This scenario may sound familiar. A client wants a complete refresh of their website because it’s outdated and underperforming. You present an RFP to the client, and everything is going well until they come across the line item for content strategy. “What’s this,” they ask, puzzled. You explain the purpose and function of content strategy and the client responds, “Oh, we’ll do that ourselves” and ask for the line item and related quote be eliminated from the RFP. Months later, the website launches—and continues to underperform.
What the client sees as business problems are often actually content problems that can be solved by a sound content strategy that meets user needs simply by providing the right content to the right person at the right moment. This doesn’t just happen—the client needs to understand the high value of a carefully thought out strategic vision that bridges user intent with desired actions. Here are five things clients should know about the full value of content strategy.
1. Delivering Greater Value
Content works hand in hand with SEO to play a key role in search engine results and rankings. SEO optimizing techniques like backlinking and keywords are no longer enough. Websites with appealing content written for users instead of search engines are starting to rank higher because the value of usable content is taking precedent. Identifying and creating that high-value content is exactly what content professionals do, often with valuable objectivity that internal teams immersed in a company culture can’t do as effectively.
2. Conveying Brand Personality
Generating an emotional response in visitors to a website can have a direct effect on users’ affinity for a brand, making it more likeable and relatable. Direct promotion and advertising speak is starting to wear thin with audiences, who are becoming more interested in establishing a long-lasting, interactive relationship with a brand. To be truly effective, creating content that is relatable, reinforced by effective social media strategy and content curation, is a job many companies aren’t equipped to handle, and they are missing out on enhancing consumer loyalty that can lead to greater revenue.
3. Creating a Community Through Social
Content shared through social media is a two-edged sword. Consumers have become very discerning about the content they consume and can often tell the difference between content delivered in a fun, relatable voice and content that is full of self-promotional marketing speak. Well-written social content can create a loyal community, which in turn may lead to more shares or content that goes viral, which can lead to more brand exposure, which in turn can lead to greater sales. Many companies may not be equipped to generate this kind of unique content in their customers' voice, and their investment in a social content strategy can pay dividends of repeat visits and goodwill that go far beyond the cost of the content creation.
4. Keeping Content Flowing
Many companies, especially smaller ones, lack the resources to constantly produce fresh content on their website. Developing content offers high value, but even that is not enough. A professionally produced editorial calendar helps companies keep content organized and on track, with built-in flexibility to accommodate fast-tracked, spontaneous changes when necessary.
5. Meeting Customers' Expectations for Excellence
Writing is hard. Writing well is even harder. Writing well with SEO in mind is even more difficult if you have no experience weaving keywords into copy. Having a professional write and curate content not only frees staff to be more productive doing the job they were hired for, but is the best way to reflect a company’s commitment to quality. Customers are not going to waste time reading content with misspellings, clichés, out dated references and a generic tone. Having attention-getting content with every hyphen and comma in the right place underscores the website owner’s commitment to providing a good online experience, and by inference, world-class products backed by excellent customer service.
Content is playing a larger role than ever before in establishing and nurturing long-lasting relationships between brands and their customers. Business owners who have worked with content strategy professionals have seen the benefits first hand. When potential clients express skepticism about content strategy, take the time to share these benefits to set the stage for a smoother, richer and ultimately more rewarding online experience for both brand and consumers.