Web Content Strategy: Value, Freshness & Flow

Big iIf you’re thinking about your business web content strategy, hooray! If not, there’s no time like the present; entrepreneurs simply can’t afford to neglect strategy.

The Web is always changing and as it gets more crowded, quality content is quickly becoming a key differentiator. Most entrepreneurs realize that posting new content draws more search engine attention to your site and that search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of any content strategy. But before you even go there it’s vital to ask (over and over again) “how is this content serving my goals?” When there is no clear answer, there is no good reason to spend your time and energy on it.

Whether you have a website, blog, both, or are getting started on the social web, producing content just to jump on the bandwagon will inevitably waste your time and energy. I like to talk to our clients about creating a content strategy that focuses on their target audiences and incorporates value, freshness, and flow. The Web is a crowded place with so much useless information it can make your head spin—at the same time it’s the best learning tool and resource around. Ah, paradox.

Adding value for your target audience/s should be the starting point. If you’re not sure who your target audiences are on the web, don’t make another move until you figure it out.

People who use the web can be categorized in an almost infinite number of ways, the trick is to name and define the groups that you need to reach to grow your business. Where are they on the Web? Which social networks do they use? Which communities do they care about? No matter how you define your audiences, the most important thing is to meet them where they are, and that means getting your content in front of them where they already spend time.

Bringing valuable, timely, actionable, thought-provoking information to your target audiences not only makes you look good, but it sets the ground work for them to seek you out on your own web properties in the future. Spend some time mapping out important topics for your audiences; include industry trends, news-worthy happenings like conferences and awards, build on shared cultural events like holidays or the World Cup, and don’t forget to incorporate relevant movements that are shaping the way we live—like going green and coping with a slowly recovering economy.

Keep your content fresh by bringing your audiences ideas, insights, and timely information that they can use and hopefully thank you for indirectly by sharing it with their networks. Then do it all over again. Consistently.

Having a content flow involves cycling similar content through your web properties so that more people have a chance to benefit from your work—including you! For example, set up a service to send your newly posted blog posts out through your Twitter account, have LinkedIn pull them into your stream there, and then post them on your Facebook Fan page too. There lots of options out there and whichever ones you choose make sure to take the time to think through the logistics and implications.

Your content strategy should always be grounded in your business web presence strategy and goals while keeping your target audiences’ needs front and center. And  remember, without a web content strategy you’re just churning out content.

Originally published in Wisepreneur an online business magazine.