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Six Steps for Building a Government Content Strategy


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Do you work in a large government agency and wonder if your content is effective? Are you struggling to coordinate content across various levels of the organization? If so, a content strategy may be the right tool for you. This presentation covers the basics of building a content strategy and provides resources for additional information.

Adapted from an earlier cross-industry version, this edition was specifically created for government agencies. The steps are divided into work to be completed by the global brand (leadership level), by the subunits (topic-specific groups), or through a collaborative effort between both groups.

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Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Six Steps for Building a Government Content Strategy

  1. 1. START  HERE Six  Steps  to  Building  a     Content  Strategy   presented  by:   Erin  Edgerton  Norvell   Government  Edi;on  
  2. 2. Why  Do  Government  Agencies   Need  a  Content  Strategy? Today’s  consumers  are  moving  to   mul;-­‐device/omnichannel   approach  to  finding  and  ac;ng  on   digital  content.     To  meet  the  expecta;ons  of   today’s  ci;zens,  government   agencies  need  a  strategic,   coordinated,  and  user-­‐centered   approach  to  developing,   delivering,  and  evalua;ng  their   content  offerings.     www.digitaledgecommunica;  
  3. 3. What  Makes  a     Content  Strategy  EffecDve? •  Defines  how  you’re  going  to   use  content  to  meet  your   business’  goals  and  audiences’   needs   •  Guides  decisions  about   content  through  its  complete   lifecycle  (discovery  to  dele;on)   •  Sets  benchmarks  against  which   to  measure  the  success  of  your   content   crea;on   governance   delivery   www.digitaledgecommunica;  Source:  Content  Strategy  for  the  Web  (Halvorson  &  Rach)  
  4. 4. Your  Content’s  Maturity  Determines   the  Focus  of  Your  Strategy PHASE  01:  PILOTING   If  you’re  in  a  trial  period  of   crea;ng  new  content  or  tes;ng   new  communica;on  channels,   your  strategy  should  help  you   define  your  target  audiences  and   align  content  crea;on  with  their   needs.     PHASE  04:  THRIVING   If  you’re  using  your  evalua;on   data  to  inform  program   enhancements  and  adap;ng   content  to  rapidly  respond  to   emerging  issues,  your  strategy   should  help  you  determine   where  to  focus  resources  for   expansion  and  innova;on   ac;vi;es.     PHASE  02:  SCALING   If  you’re  expanding  your  pilot  phase   to  ongoing  ac;vi;es  or  addi;onal   channels,  your  strategy  should  help   you  develop  rou;ne  processes  for   content  crea;on,  dissemina;on,  and   evalua;on.     PHASE  03:  SUSTAINING   If  you’re  working  from  an  agreed-­‐ upon  content  strategy,  focusing  on   scaling  content  ac;vi;es,  and   evalua;ng  how  your  content  is   performing,  your  strategy  should   help  you  look  for  process   improvements  and  efficiencies.   Pilo;ng   Phase   Sustaining   Phase   Thriving   Phase   Scaling   Phase   Source:  Content  Science    The  Value  of  Content  to  Marke6ng  (whitepaper)   www.digitaledgecommunica;  
  5. 5. Six  Steps  to  Developing     a  Content  Strategy Define   Your   Content’s   Substance     Conduct   Internal  &   External   Analyses   Structure   Your   Content   for  Success   Create   Your  Core   Strategy   Develop   Workflows  &   Governance   Conduct   an  Audit   1 65432 Source:  Content  Strategy  for  the  Web  (Halvorson  &  Rach)   www.digitaledgecommunica;  
  6. 6. AdapDng  This  Process  for   Government   Global  Brand   Subunits   Agency  level  oversight  and  coordina;on   Responsibili;es:     •  Amplify  subunit’s  (SME)  content   •  Provide  brand  guidance   •  Maintain  centralized  tools  (e.g.  CMS  systems)  and   plaUorms  (e.g.  social  media  channels)     •  Coordinate  governance  ac;vi;es   •  Manage  global  digital  partnerships   Topic  level  groups  with  narrower  missions  and  specific  target   audiences   Responsibili;es:   •  DraV  topic-­‐specific  content  and  tailor  content  for  various   target  audiences   •  Manage  topic-­‐specific  websites  and  social  media  channels   •  Manage  topic-­‐specific  digital  partnerships   www.digitaledgecommunica;  
  7. 7. Global  Brand   Subunits   Complete  list(s)  of   content,  including   content  formats,  quan;ty   and  complexity   www.digitaledgecommunica;   Step  1:  Conduct  an  Audit CollaboraTon   Comparison  of  business   goals  (at  all  levels)  and   best  prac;ces  vs.  your   current  content   There  are  three  types  of  audits   to  analyze  your  exis;ng  content:   Comparison  of  your   overarching  content  (e.g.   homepage  and  top-­‐;er   pages)  against  compe;tors   (e.g.  market  share,  value   proposi;on,  level  of   engagement,  etc.)  
