Content requires management. Think about it, not only do you have various types of content in your arsenal, from social to website content and beyond, you also have content creators to oversee, distribution to consider and who owns which parts of the process. A well thought out content management strategy is all but mandatory for keeping things organized to ensure that you’re delivering exactly what your audience wants, when they want it.
What is a content management strategy? Our definition
Also known as a content management plan, our content management strategy definition in a nutshell would be this; it’s the way in which you or your company go about organizing, planning, creating and ultimately publishing content to better meet your business objectives.
Why having a website content management strategy is important
Strategy is of course critical to every part of your business and how to manage website content is no exception. An effective plan can, among other things, help you improve your content creation workflow, boost SEO and enhance the overall user experience of your website.
Let’s dig a little deeper into why content strategy is important.
The way in which you work has a trickle down on everything else and directly informs the results and a key element in any of your content marketing efforts is to make sure you manage content effectively. That means all aspects that your content team is involved with, from concept to distribution, or the whole lifecycle. Managing every step in the content production operation ensures you’re able to build in efficiencies along the way and trim the fat from the process.
A crucial element of a content marketing strategy is consistency and a natural byproduct of a properly managed content workflow is the ability to be precise and forward thinking with your publishing. What that entails in practical terms is developing a content calendar, sometimes referred to as an editorial calendar depending on the industry. Creating great content is essential, getting it out there regularly creates dependability and can eventually put you in a position of authority as a topic expert.
This is all the more important if your site or app is one that gets updated regularly like a news outlet or blog.
As far as content management strategies go, consistency is a hallmark of all of them.
Sharpen information architecture
By not actively managing your content you risk losing the forest for the trees. What does that mean? It means you’re not seeing the big picture across your entire site. Focusing on a single piece of content is fine for your writers and content creators but having an overarching handle on how all of those content assets relate and interlink is what shapes the information architecture on your site. Without developing a strategy to oversee and develop content, it’s much harder to maintain the focus of that content and understand how it fits within the broad structure. A competent content strategist can therefore bring order and focus to your IA which translates to more time spent on your site, more conversions or whatever your business goals are.
If good content can’t be found by your target audience, does the quality really matter? Marketers need eyeballs and search engine optimization is how they get them, but stellar SEO isn’t an accident, it’s intentional. A well planned and executed content strategy involves getting the right content in front of the right people with SEO content planning.
Make content more effective
Lastly, and simply put; all of the above serves to help you and your team create genuinely effective content and a clear message. Whether it’s landing pages, social media posts, podcasts, webinars or any other type of content you’re putting out there, managing the process around it allows you to deliver more value to your visitors.
Our content management strategy framework
Now that you know the "why" of having a content strategy process, the "how" is the next step. Developing a framework for managing content strategy allows you to systematically implement and optimize website content best practices as you go.
First things first, what’s the point of the content you’re aiming to create? Don’t just start pumping out new content all willy-nilly. Gather the relevant stakeholders and talk about the business goals that the content should help you achieve and then set some measurable goals so you can track progress towards them.
Create with purpose otherwise you’ll end up with a chaotic, haphazard patchwork of content that doesn’t have an overall direction. That can damage credibility and lead to some poor SEO results.
Setting goals also helps you begin to answer this fundamental question; how should the content be organized so it’s clear what’s most important? You’ll refine that organization as you move through the following steps.
Define your target audience
Who are you making content for?
Set aside time to truly understand your user/buyer personas and what they’re looking for. Recognize and acknowledge their pain points and the solutions they’re after, then create towards them.
Creating content because you think your audience craves it instead of doing the research and producing what really aligns with their needs can be the kiss of death.
Content is always about the audience, so define yours and allow them to in turn define the rest of your web content strategy.
The relevant keywords will start to trickle in from your target audience analysis but that’s not quite enough. You need to do deeper research and uncover more than just the big ticket keywords; you want all the less frequently searched ones and those juicy long-tail keywords as well in order to create content that covers all the bases.
The more you know your audience the easier it is to find the keywords that make your website content plan tick. There are plenty of free and paid tools out there to help you get the job done.
Understand the competitive landscape
Content marketers worth their salt know that what the competition is doing matters for what you do. Explore the field and get an understanding of who’s producing what, who’s ranking for which keywords and start identifying any possible content gaps that you can exploit. Content management best practices demand it.
Do a content audit
With your audience locked in, keyword research in hand and a thorough comprehension of what your competition is up to, it’s now time to look inward and run a content audit.
Knowing what you have helps you pinpoint what you don’t. Competitor research can show you gaps in the market while an audit clues you into gaps in your own content ecosystem as well as how your content is performing.
In fact, you may very well have pertinent content that just needs some updates and adjustments to do better. Moreover, knowing exactly what you have in the bank helps you plan content well into the future.
Determine the types of content and distribution channels
What’s the importance of choosing the appropriate content for your website?
Well for starters, not all companies need to create all types of content, nor are all distribution channels created equal. Digital marketing is a very wide space and determining what you create is really based on who it’s for. Accordingly, where you release it relates to your audience’s demographics and where they spend their time online.
