Guest post: What’s your Content Strategy? (You have one, right?)
David Lufkin is a financial writer and Internet marketing manager whom I’ve gotten to know through some interesting exchanges in LinkedIn Groups. He has been generous with input when I’ve posted questions, which encouraged me to ask him to guest-blog for me. David explains below how answering five key questions can help you create a content strategy that will help your website support and build your business.
What’s your Content Strategy? (You have one, right?)
By David Lufkin
Content strategy is a hot topic for people who run large websites, and includes complex tactical concerns such as search engine optimization and user metrics. If you’re an advisor with any size site, having at least a basic content strategy is essential and should include delivery of email and paper marketing as well.
If you like and use a website regularly, it’s probably because of a solid content strategy driven only by what you (the targeted user) want. Remember that online, content is more than words – it includes site navigation and design elements, with colors, images, and page layout all working together. This may seem obvious, but as users, we click right past websites that don’t immediately give us exactly what we want in an attractive format. We need to sense immediately that there is content of interest to us before we will dig further.
For your own site, having a content strategy means having a valid business purpose for everything on the site and an efficient user experience with no loose or dead ends.
When I was in advisor sales training years ago, I learned about the four “boxes” of activity and how they related to a practice. The idea of course is to focus on the activities in the first box, because the other three don’t build the practice, and those activities should have less priority or even be hired out.
Content strategy is similar. You only want content on your site or in electronic or paper communications that focuses on building and sustaining your business. Everything else must go. I mean travel tips and meatloaf recipes – any information that is readily available from other sources. No one, especially your clients, will miss irrelevant content. They want to know about YOU and how you can help THEM.
Web professionals can read books and attend seminars about the fascinating process that is content strategy. If you own your website, you can keep it simple. Make a short list of the content that you can’t live without and make sure that you don’t bother with anything else. If I was a successful financial advisor, this is what would be on my list, and it would serve as a filter for everything I post on my site. (I like the 5 W approach I was taught as a high school journalist.)
- Who I am and how I can be contacted
- What I offer my clients including timely updates
- Why I do what I do and how it benefits my clients
- Where I deliver my practice (in person, phone, online)
- When we need to work together (regularly)
It’s become easier over the years to build a functioning website. But developing a manageable content strategy, especially with search optimization, usually requires getting some input from someone who does it for a living. Done right, your content strategy will help keep you and your clients focused on the right things.
Excellent post: thank you Susan and David! I especially like that, in addition to addressing verbal content, David Lufkin emphasizes the user experience and the design components involved in creating an “attractive format.”