  8. 8. Source:  Content  Strategy  for  the  Web  (Halvorson  &  Rach)   www.digitaledgecommunica;   Global  Brand   Subunits   •  Alignment  between  global  brand  and   subunits  business  goals   •  Purpose  of  each  communica;on   channel  (e.g.  centralized  social  media   channels)   •  Cross-­‐linking  or  cross-­‐promo;on   strategies  (across  pages,  topics,  or   social  plaUorms)   •  Governance  and  workflow  processes   •  Content  maintenance  ac;vi;es   •  Refining  business  goals   •  Target  audiences  (in  priority  order)   •  Target  audience  needs   •  Preferred  channels  (by  audience)   •  Common  calls-­‐to-­‐ac;on  (by  audience)   Step  2:  Conduct  an     Internal  Analysis CollaboraTon   -­‐  What  do  want  to   achieve?   -­‐  Who  do  we  serve?   -­‐  What  do  they   need?   -­‐  What  do  want  to   achieve?   -­‐  What  channels  are   needed?   -­‐  How  do  we   coordinate  and   support  content   ac;vi;es?  
  9. 9. Step  2:  Conduct  an     External  Analysis Source:  Content  Strategy  for  the  Web  (Halvorson  &  Rach)   www.digitaledgecommunica;   Global  Brand   Subunits   •  Brand  recogni;on   •  Brand  familiarity  and  considera;on   (relevance,  credibility,  perceived  quality,   intent  to  use/engage/act)   •  Brand  loyalty  (sa;sfac;on,  reten;on,   word  of  mouth  marke;ng)   •  Value  (market  share  vs.  similar   organiza;ons)   •  Promo;on  tools  (e.g.  search  tools,  email   marke;ng,  cross-­‐linking)   •  Partnership  tac;cs  and  par;cipa;on   •  Target  audience  needs  vs.  how  your   content  meets  those  needs   •  Target  audience  needs  vs.  internal   business  goals   •  Compe;tors’  offerings  and  how  your   content  compares   •  Partnership  tac;cs  and  par;cipa;on   CollaboraTon   -­‐  Is  our  brand   posi;oned  well?   -­‐  Are  we  amplifying   our  subunits’   messages  well?   -­‐  Are  we  mee;ng   our  target  audience   needs?     -­‐  Are  we  mee;ng   our  business  goals?  
  10. 10. Step  3:  Create  Your  Core  Strategy A  core  strategy  –  or  “content  marke;ng  mission  statement”  -­‐  should  map   to  your  global  mission  statement  but  be  focused  on  the  purpose  of  your   digital  channels.  It  should  also  be  forward-­‐looking,  aspira;onal,  and   answers  these  ques;ons:     •  What  does  your  strategy  need  to  accomplish?   •  What  content  will  we  produce  for  our  users?   •  What  will  the  organiza;on  need  to  do  to  support  the  content?     Source:  Content  Strategy  for  the  Web  (Halvorson  &  Rach)   3 www.digitaledgecommunica;  
  11. 11. Step  3:  Create  Your  Core  Strategy Start  with  a  simple  template,  then  wordsmith.  Remember  a  focus  on  plain   language.     Source:  Meghan  Casey,  Content  Marke6ng  Ins6tute  (2016)   3 www.digitaledgecommunica;   CollaboraTon  
  12. 12. Step  4:  Define  Your     Content’s  Substance Your  content  needs  to  provide  value  to  your   target  audience  and  meet  their  specific  needs.   For  each  audience:   •  Iden;fy  your  primary  communica;on   channels     •  Determine  the  high-­‐value  content  you   should  offer  (a  balance  between  business   and  users’  needs)   •  Define  clear  and  relevant  call-­‐  to-­‐ac;on  for   each  channel,  webpage,  or  content  type   •  Document  the  tailoring  strategies  (e.g.   message  framing,  tone,  language,  use  of   mul;media)   Source:  Content  Strategy  for  the  Web  (Halvorson  &  Rach)   www.digitaledgecommunica;   Subunits  
  13. 13. Refine  and  Document     Your  Brand  Voice To  encourage  consistency  across  all  subunits,  the  global  brand  should   establish  brand  guidelines,  including  voice.  Consider  these  four  brand  voice   aaributes:   Source:  Social  Media  Explorer   www.digitaledgecommunica;   Global  Brand  
