December 17, 2014
As the Accounts Manager at Roundedcube, one of my tasks is to help develop client roadmaps. This broad strategic document and discovery process seeks to provide a clear direction to marketing and IT based on business objectives and realistic goals for website optimization that will be delivered in phases.
As a deliverable, the roadmap is custom tailored to the client, their business, their audience and the tools either currently available or suggested to fit the bill. The following is a high-level generic example of a typical roadmap without many of the tactical details, the timeline or the cost breakdown. I’m calling this example the Golden Roadmap because it captures the “must-haves” for marketers to be successful and outlines the tools they’ll need to build beyond a foundation and really start making progress.
Q1: Invest in your Content Strategy
One of the misconceptions about content strategy is that it is a static, one-time effort referenced before a site design is completed and effectively shelved after launch.
Really, it should represent an ongoing, evolving approach to website content that will identify new content requirements and refine existing content.
Every digital marketer should have a content strategy and every agency and client partnership should seek to keep it relevant and actionable. In this new year, if your organization and digital team doesn’t have a clearly defined, mandated content strategy, then you need one. Without going into too much detail, your content strategy should cover:
- Audience Segmentation and User Personas - The broad segmentation of your audience by region or line of business as well as the more granular differentiation that encompasses gender, local region, budget and company size (if B2B), and most importantly the motivations, interests and emotional queues that make user groups unique.
- Content for Channels and Line of Business - Content developed to support existing products and solutions as they pertain to industry segments or traditional LOBs.
- Content for Personas - Content that extends the basic value proposition and focuses on the type of personalities that make up your audience. This content will be key to multivariate and A/B testing that comes later in your roadmap. For now, developing the creative brief that defines your personas and provides suggested guidelines for the content they want will reap countless rewards later. If your CMS allows for personalization, this task helps define the “what” of what to personalize.
- Content for SEO/Social Optimization - Beyond Metadata: Spec sheets, recipes, ingredient lists, event calendars should be formatted in HTML not PDFs or images. In addition, microformats and rich snippets should be included in the HTML and meta data so that your information can be indexed and displayed in the most impactful manner.
- Content Creation Workflow - A clear organizational chart and a process-proofed workflow for identifying, requesting, funding, developing, approving and publishing content.
- Content Strategy Team - A dedicated group to create content that is time sensitive, viral, and promotional, which can also fulfill identified needs in an editorial calendar. Effective content may take less than a village to create but it certainly requires more than a lone marketer.
Q1: Optimize Your Analytics
- Make the Move to Google Tag Manager and Universal Analytics - This move gives your marketers a whole new set of tools for updating analytics, tracking campaigns and goals, all without the fear of overwriting existing tags on the page level or forgetting to tag a page.
- Utilize Google Webmaster - Analyze 404s, audit existing content, and insure that the site is indexed completely and correctly. It also gives insight into your organic search that Google Analytics blacks out.
- Track your Audience Segments and Personas - Create and track custom dimensions, plug in some basic dashboards and custom reports and spend a lot of time researching and spot checking to gain insight.
- Track goals, events and assign values to your content - You may not be ready for Google Analytics Premium and tracking granular content but that shouldn’t stop you from assigning some custom values on the page-level.
Stay tuned for the next installment: A Golden Roadmap for 2015: Q2, in which we’ll talk about implementing A/B testing and multivariate testing, analyze content and its effectiveness, and motivate your organization so it values a “content-centric” approach to digital marketing and website management.
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