By Nick James, Fresh Business Thinking

Content is why people visit your website and you need to act and behave more like a publisher trying to attract and engage with your audience than a marketing person trying to sell product.

Before you start developing and generating content for your website the first thing you need to do is to formulate a content strategy. Strategy may sound like a word that’s only for big corporates, but a content strategy for a website is really no more than what Blackadder’s Baldrick would call ‘a cunning plan’.

As with any element of business planning it’s imperative to understand what you are trying to achieve and where you want to go otherwise your journey will be like something from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here?” asked Alice.

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where – so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk,” answered the cat. “You’re sure to get somewhere if you walk long enough.”

The ‘plan’ doesn’t need to be complex but it does need to address the following points:

– Define who your audience is

– Understand what they might be interested in

– Figure out the tone of voice

– Work out where the content is going to come from – source

– Give someone ownership

– Regularity – how often is content added

All of the above will differ from website to website but to illustrate the point let’s look at what a content strategy for www.freshbusinessthinking.com might look like.

– Audience – owners, directors, entrepreneurs from small-to-medium size businesses

– Interest – ideas and advice for growing or improving a business

– Tone of voice – business like and authoritative

– Source – expert contributors, practitioners

– Ownership – editorial team

– Regularity – daily news stories and regular articles

For organisations that don’t have the luxury of an in-house editorial team then deciding on who has ‘ownership’ of the site content is one of the most important aspects. In many cases this is handed to someone quite junior who often has other jobs that take priority.

This might work in some cases but if you are serious about making your website work for you – and if you are reading this article then you probably are -then the person who has the responsibility and ‘ownership’ of content must also have the authority, time and expertise to do it properly.

Nick James will be speaking at The Online Business Makeover at Microsoft HQ London on 12th March 2012. To find out more about top content for search engines and actual readers, as well as how to use social media to boost your online presence, book your discounted early bird ticket today!

Special pre-launch offer until 5pm TODAY (19th Jan 2012) only – 2 tickets for £99+VAT! (Usual price £299+VAT per person) Don’t miss this very special offer – BOOK NOW!

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The Digital Marketing Show Content Masterclass will offer deep insight and solutions that will enable attendees to understand how the world of content can help deliver their marketing objectives. This one day intensive masterclass will provide you with all the knowledge necessary to confidently implement a new content strategy for your business.

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Digital Marketing Show Content Masterlcass, 2nd May, Ravensbourne College, London.