Creating a content strategy
Last updated: October 19, 2022
A content strategy is the plan you create at the beginning of any content project to guide its creation and governance.
If you have existing content but do not have a strategy, it’s time to create one.
On this page
- When to create a content strategy
- Follow the standards
- Understand the current website
- Do design research
- Define success measurements
- Find a place for your content
- Draft and edit the content
- Assign accountability
When to create a content strategy
Your content strategy should be created before you start writing and continue throughout the content’s life cycle. The strategy is the vision for how and why your content will be created and managed. Your vision may change throughout the project, and that’s ok, your content strategy should be able to adapt to the project’s needs.
Follow the standards
All online content created for the B.C. government is required to meet our Web Content Standards.
Understand the current website
What content already exists, and do you need something new? To understand if there is a need:
- Do an inventory and audit of existing content
- Review site analytics
- Review any research that has already been done
- Find out what the business and project goals are
Do design research
Design research (also known as user research) is a vital and ongoing process. It helps you understand the people using your content and why, when and how they use it. By identifying gaps between what people need and what you offer, you can design more useful content.
Define success measurements
Define what successful content means to your team and then develop goals to measure it. This allows you to track when content needs to be created, updated, moved or removed:
- What is your content trying to achieve? Is it providing information or a service?
- Do people find and navigate the content easily?
- Is the information they want clear and easy to understand?
- Do they complete the service? Or do they give up and call or go into an office? Connect with the teams that manage calls or in-person aspect of your content. They may have good insight to share
- How will you know if it works for your audience?
- Is the content accessible?
- How will you track the content over time?
- How will you test it?
- What data will you base this on? Site analytics? Interviews? Is there current data you can compare it against? Or is it brand new content?
Find a place for your content
Information architecture (IA) focuses on how we organize, structure and label web content. Thoughtfully considering where content lives in the IA helps people understand where they are and how to find what they need. If people can’t find what they need, it doesn’t matter how good the actual content is.
An information architecture can shape:
- How content is structured and organized
- How much content you need
- Which topics are out of scope
- How you can work with existing content
Draft and edit the content
- Design content that meets your audience’s needs
- Use the Plain Language Checklist
- Follow the web content standards
- Make your content accessible
- Plan how you will optimize your content for search engines
- Do not edit alone
Determine the content governance and life cycle before you hit publish. This means planning who, how often and how you manage what you publish. This helps reduce clutter on the website by removing duplicate, unneeded and out-of-date content. This in turn helps people find what they need faster.
- Assign a person to maintain the content once it is published
- Have a backup in case that person is unavailable
- Consider who else may be interested in the content. Is there another team or ministry you should work with?
- Know who has approval to make changes
- Decide how often to review published content and assigned roles
- Establish timelines based on your success measurements
Once you've created content that meets our Web Content Standards and planned who will maintain this content, you’re ready to hit publish.