By Scott Levine, VP, Strategy— Original Post March 15, 2011

“Content” is a catch-all phrase for all that lives on a Web site or social media channel. This includes blog posts, videos, photographs, advertising copy, Twitter feeds, white papers, testimonials, Webcasts, banners, wall posts, comments—everything.
In an age when Web sites and social media channels are a dime a dozen, your content is what sets your World Wide Web outpost apart. Interesting, dynamic and relevant content gets you the most hits over time—hence the adage “Content is king.”
So how do you know your content is up to snuff?

Before you can answer, you have to decide where you stand in the never-ending question of quality vs. quantity. Both quality and quantity have their advantages. How, then, do you find the right balance?

Will loads of thrown-together blog posts bring a better response than a few carefully crafted articles? Can a dozen hastily shot videos gain more attention than a couple of highly entertaining movies? Should you offer 25 white papers you’ve dragged from the attic or four white papers that are pertinent?

Naturally, the answers to these questions are subjective, based on your company’s persona and taste. Define the standard you want to achieve, then aim for it using the resources at your disposal.

To make sure you hit the mark, you’ll want a content strategy. This is a modern application of the old British Army rule of the 5 Ps: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. In other words, a content strategy is a plan for creating an effective Web site or social channel.

One way to craft a content strategy is to think like a newspaper editor-in-chief. Ask yourself these questions: What flow should my content have? Is its purpose to educate, inform, present or debate? Do I want a universal tone across everything on my channel? Who will create, edit and approve the content?

Once you have your content strategy, test your content. Is it unique? Does it provide value to the user? Does your content serve its intended purpose? How do the different elements drive the message? Would a multimedia strategy deliver the message more effectively?

For extra credit, make an editorial calendar listing your proposed content by topic, type and scheduled date of publication. Following an editorial calendar is considered a best practice for producing a Web site or social channel that stays fresh and relevant for users.

Of course, one minute on the Internet will show you that people can produce Web sites and social channels without all of this forethought. But creating content simply for the sake of having it will likely damage the message, brand and image you are trying to communicate. Why not be in the elite minority? Develop, plan, review, correct and measure what you put online before you post it. Then, you’re sure to be content with your content—and your users will, too.


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