A hit website is able to articulate your business proposition. The design for each and every website starts out as a field of dreams that can be brought into commercial reality with the correctly considered content strategy. Addressing the title of this blog post is, perhaps, the very best way to tackle the creation of a content strategy for your own website.
The title of this post is lifted from Field Of Dreams, an Oscar-nominated fantasy baseball film starting Kevin Costner; a film that, according to the AFI, features the 39th Greatest Movie Quote [cite] - a quote that strikes me as a very salient point of reference for all those who are starting to create their website content strategy or harbour any kind of thought that to succeed in business all they need is a website.
In the film Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a US corn farmer who never really knew his baseball-playing father and one who begins to hear voices in his head telling him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield. Hollywood enables Kinsella to pitch us a corn syrup laden message of blind faith in the voice's advice as he never really knows why he's building the baseball field right up until the end of the movie.
All too often we encounter business owners who sound like they're reading their business marketing plan right off this movie script; holding onto the hope and belief that the mere act of building a website will bring business their way. What these business owners typically fail to appreciate is that it's not the website per se that brings the paying visitors but the website's content. Grasp this most basic of online truths and you're well on your way to scoring home runs with a hit website.
Your website's content (its words, images, audio and video) is the vital, necessary thing that attracts paying visitors and if you want to attract the right kind of Customer then you need a content strategy to help you source, develop, promote and build your website content.
Kevin Costner's character built a baseball square as a destination - an attraction, if you like. What will attract people to your website? Would you call your website a destination? What is it your Customers are searching for right now and how is your website going to give it to them?
Who are you so keen to attract to your website? (Don't bottle this question by simply answering it with 'Customers'.) Really think your answer through - try to segment your marketplace and genuinely understand 'who' you're attempting to attract with your website. Give these people-types a name and colour-in their personalities, create stories about their requirements to make them easy to remember.
A content strategy isn't complicated or technical, your own content strategy is the vital component of your website that'll make it attractive and make people come. Here's Sub@omic's simple guide to starting to develop your own website content strategy - start by asking yourself the following questions:
WHO will want to browse your content?
WHY will they want to browse your content?
HOW will they be made aware your content exists?
WHAT actions will they take as a result of browsing your content?
WHERE will your content come from?
WHEN will your content be released?
A website is no different to any other kind of marketing outreach - you need to research your marketplace to confirm that there is indeed a market out there in the first place. If you listen to the whispers, if your field of dreams has little content and consists of just a handful of webpages then you need to dream a little bigger. Because if you build it correctly he will come.