For some it could be video content and the platform of choice might be YouTube or TikTok depending on the topic and audience. For others it could be blogs, webinars or courses and beyond. The previous steps will help lead you to the appropriate channel.
Produce and publish content
Finally, it’s time to actually make the content because you can’t have a content strategy without content. And as you’ve likely gathered by now, doing it right takes time and effort.
Anyone can cobble together some content and put it out but without getting all your ducks in a row your content won’t have nearly as much impact or reach as it could.
Once you’re finished with your glorious new content, it’s onto publishing and that’s where your content management system comes into play. You’ve got a lot of options in this arena; HubSpot, Drupal, Joomla to name a few but the big dawg of the CMS world is undoubtedly WordPress and the good news is that whichever you choose, Slickplan has a plugin that lets you import to it.
Create a content calendar
We talked about the value of consistency earlier as it relates to dependability and credibility and it bears repeating; be consistent. The best way to ensure that you’re releasing content regularly is to plan for it…and the best way to do that is to create a content calendar.
Analyze the results and refine
The end of the road isn’t publication, it’s analysis and adjustment. In that sense then you could say there really isn’t an end to this process, it’s all about continuous improvement and there are a couple compelling reasons as to why that’s the case. One, new information may necessitate updates or new content altogether and, two, Google’s algorithm is constantly in flux so you need to be nimble in adapting in order to stay high in the SERPs. So pop open Google Analytics and start looking through the metrics that matter to you.
Website content strategy examples
How does that strategic framework we detailed translate to the real world? What does it look like in practice? Let’s take a look at some examples from a few brands that are slaying it with their content strategy.
Their content strategy is all about action and never about explicitly selling an energy drink. It’s purely experience-based – to embody energy and excitement. At this point Red Bull goes hand-in-hand with unique events, extreme sports and pushing the limits.
If it’s adrenaline pumping, Red Bull is there.
For example, through ingeniously choreographed, slick high-end videos that are perfectly suited to their target audience, and sometimes with very little actual Red Bull branding, they’ve grown their YouTube channel to over 10 million subscribers.
While Wendy’s may be the king of fast food social media, a great example of content strategy in its own right, we’ll focus on the Home of the Whopper here.
Burger King leveled up their content strategy in recent years, focusing on being in the moment in all ways to keep up with their audience. How so? With a goal to boost app downloads, Burger King created the “Whopper Detour” campaign which required people to download their app, be within 600 feet of a McDonald’s location when ordering from BK and they’d be sent a voucher for a 1 cent Whopper. It resulted in 1.5 million downloads.
They also did an augmented reality campaign in Brazil that had people “burn” competitor ads through their app to get a free Whopper, the idea being to encourage more app downloads– by using the advertising of their competition.
When rival McDonald’s lost the trademark to Big Mac in the European Union in 2019, Burger King in Sweden immediately capitalized on it by trolling the competition and changing their menu to include items like “The Big Mac-ish but flame-grilled of course” and “The kind of like a Big Mac, but juicier and tastier”.
Managing website content is important but before you can manage it, you have to create it. Enter Canva. Their rise has been nothing short of meteoric – launching in 2012, they now have over 60 million monthly active users – and they filled a clear (well, clear in retrospect) gap in the marketplace by making content creation and design easier and more accessible.
The growth was backed by a content strategy but for the sake of brevity we’ll focus on just one element here; how they grew their Design School blog.
Fortunately, Canva themselves have written about the specifics of what they did, providing invaluable insight into the process. It can be summed up as follows:
- Optimizing for SEO, not for social
- Creating evergreen content
- Establishing an editorial cadence of publishing every working day
According to their former Head of Growth who put the plan in motion, everything boiled down to a shift in how they approached their content, all starting with deep research. Knowing what to create led them to these changes:
- Longer posts
- Inspirational posts
- Varied content types
- Free resources
- Proactive list building
Within 60 days they grew traffic by 226.47%.
Download our content management strategy template
Web content management strategy is very much a managed process and to get the most out of it requires some genuine effort. Having a plan and executing it are different things and a template makes both easier because you can see it all laid out in front of you. Having a clear framework encourages productivity, increases predictability of output and, critically, adds accountability.
Try our free content management strategy template, all you’ll need to keep things in order. To use this template follow the instructions below:
- Click to open the content management strategy template in Google Sheets
- Choose File > Make a copy to save to your own Google Drive
- Or select File > Download > Microsoft Excel (.xlsx) to download
Our conclusion on content strategy for the web
The big thing to walk away with is that the content management process and the strategy behind it is imperative in getting your content to sing. It’s your guide to controlling an operation that has so many disparate pieces and parts. Think of it as a road trip; creating content without a strategy is like choosing a destination but not using a map or having a plan of how to get there. Sure, you might be heading in the right direction but you’ll inevitably make wrong turns and waste time along the way. With proper strategy and a content management plan to implement it, you can optimize the route and get where you’re going more efficiently.