  14. 14. Step  5:  Structure  Content  for   Success Priori;za;on  and  planning  steps   for  structuring  content:   Source:  Content  Strategy  for  the  Web  (Halvorson  &  Rach)   www.digitaledgecommunica;   Global  Brand   Subunits   •  Iden;fy  common  content  types  and  map  to  each  of  your  communica;on  channels   •  Develop  guidelines  for  how  content  will  be  formaaed  for  easy  scanning  and  reading   •  Develop  a  metadata  taxonomy  (for  findability,  search  rankings,  and  social  sharing)     •  Test  content  across  mul;ple  devices  and  address  issues  for  cross-­‐plaUorm  dissemina;on   •  Adapt  global  structure  to  meet  the  needs  of  the  subunits   •  Determine  the  priority  order  for  each  content  piece  (per  sec;on  of  content,  not  per  page)   •  Par;cipate  in  the  development  of  a  search  engine  op;miza;on  (SEO)  plan  and  social  media   op;miza;on  plan,  including  specific  keywords  and  cross-­‐channel  links   •  Evaluate  content  across  mul;ple  plaUorms  (web,  mobile,  social)   •  Iden;fy  gaps  in  the  exis;ng  global  structure  
  15. 15. Step  6:  Develop  Workflows  and   Governance 03   02   01   05   04   Editorial   Style  Guide   Internal  Tools   &  Resources   Internal  Content   Crea;on  &  Clearance   Processes   Content     Automa;on   Processes   Schedule  &   Process  for   Content  Review   &  Archiving   Source:  Content  Strategy  for  the  Web  (Halvorson  &  Rach)   A  strategy  is  only  effec;ve  if  it’s   clearly  communicated  to  all  par;es   and  consistently  implemented.     Governance  ac;vi;es  include:   •  Define  ownership  and  roles     •  Design  workflows  and  governance   processes  for  newly  created   content,  new  dissemina;on   channels,  and  content  maintenance   •  Develop  and  share  governance   documents     •  Assign  a  lead  for  the  ongoing   implementa;on  of  the  content     strategy   www.digitaledgecommunica;   CollaboraTon  
  16. 16. Gathering  Internal  Support To  succeed,  internal  buy-­‐in  and  support  is  important  at  all  levels.     Team   If  they  prioriTze…   And  neglect  to  consider…   The  risks  are…   Leadership   •  Budget/ROI   •  Schedule   •  Deliverables   •  User  experience   •  Time  needed  to  produce   high  quality  content   •  Content  doesn’t  meet  user  needs   •  Missed  deadlines     Communica;ons   •  Campaign-­‐driven  crea;ve   •  Digital  and  social  media   •  Highly  interac;ve  features   •  SEO   •  Exis;ng  content   •  Maintenance  post-­‐launch   •  CMS  restric;ons  or   requirements   •  Content  is  more  flash  than  substance   •  Content  is  launched  then  neglected   •  Content  is  delivered  in  ways  that  can’t   be  indexed  or  measured   Subject  Maaer  Experts   •  Scien;fic  accuracy   •  Ability  to  measure  response   •  Message  tailoring   •  Audience  priori;es   •  Usability   •  Content  contains  jargon/lacks  plain   language   •  Content  doesn’t  resonate  with  target   audiences   User  Experience   •  Audience  needs   •  Research   •  Visual  design   •  Current  state  content   analysis   •  SEO  considera;ons   •  Strategic  business  decisions   •  Business  objec;ves  are  overlooked   •  Quality  content  can’t  be  completed  on   ;me  due  to  lack  or  source  materials  or   resources   Technology   •  CMS  development  or   requirements   •  Produc;on  workflow   •  Content  creators   •  Brand  and  message   tailoring   •  Content  published  before  it’s  in  a  high-­‐ value  state   •  Lack  of  brand  consistency   Source:  Content  Strategy  for  the  Web  (Halvorson  &  Rach)   www.digitaledgecommunica;   CollaboraTon  
  17. 17. R E S O U R C E S www.digitaledgecommunica;   Books   •  Halvorson,  Kris;na  and  Melissa  Rach.  Content  Strategy  for  the  Web  (2nd  Edi;on)     •  Sara  Wachter-­‐Boeacher.  Content  Everywhere   •  Redish,  Ginny.  Le4ng  Go  of  the  Words:  Wri:ng  Web  Content  that  Works  (2nd   Edi;on)   •  Jones,  Coleen.  Clout:  The  Art  and  Science  of  Influen:al  Web  Content       Digital  Resources   •  Content  Marke;ng  Ins;tute   •  Brain  Traffic  blog   •  Hubspot  blog   •  The  Content  Strategy  Noob  blog    
  18. 18. Thank  You! www.digitaledgecommunica;   Erin  Edgerton  Norvell     Founder  &  Principal  Strategist   Digital  Edge  CommunicaTon     ExecuTve  Director   Society  for  Health  CommunicaTon