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Three weeks ago I wrote about “Why You Need A Content Strategy“. I touched on why it’s so important to have one and how not having one affects your site’s development and maintenance. I will now share the phases of Content Strategy and what to do in each of them.
There are three main phases of a Content Strategy: development, publishing and maintenance. They are each incredibly important both on their own and in relation to the other phases. Failure to fully engage in one phase and the others will subsequently be hindered. Let’s take a look at the three phases and how you can begin utilizing them:
Development could be considered the most important because it sets the message of your site. This is where you decide just what you want to tell your site visitors. Make your life much easier and set up guidelines now that you can follow down the road. Otherwise you’ll find in the maintenance phase, as content gets added and removed, there won’t be a clear message and purpose to your site.
After you have settled on what your site’s key theme and message are, determine what content is going to need to be developed and where it will come from. Perhaps some already exists on a previous version of your site or on print pieces that can be repurposed. Maybe some will need to be written. For any new content you will need to determine who is responsible for developing it.
Publishing deals with taking the content you have developed and placing it onto your site. Where on the site will it go and how will it get there? You will need to determine what the different sections of your site are and what content should go into each. This is the easiest phase because if you have set guidelines from the development phase you should know exactly what message you want to deliver. From there it’s just as simple as publishing the right content to fit that message.
It is in this phase that you will spend the most time. You have developed and published your content but you’re not done yet. Soon you are going to need to go back and review the content on your site. Is there any new content that could be added to keep the site fresh? How about any content that is now outdated and should be removed? This is an ongoing process that you should go through at least once every couple of weeks. You may find all the content is current and should remain.
This is also where you plan for the future. As your company grows and changes, so should your site. Take a look down the road and consider what content you might add later.
As you can see, the above phases are cyclical by design. After the content is developed it is published and then maintained. While you are maintaining the content that is currently available on your site you’re also thinking of new content to develop. This keeps your site relevant to both your site visitors and to search engines. Remember, content is king and having a Content Strategy in place gives it the proper treatment it deserves and sets your site up to succeed where others fail.