Content Strategy

What Is Content Strategy?

Content strategy involves identifying the type of content (words, photographs, graphics, forms) that will best help you communicate your department’s most important messages and achieve your department’s goals.

It combines writing, organizing and prioritizing copy and placing it in a navigational structure that will guide users to what they seek on your site, and what you want them to find and do on your site.

Your site content is just as important, if not more important than its design, and it must reflect the strategic objectives of your department, as well as the university as a whole.

Without a strategy  – a goal –  for your program's web pages, you will be simply creating a lot of content that no one really needs or wants. As a university content manager, you are the filter on the fire hose. You set priorities for what the Web user will experience.

Questions to Ask as You Develop Your Content Strategy

  • What is the goal of your site? What strategic objectives of your department are you expecting your site to help accomplish?
  • What are the key themes and messages you want to convey – both about your department and the university?
  • Who are your most important audiences?
  • What do those audiences seek on your site or your pages? What do you want them to find?
  • Does your existing content address your site‘s goals as well as what your audiences want to see and do on your site?
  • What is the most important content on your current site or pages, and is it easy to find that content?

Helpful Content Strategy Tips for Your Web Pages

After creating or editing for your site content that conveys your department’s or program's key messages and serves the needs of your audiences, there are several follow-up steps to ensure your website is effective.

  • Review your content at least once a month. Websites that retain their audiences require fresh content. Your web administrator should develop a schedule for updating content, including photographs. For most sites, an editorial calendar will help.
    Example: Admissions recruitment cycle affects content on site.
  • Make your content web-friendly by adjusting writing style. Offer small chunks of information that are easily digestible by readers with short attention spans. Structure your page to facilitate scanning and help users ignore large portions of the page in a single glance.
    Example: Use grouping and subheads to break long lists into smaller units.
  • Track your website's traffic. Contact csmith@western.edu to request an analytics report. Examine the traffic flow through your program's web pages. Try to figure out what is effective or helpful content and what can might improve your web visitors‘ experience.
  • Drive traffic to your pages. Consider various marketing vehicles, such as email newsletters, printed materials, advertising, etc. A direct link to your pages from the home or landing page should not be the only way to find your departmental pages. Add links to a key page or pages in your email signature. Add events to the calendar, with links to your program‘s web pages. Create news about exciting happenings, awards, promotions, student activities, etc., relevant to your department or program.
  • Include multimedia. Once your core content is in place, consider additional types of content to give your audiences a fuller experience and keep them coming back.
    Examples: video, slideshows, “ask a question,” “share your story.”