If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.
Why does our website exist? How is our blog adding value to people? What is our social media actually contributing to the big picture mission of our organisation?
A stark realisation has been slowly sinking in for many organisations in recent years: we’ve embraced the technology that allows us to become digital publishers — but we don’t really, truthfully, know why.
Driven by the need to keep up with the times, we unquestioningly dived head-first into using the web, without first establishing in-detail how, and to whom it will add value.
Like a ship at sea, we’ve been swept along by the winds of change into a great ocean of possibility. The newness of the landscape has felt exciting. But there’s only so long we can set the sails to nowhere in particular, before we look out into the horizon and realise we’ve lost sight of land.
We can’t get to where we need to be before we know where it is we’re going, and why. A web content strategy is what provides us with land to set the sails towards.
Step one is making sense of our existing environment. Creating a meaningful vision for your content channels starts with a thorough discovery phase to get a sense of the big picture and unveil key needs. A typical web content discovery project should involve:
- A content audit to establish what you’ve got, and whether it’s any good.
- User research to properly understand and empathise with the people you’re serving, and how to serve them properly.
- Staff stakeholder interviews to understand the various business needs of content – the wider strategy, goals and outcomes that content needs to meaningfully contribute to.
- Competitor analysis to benchmark content output against others in the field, identifying opportunities to differentiate ourselves.
It’s not easy work, and it takes a lot of time and resources to gather and interpret these insights. For that reason, very few organisations bother themselves with the hassle, before jumping straight to tactics (“let’s go build that website!”).
But making the effort to do this work will automatically give you an edge over your competitors: a clear, achievable, and meaningful vision for your digital content channels.
Or: knowing to which port you’re sailing.