Your Content Strategy
The other week, I wrote a post, Content Might be King, in it I referenced Kristina Halvorson’s book, Content Strategy for the Web. In her book, she challenges her readers to only write content for your site that line up with your overall message. What are you trying to communicate? Does each post that you write line up with that strategy?
Your site should be more than a digital version of your brochure.
Be willing to let go of copy that you’ve written 2 or 3 years ago. Instead of accumulating more crap, develop something new and meaningful.
In her book, she walks through the process of doing a content audit on your own site. I did that for my own site. I created an excel grid with a row for each page of my site. The columns contain the title, the url, a brief summary, keywords and description for search engines, etc. At the end of the process, you should have a good idea of what message you’ve been creating. It’s a good look at the big picture.
Developing a brand.
Your brand is not something you create (directly). Huh? Your brand is a collection of what other people think about you. A lot of people operate under the misconception that their brand is a logo, business card, letterhead, and color palate. When I think of NBC, I don’t immediately think of the peacock. Instead, I think of all the drama they’ve dealt with iTunes and Hulu, Leno, Letterman, and Conan. How they’ve behaved in each of these situations shapes the way that people think about them: their brand.
What does this mean? Well, you’ve heard people make the challenge: decide what you want people to say about you at your funeral and then live a life that’s in line with your eulogy. Morbid, yes, but true. If I want people to think of me as someone full of integrity, then the only way I’ll achieve that is if I live that out. Telling lies, stealing, and cheating won’t get me there.
The same thing applies to my branding. If I want people to talk about how insightful my content is or how valuable my blog is, then I need to write posts that will provide them with the opportunity to say so.
Lately, I’ve struggled with this because I want people to think of me as a graphic designer. Yeah, I can code with the best of them, but I want that to be secondary. However, if I always blog about code snippets, people will think of me as a programmer.
Obviously, branding is something that must be built up over time. I can’t write one post about graphic design and *bam* Amy’s a graphic designer. I have to write monthly, weekly, and daily about graphic design for that to happen.