Most digital marketers have a content strategy they would confidently defend and rightly so. Content strategies ensure there’s always something new and useful on your site for visitors and define how that content will be promoted.

The main problem with this is that something that probably started off with all the best intentions can quickly become lip service and a chore.

Keeping it fresh and relevant is a challenge.

A ‘content strategy’ is not a new idea. Although today there is an increased emphasis on its value, a content strategy derives from the old adage that great content is rarely created by chance.

I often hear marketers talking a about a website or content destination as a ‘house’ and, while this is useful, I think many need to think more about how content is what you add to make a house a home.

If you think of your audience as the people who come by for a visit, the content on your site is what makes them want to come back and visit you again.

It would be easy to say that every marketer needs a sound digital content strategy but that does nothing to help anyone seeking to improve an existing strategy. The question is where do you start, what would be most useful to your customers and how do you deliver that information in the most effective way possible?

Spend time on your site

The value of spending time on your site cannot be overestimated. The more time you spend on your site, the better your knowledge of what makes it special will be.

It is near impossible to create a site visitors will want to return to without being a regular user of the site yourself. Put yourself in their shoes. Just like in a real house, if it is merely a place to lay your head and hang your coat, then it will never mean more to you than a basic coat rack.

Make the most of all your pages

To get the most out of your content strategy, you have to make full use of the whole site and not just the ‘obvious’ pages.

Quite often you find a website with lots of great content on the homepage but a severe deficiency the further you delve into the site. Not using all the pages on your site would be the same as buying a massive house with a large kitchen and king size bedroom but sleeping, eating and cooking in the front room.

It is important to make useful information available to you visitors at every turn

Listen and get involved in existing conversations

The term ‘engagement’ is bandied around by marketers all the time these days. And engaging on networks like Twitter and Facebook is relatively straightforward. But engagement on your own website is equally important and is, in many cases, much harder.

But a site that does a good job of engaging visitors will achieve far greater results. This could be as simple as including dynamic content such as Twitter feeds or it could involve having a regularly updated blog with lots of comments. So, put the welcome mat out, stick the kettle on and make your home feel alive.

The true test of any content strategy is whether or not it facilitates the consistent delivery of information your customers find interesting, engaging and useful. And if it is true that a house in which nobody lives is nobody’s home, the aim would not only be to attract visitors but to provide something that will make them want to come back for more.


Published 28 May, 2012 by Rob McLeod

Rob McLeod is Head of Planning at Realise Digital and a guest blogger on Econsultancy. 

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Comments (6)

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Website Content

Totally agree! The web has been massively changing in the last 15 months. Maturing in many ways thanks to revised approaches from Google in terms of the Panda and Penguin updates. Putting the focus exactly where it should be, on the user experience. The win/win which is possible with the creation of high quality content is awesome. So great to see that view being backed up! Great piece! :)

about 6 years ago


Wayne Blodwell

Good article, and a very nice analogy.

I would say that some advertisers are geared up for a strategical content approach, whilst others aren't. It all depends on their key audience.

For example a Finance client may just want to use their 'Home' as a location for users to be able to understand their offering, rather than including dynamic/social content. There's often already enough content out there in certain sectors.

about 6 years ago

Trisha Brandon

Trisha Brandon, Head of Content & Community at BLOOM Worldwide

I like your analogy, Rob. And I'd add that a content strategy for a branded site alone is missing a trick. If an on-site content strategy makes a house a home, an integrated content strategy makes a home part of a village.

The ideal being a strategic foundation on which all activity is planned, so that users get a consistent experience at all touchpoints. It also allows brands to get more out of their content investment while making the most of each platform's unique benefits, whether social spaces, eMail, brochures, branded website, etc.

about 6 years ago

Edward Armitage

Edward Armitage, Senior Consultant at Practicology

Great article, and relevant to any website...

With ecommerce sites we see an obsessive focus on optimising category/product/checkout pages while static/informational pages are largely ignored.

Periodically reviewing and optimising 'soft' touchpoints such as a Returns Policy page can yield small but significant conversion rate increases, yet they are usually left untouched for months or even years on end!

about 6 years ago

Philip Allen

Philip Allen, Studio Director at D. Agency

Love these analogies Rob, especially the difference between a house and a home.

We’ve all been in situations where pitches started with great gusto but soon ran out of steam when the client became increasingly comfortable with a low cost basic framework to just stick words and pictures in.

“Content Strategy? Why do I need to bother with that?” they say.

We follow any lost leads up after 12-months to see how things are getting on. The answer is always the same that the site didn’t deliver the panacea that was expected and the reason can nearly always be put down to poor, irrelevant and insignificant content.

I’m always looking for interesting ways to get the point across. Well done.

about 6 years ago

James Perrin

James Perrin, Digital Communications Specialist at Feefo

I really love this analogy Rob, because it's so true. When it comes to content, we have to create something that users will actually want to share and engage with, that's where we can judge it's true value. One of the comments on here said it's a win/win - this is also true as the user experience will improve as a result, so we can look forward to better content on the web. I read somewhere that as marketers we are no longer content interrupters, but rather content creators, and your point sums up exactly what we should be doing to help facilitate that.

about 6 years ago

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