Content strategy is a plan for creating and publishing useful, usable content on your legal website. In order to fully realize that goal, you must not only define—at least in your own mind—which content will be published, but you must be able to articulate why each piece will be published at all. If you don’t have a good understanding of your expectations from each published article, then there can be little reason to publish.
Content strategy should define your firm’s primary theme and intended message, cover the various topics you feel most important to your firm, explain how your articles will make the leap from what your business requires to what your potential clients need and finally will analyze any potential gaps in your content. Of course all content strategy plans should include a comprehensive discussion of SEO, taking into consideration the latest, most up-to-date search engine requirements including Google’s algorithms.
What Should I Be Looking For When Mapping Out Content Strategy?
Your first concern falls under the wide umbrella of editorial needs. These are the guidelines under which all content is governed, so to speak. They are the values, the voice, the tone and the legal concerns as well as the calendar which dictates the cycles you will publish under. Next is the web writing itself, which must be both high quality and imminently usable not to mention specifically intended for online publication. As most web writers know, there is an entirely different writing technique used for online publications as compared to print.
Online articles are shorter, more concise, and depend heavily on attention-grabbing headlines. Online articles generally hit the reader with a fast burst of information in the hopes of holding their attention to the end of the article. If you haven’t hooked your web reader within five seconds or less, research shows you have likely lost them for good. A great web writer will understand the user experience design, will be able to write effective metadata as well as manage an ever-changing content landscape.
Search engine optimization is a large part of content strategy as it seeks to increase the potential relevance of articles to specific search engine keywords. There will be a process of editing and organizing all content on each page as well as across the firm’s website. As technology constantly shifts and changes, content management strategy will attempt to capture, store, deliver and preserve the organizations content.
Content—Complicated and Messy
After the initial wave of writing content for a legal website, the time constraints usually set in, and the enthusiasm tends to wane. It’s at this point that website owners want to bury their head in the sand and pray that the content part of their website becomes someone else’s problem. It begins to feel complicated and messy and becomes the incredibly junky closet you throw everything into and try to avoid looking at.
At this point it’s time to engage in honest content dialogue with all those involved in the content of the firm’s website. Content dialogue must first expand the audience, attempting to engage a broader audience of consumers, and will also realize that everyone involved has a stake in the future of web content. Content and the practice of content strategy absolutely deserve our time and attention yet until we begin to treat it as the critical asset it is, worthy of planning and meaningful investment, it is likely we will keep turning out the same old stuff. It’s really not someone else’s problem. Learn about content strategy, practice it and promote it—your website will thank you for it.