4 Steps to Consider When Creating a Content Strategy
Here are four steps marketers should consider when creating their content strategy:
1. Create Strong Brand Positioning in Your Market
Defining your business in the space in which it operates is a critical first step in creating an impactful user experience. In order to do this, you must identify your brand’s key differentiators. This is not an endless list of 100 brand qualities you believe are interesting to customers. Choose one to three defined differentiators that focus on what truly makes your brand unique and identifiable. At the end of the day, providing a distinctive offering starts with deciding what brand perspectives or product/service features distinguish you from the pack. And if done right, your user experience will ultimately set you apart from the competition. All website content should demonstrate and attest to these core differentiators.
2. Bring Your Brand to Life with a Compelling Story
Your website should be treated like a storybook, with landing pages that act as a table of contents for what is housed within the corresponding sections of the site. This starts with quick indicators that highlight the subjects and themes that will be covered. In other words, each main page is a trailer to each chapter in the story, offering an idea of what users can expect within, with short compelling content previews. The primary narrative should stay on point, emphasizing what defines your brand. Each page should include just enough content to capture the audience’s interest and encourage engagement without overwhelming, confusing or driving away the end user.
3. Support That Story With Proof Points
Customers don’t want to read what a brand has to say about itself — they want authentic messages backed by tried and tested proof. Often, customers prefer to rely on their own experiences, doing business with brands they know, like and trust. Instead of saturating your website, focus on content that evidences your brand value from a customer-centric perspective. The key is not to overcomplicate your proof. In fact, with an increased reliance on mobile and shortening attention spans, time is not on your side for engaging users. Strong proof points may include data and statistics, easy-to-interpret visuals (infographics) or short narratives (such as thoughtful testimonials). Remember that all content should be relevant to your story while providing insight and value back to your audience.
4. Success is in Simplicity
Everyone loves a simple site, but how do you design one without losing vital information? The key to creating a successful site is easier than many think — once you’ve defined the content that you need, do an audit and reduce it down to its essence. This means that every page of website content should be vital. How do you know if you are on track? Users should be able to quickly scan and understand headlines and summary content should be no longer than 2-3 sentences. As a rule of thumb, every web page should have one clear takeaway — if there is content on the page that doesn’t support it, remove it. Don’t forget to also tailor your content to all audiences, whether they are looking for a bite (e.g. quick visit), a snack (e.g. looking for more information) or a meal (e.g. doing deeper research, hoping to engage).
Mimi Young is the co-founder of Behavior Design, an award-winning boutique interactive design studio whose roster of clients has included HBO, JPMorgan Chase and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.