Content Management: Adding Basic Content Strategy, Not Just The Content Tool

The importance of having a content management system (CMS) integrated within your website has never been more important. The value of an “alive” website with fresh content, SEO value and a scalable platform are just some of the many reasons an organization seeks out a CMS they can utilize to manage and grow their website.

Content Strategy & Web Usability Sharpen The Tool
content management CMS toolThe Minneapolis Star Tribune recently was the focus of a press release by their CMS and Analytics provider citing a 50% increase in site traffic in the 6 months the tools been integrated. The story also highlighted how StarTribune.com became the top newspaper website in the country for visitor length of stay, which is very impressive.

I couldn’t help but see the true reason for the increases further into the press release though, not so much the specific tools, although the abilities they game them are a factor, it was this:

“Through the integration, editorial staff members increased interlinking within pages to Related and Most Popular stories to augment site visitor stay time. These improvements in viewership have resulted in higher ad rates and a dramatic increase in annual revenue for the StarTribune.”

The tool gave them the ability, but it was having a strategy with their content and making it more user friendly that truly drove their increase. By interlinking from story to story based on relation and popularity, StarTribune.com began to give users more of a path to follow. In turn the users went further down the path. More related information, more links, more insight into what others are reading turned into more time on their site.

So in a simple format, here are the goals and what lead to making them.

Website Goals:

  • Land new visitors
  • Increase repeat visitors (by making them happy)
  • Increase length of stay and page views
  • Increase ad impressions and ad values from above items

Web Content Strategy:

  • Easy to update content with CMS
  • Use analytics to understand the users and content
  • Link internally to related & popular stories to keep users interested
  • Increase page views & visit length (which increases ad impressions)

With educating and enabling their editors to keep visitors interested by engaging basic content strategy and usability they accomplished their goal. They stopped just adding content and started optimizing it with a strategy.

I often head down this same path with our web clients. We build all of our websites on our content management solution, the Site Management Console but the tool alone is nothing without the right content structure and strategy. Having a purpose and following the right guidelines when adding and editing content can make all the difference.

It’s a great start to have the right tools, but it’s even better to have a strategy on how best to use them.

9 thoughts on “Content Management: Adding Basic Content Strategy, Not Just The Content Tool”

  1. Very cool indeed! It does seem like they educated their editors and bloggers on how to use analytics… I’m guessing a plus for that is that they are the ones writing the stories and they can measure the feedback? That’s just a guess but it’s cool to see what they’re doing nonetheless.

  2. Thanks for making me aware of the press release Paul. You’re right, giving the editors the ability to enhance their content and measure it seems to have paid off.

  3. A great hat’s off to strategic user-centered design. Taking the time up front to develop a content strategy based on user needs = relevance = better experience = deeper engagement. Designing with the user in mind often ends up realizing the potential in the small ideas rather than the big ones.

  4. This is as relevant for our B2B clients as it is in consumer publishing models. Strategy, informed by data, helps us use the tools to their greatest advantage. Thanks for the lucid post.

  5. @Tom – Share away. Thanks!

    @Jason – Exactly, putting what the user would be interested in and want first is the best small idea that can lead to big things. Great comment.

    @Jean – Very true, no matter the content type it’s strategy that enables it to do more. We preach that to our clients as well. I’m always amazing how under utilized internal links are in a website.

  6. ‘but it’s even better to have a strategy on how best to use them’: – Good point – it’s so easy to rush / just go into this without a proper strategy.

  7. Thank you very much for informing me about the press release. I totally agreed with your post that SEO is playing a vital role in the promotion of any website. Thanks for the very good post. I’ll share it with my friends.

  8. It was a nice read. I specially liked the example 2 where you showed how the system can be used for restaurant menus.
    I would also like to share my thoughts on a good restaurant accounting software
    I am very much impressed with the information about how a CMS can make our lives easier.
    Keep up with good postings. Thanks!

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