For a moment, view your website without the words, images, videos, audio, embedding applications, or even raw data. How does it look and feel now? Empty, inanimate, useless and worthless! Well that sums up the value of web content. That being said, you cannot fill your website with just anything. The content that you place and distribute on the World Wide Web must have a purpose, which can be to build branding, drive online sales, simply deliver information to visitors, or a combination of all of these. When content falls short of these goals, it is nothing but noise. So what differentiates meaningful, relevant, and goal-oriented content from noise? The answer is: a strategic content plan.
“What is the content plan? Do I have one for my website?”
The question is obvious, unless you are an online marketer who spends hours mapping digital marketing campaigns. Simply put, the content plan is a model of what content you post online, when, on what platform, for whom, and for what purpose. The other experts can add to the definition to broaden its scope, but the essence is drawn in this single sentence. Now, addressing the last part of your question, “Do I have one for my website?”; Well, if you have a documented plan for the content you post on the internet, your answer is yes. Otherwise you still need one.
“Okay! I don’t have a content plan and I don’t think I need one either.”
That is a common perception and there is nothing wrong if you feel the same way. However, please answer these questions to see if there is a position change regarding your Content Plan claim.
Are you happy with the cost per visitor you extract from your website?
Do you remember who published the last web page / blog post on your website?
Is your Facebook Page “Like” and “Comments” count skyrocketing?
Do you plan and analyze online content alongside other marketing content?
The 4 straightNo (s)‘or even 3 of them, it’s a revelation: a content plan is required.
“Okay! Suggest me a content plan then!”
To get a content plan that is tailored exactly to your business requirements, you can seek help from the professionals who are experts in web content development. In case you want to do it yourself, here’s a rundown of the entire content planning process.
“How do I start?”
For a new website, start content planning when you’re done with user research. In case you already own a website without a content strategy, the process can be divided into the following general stages.
- Network research
It is about identifying the online networks and communities where brands like you are discussed so that you can listen to the traffic and develop appropriate content.
- User Research
What do users want? The best way is to ask. Conducting informal research and getting friends and acquaintances to answer your survey questions can be a good way to investigate users if you are alone.
- Content Profiles
What type of content is a hit with users of a particular online platform, network, or community? Content profiling involves analyzing available content from similar brands to develop engaging content in the form of text, images, audio, videos, applications, and the like.
- Content scheduling
An integrated content calendar is a must for a successful digital marketing campaign. It involves scheduling content releases on various platforms. Articles, blogs, tweets, Facebook status updates, and all other types of content are planned in advance and adapted with trends and seasonality in mind.
- Content generation and sourcing
This is the most demanding part and involves the combined efforts of content strategists, editors, writers, data analysts, and user behavior specialists. You can order specialized content such as video, infographic, mobile applications, etc. and serve users with valuable and relevant material. Linking to third-party content and directing visitors to useful content is another smart way to use the best content available on the subject.
Most content, if not distributed, at the right time in the right space, will rot and eventually lose value to the user. Search engine optimization, social media optimization, syndication, paid search and content association techniques play a determining role in how well content circulates on exploitable channels.
- Audit and Measurement
You need to audit and measure the results of your content marketing efforts. It provides deep insight into how target users are influenced and how positive they are about the content, which will eventually govern any necessary modifications.
Hopefully, all these details about the content plan will guide you in an effective content strategy and help make your website bigger and better.