You Need a Web Content Strategy

April 3, 2009

I am constantly amazed at the number of conversations I have with people regarding a strategy for their Internet marketing and web presence. When I read the experts, they all say the same thing – have a strategy, maintain a focus, write clear and interesting copy, and make sure you know what your target market needs. So why does it seem to be so difficult to achieve?

I believe that in general we do not think about the strategy early enough in the process.  You really want to begin devising a strategy when you are building, or updating, your web site.  The earlier you map out your goals, the better off you will be. I cannot tell you how many times a customer would have been better served to have retained the services of both the web designer and a web content writer early in the process, thereby ensuring that the web site was conducive to search engine optimization through copy and meta tags. Often I run into web designers who either do not employ SEO tactics, or believe that they can do everything needed on the back-end.  If you utilize an overall strategy, you will have better success in the search engines, and you will have compelling copy that speaks to your target market.

Building a strategy is not always easy. It requires you to think about where you want to be in the future, and know a significant amount about your target market.  By determining what you want to be when you grow up, you’ll have a solid foundation to build your business, and a better mix of online and offline marketing tactics.

So what is the first step? Write down exactly what you are doing and who you are selling to – and be very detailed.  If you are selling gutters, for example, list exactly what type of gutters and who benefits from them the most.  Remember that while the ultimate goal is to sell gutters, you cannot sell them without understanding what your target market wants.  Understanding your target market goes into everything you do – your web design, the information on the web, whether or not you will blog, write articles, what information you will impart to show your expertise, where you will “hang out” online to build relationships, and what the mix of online and offline marketing dollars will need to be in order to be successful.

A written strategy will provide you with a baseline from which to launch all your online marketing efforts. You must also track these efforts to determine their success. The Internet provides an inexpensive way to reach potential customers, but you will be much more successful if you work diligently from a strategy, execute diligently, and track and report regularly.

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