In short, we believe YES, ABSOLUTELY you should. Whilst you can get away with building a website and then deciding on how to market it afterwards, why not get ahead of the game from the day of launch? Square pegs in round holes simply do not fit and neither should content be forced into a template a stakeholder in your business has chosen somewhere.
Content exposure is getting extremely competitive, so how is yours going to stand out and eek out every bit of that value that it truly deserves?
Service and Product Pages
Your content is key to telling the world about yourself and what your business has to offer. So, having it as an afterthought to your online marketing strategy simply isn't good enough. A few questions to consider in the infancy of a new website are:
What is your SEO strategy for bottom of the funnel search queries?
Your website needs to be optimised in the right way to send clear messages to search engines. Here are few check points:
- Are your key pages structured so that their folder levels are close to your TLD?
- Are your key products and services included in the navigation if possible?
- Will your key pages have enough internal links to them to help crawlers reach them easily?
- Do you need supporting pages to give the user more information but also capture more traffic?
- Are you going to be able to edit your content easily and will it be high enough on the page to distinguish its importance?
How much copy is going to be on these pages?
Do you need any? And if so, where and how long are we expecting it to be on the page? If the copy is done first, then the design knows where it stands. The negotiations on this may begin after the copy is done ;).
What's the tone of the content and how is design going to match your message?
It's so important for brands to communicate their message effectively to get buy in from their customers. If your content strategist has significantly different views from the stakeholders responsible for the website, this could ruin everything. So, make sure your visions are aligned.
Are the key messages clear?
Copy can increase conversion, so the key messages need to stand out. Some users may skim over content that isn't presented well and completely miss a nugget of information that seals the deal. ConversionXL give some good insight on these types of messages and how important they are.
Are images key to selling your product?
Some products and services are image led. This is usually discovered by testing, but a lot of the time it’s obvious that your product aesthetics are the key selling point. If so, are images prominent and flexible enough to change?
Who is your target audience?
Some businesses have a range of products and services suited to different *personas*. If so, what is your current knowledge of your target audience and the best way to engage these different 'buckets' of users
What is the goal of the content?
Do you want the user to add to basket/checkout/become a lead/share you on Facebook? Whatever it may be and however your customers journey through the sales process look, are you factoring this in as much as possible? All roads here should lead to goals.
What are your competitors doing?
Even though you should be original, your competitors can give you a great insight into what is working well in your area. We would suggest looking at brands that are prominent through PPC. Often these brands have invested a lot of money into converting their clicks, so you can muster ideas from them and save yourself some time and money. A caveat to this is “don't take it as gospel, test it and stay original and authentic”.
Blog and Content Strategy
How are you directing users back into your core products and services?
Users may land on your content through search engines and social media, but how are you keeping them aware of your offering? This can be done in a number of ways like internal linking, related products, any current offers you have and these elements being on the page. Keep interruption to a minimum and let your product cause curiosity and stay in a user’s mind.
Is your blog clearly split into different stages of the buying cycle and personas?
Appeal to your users through personalisation and content they would be interested in. Don't place your content in product reviews if the content is purely an entertaining piece designed to drive a message or brand awareness.
Is your blog adaptable to house different types of content (long form/short form commentary/infographics or imagery)?
There’s no point in having a content strategy based around imagery and easily digestible information if your page squeezes content to give a bad user experience. If you are taking a long form approach, are you enabling your reader to become immersed in the content and placing CTAs in the appropriate places?
Is part of your strategy going to be based around ranking organically for informational queries?
With ranking 0 being a very effective way to gain traffic at the moment, are you ensuring that all the elements needed for this are present. There is emerging research on this topic, but content answering a H1 high on a blog post or a page and structuring your paragraphs correctly with schema has got to be high on the list.
How does your content perform on mobile?
This applies to most of the above but with mobile searches continuing to rise, how is your content optimised for mobile? Are you giving your users a good experience on their phones and making it easy to digest information?
These are just a few areas where we feel that your content strategy should inform the build of your website. We’d love to hear your thoughts on any more you may have or even if you disagree.