Do you have a website building or redesign project? Today, it is becoming increasingly easy to build a website, thanks to simple and intelligent management systems. Thanks to predefined themes, web design is now more accessible and tailor-made.
But how exactly do you stand out and deliver a unique and memorable user experience? How to stand out from the competition and make your mark?
Above all, any good project must have an effective content strategy.
I. Establish a Content Strategy as a Web Agency
Content strategy is a proven approach to creating customized content. There are tons of best practices on the web to read and if you ask a web agency to build your site there’s a good chance you’ll be told about a content strategy. When you build or redesign your website, a content strategy is an action plan that establishes a solid foundation in SEO and UX.
And, above all, it’s the best way to differentiate yourself.
Often assigned to specialized web consultants, you can define your content strategy independently. Like a content strategy specialist at a web agency, you need to follow these three steps:
- Identify customer relationship
- Optimize content with scenarios
- Create and customize your content
The purpose is multiple. A website to be considered “well done” must have good content that is easy to find (SEO), enjoyable and quick to read (UX and UI) and impactful to the user (information architecture). Thus, before design, this step allows you to create a contextual structure and an editorial guide that sets you apart. The rest will follow naturally.
This first step is often overlooked. However, before planning your site, you need to know how to ask yourself the right questions. Who are you ? what do you want? Why do this web project? These marketing questions are accessible to any business.
The difference today is that the web forces us to center our thoughts around the user. For this first step, clear the basics:
1) your goals
What are the goals for the user? To get the most impressive equipment possible, you need to know how to list the essentials. Example: It is useless to say ‘I want to generate leads’ because it does nothing for the user. Rather: ‘facilitating contact with a seller’. Thus, we understand that Contact is a primary call-to-action. This is a simple example, but even with more complex topics, this method tells you how to prioritize information quickly.
2) Your values
What are your values? What are the values that bring a plus for your users and customers?
3) Your UVP (Unique Value Proposition)
What is the service or offering you provide that is unbeatable? This exceptional offer should be clearly recognized on your site.
4) Your qualities
As a brand, what qualities do your customers value?
5) Your strength
As a company, what are the assets that allow you to be a leader in your field?
6) Your location
What is your situation and how close are you to the customer? This will be important in determining the strategy for adoption. Local, national or international market?
6) Your market
Finally, the critical question of markets can be deepened by taking inspiration from BCG* Matrix (Boston Consulting Group). This matrix is made up of a ‘value’ axis (where you already exist or not) and a ‘growth’ axis (where you think the market is growing or not). This matrix reveals four typical situations:
- Star or Star (high market share and strong growth)
- Cash cow (high market share and low growth)
- Dilemma (low market share and high growth)
- Deadweight (low market share and low growth)
You can apply this matrix to your business. And thus define your market position. The ‘Share’ axis corresponds to your strengths and weaknesses. The axis of growth refers to the needs of the market.
Segmentation of your market should be thought through in advance, it is better to avoid segmentation by geographic regions or industrial regions. Rather, you should look at your different markets as having so many user profiles. For example, each service developed by your company has a goal, which has its own consumption habits.
At the end of this exercise, you will be able to create a summary table for each segment, the ideal user profile and communication approach to use. If a profile does not emerge with respect to the Service or if the Service is ‘dead wait’, it will not be necessary to work on the content of the Site in this direction.
Once this method is implemented, you can start customizing your content.
Second. Best experience thanks to user scenarios
Now that we know our market, our strengths, and our customized offer, let’s move on to the ingredients. What to say, what to say and how to do? In order to optimize your website at its best, it is essential to adopt the right structure. And for that, it is useful to develop user scenarios and personalities.
I recommend not going too far in the study of individuals. In my opinion, it’s a bit more restrictive. You’re working with thousands of users, so keep it a little generic. Each user is unique. With the study of our previous section, you can chart an honest user journey.
Typical diagram of the user journey could be this. Start in a passive manner, then increasing interest, then piqued curiosity. The user then actively searches for, and implements the solution. Ultimately, in the ideal experience, the user becomes an ambassador by sharing the site with their network.
In general, the website is useful for someone actively seeking specific information. However, in some cases the material may be devoted to curious people. The importance here is to understand the need of the user and his condition, is he actively looking for something or is he just curious?
If your goal is to ‘generate leads’ and more specifically to facilitate interaction, then your structure should be thought of accordingly. Put the right segments in the right places on the user journey. Prioritize your messages.
The user landscape makes it possible to create an ideal path between a user’s visit to the site and his or her end goal. Let us take last, for example contact. Start with a Google search and imagine a user’s journey to your site to find the information. Based on the different profiles already determined, we can imagine very different routes.
The aim is for the user to reach their destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. That’s the goal. For this, trends are a good way to identify the content needed by most of the users. User scenarios establish various paths: entry, route, purpose. Then the structure is revealed.
Finally, given the extremely diverse needs of your audience, BCG Matrix is useful but only the user experience allows you to know what to say and how. Of course, you can address everyone at the same time, but it’s still better to tailor your messages according to the segment you want to attract.
All of this ultimately allows you to establish a solid sitemap and tree structure based on your content strategy.
III. Template to organize its content
Having a tree structure is already a great thing. But this is not enough.
Writing quality content will be essential. Even if you have an existing site, take the time to review everything. The content should be faithful to the new strategy adopted. To help, prepare templates by content type.
Usually, especially in a web agency, there is a zoning phase. Web zoning is the visual organization of a web page in a broad outline. In the same way, you need to zone your content:
Before the design phase, create your content. Templates will help you maintain structure and consistency. Always remember your goals, markets and priorities when writing, otherwise you will lose your user.
This approach gives you a foundation to write effective and relevant content. Of course, there are still some aspects to be worked on, including SEO.
Every detail matters!
A thoughtful and fast, customized and realistic content strategy will allow you to develop a project that reflects your image while being impactful. The goal is to mark the spirits, challenge and retain the user. Nothing should be left for this. Every detail matters! Content strategy, SEO optimization, authentic content, to set you apart from your competitors and bring you real added value. Follow the right methods and use the right tools!
Alex McCardell, International Digital Strategist
I have been supporting companies in their web and digital strategy for over 20 years with an international B2B expertise.