Content is king, and Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach are the queens of the kingdom. Content Strategy for the Web defined the practice as we now know it, and the book is essential reading for anyone who publishes anything online. When a book about content on the web has a foreword from the content person at Facebook, you kind of know you’re onto a winner.
So, what is a content strategy?
Design makes a website useable. Content makes it useful. Content strategy makes sure that your content is the best it can be, not just the last-minute ‘bung it up and it’ll be fine’ sort of thing you’re probably used to.
Every website depends on content, from the text in the navigation bar to the contact us page and via a whole architecture of web pages. How all this content fits together – and how useful it is for the reader – is down to your content strategy.
What does a content strategy look like and why do I need one?
The authors argue early on that content strategy should be practised in every organisation that publishes content to the web. Don’t have the time? Make it. Your content strategy should be your priority. If you don’t have one already, start right now. It will include things like this:
- Your objectives – what does your content need to achieve?
- Your content team, and the wider stakeholders
- An audit of the content you already have
- Analysis of why that content isn’t working
- How to make better content
- How to make sure content doesn’t get forgotten about
It will include content components (substance and structure), people components (your workflow, your governance), and a core strategy – the driving ethos that lies at the centre of everything you create. All of this is explained in clear detail, along with case studies and examples, and it’s delivered in a chatty, upbeat style. The sort of style that can get anything done.