees, business partners, the media, etc.
Your content should lead visitors and prospects down the sales funnel. Your website should have various content that addresses different questions or concerns depending on where the prospect is in the client journey, from awareness to purchase to advocacy. For example, a blog (or thought leadership) is an excellent tool for building awareness, educating, and answering general questions about your services or industry — but for a prospect evaluating your firm for hire, a case study or testimonial is more appropriate to demonstrate the successful work you’ve done for your clients.
With a solid content strategy in place, each piece of content on your website will have a specific purpose and target audience. People use the internet to conduct research and discover information on various topics. Be sure to use your website content as an opportunity to educate prospects about trends and common questions in the industry, and for those further down the sales funnel, your company, process, and services. Another prime example audience is job seekers, who are researching companies where they would like to work and a careers section with insight into your company culture is relevant to them. These are some of the content essentials to include on your website:
Take the time to create copy that informs, educates, and guides your audience. The length of your copy depends on the purpose of the page and your overall message, but a minimum of 300 words for the web is a good rule of thumb for SEO purposes. However, your primary focus should be quality, not quantity. Share interesting, relevant information that will be of value to your audiences. Statistics, research, and quotes are effective ways to add substance to your copy, and it’s essential to take the time to find high-quality images and graphics. Proofread thoroughly and have other team members review, as nothing can derail compelling copy and make a bad first impression like misspellings or punctuation errors. Be sure you are making the content easy to read by breaking it up into a list or using subheadings.
As you begin to write your content, it’s essential to speak the same language as your audience. Avoid using internal jargon, and instead, use verbiage that your audience will understand. If your audience is more technical, then you can use technical language in your content — but otherwise, you should stick to more straightforward language that will resonate with your audience and demonstrate your expertise in and familiarity with their industry. Apart from blog articles or other thought leadership content, your website content should be more conversational than formal. Write as if you were having a one-on-one conversation with a prospect or client and remember that your content is not about you but about your current and prospective clients and what you can do to help them.
Once you have established the type of content you need, it’s essential to organize it and develop a strategic schedule to accomplish it. Decide if you want to first focus on a specific persona, a specific industry, or a specific stage of the client lifecycle. After determining the type of content you want to create, begin to map out a schedule.
Your content should include the topics you will cover, how often you’ll be publishing, and the dates it will be published. It may be beneficial to plan out one quarter of the year at a time, or if you and your team have the resources go ahead and map out the entire year! Think of broad topics within your industry and create insights around them and build out topic clusters within each topic so you can use to break it down even more. A topic cluster is a group of content focused on a central topic.
For SEO purposes, make sure the word count hits 800 words at a minimum. You’ll also want to include trending relevant keywords for each piece of content.
Part of a content schedule includes developing a process for writing the content. It would be best if you assigned people in your firm to be responsible for contributing to the content. Look at the topics you plan to cover and identify people in your firm who are thought leaders in those areas. With the support of executive leadership, you can get technical experts to help you write content. If you don’t have the capacity within your company, then hire an agency or freelance copywriter that is dependable and diligent with deadlines. By clearly defining who is responsible for your firm’s content, there will be accountability, ensuring consistency with your publishing.
The key to having a solid web content strategy is keeping it relevant to your audiences. This means constantly evaluating and tracking the performance of all your content. Look at which pieces are being shared, which pages are getting the most views vs. those not gaining much traction, and how long visitors spend on each page. This will help determine where you resonate with your audiences and deliver valuable content and where you need to do things differently. Keep your website fresh and relevant with a defined strategy for creating new content moving forward.
Having a solid website content strategy is critical in today’s digital landscape, where search engine rankings and being discovered by prospects are driven by quality content. Not only will your content help people find your website, but the quality and relevance of your content will also make visitors stay and move through your site. By following these steps, you’re on a path to creating successful website content that will increase traffic and generate leads for your business.
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