Content strategy process

Here’s what I do as a Content Strategist on a web development project—more or less, depending on the size of the organization and site, the project budget and schedule, and team members’ skills and experience. For example, I may do more writing and/or information architecture (design sitemaps and page layouts—i.e. “wireframes”) on some projects, less on others.

1) Admin Set-up

  • Meet with client to connect with project team members, subject matter experts, other info sources
  • Learn team communication channels & system
  • Learn team authority structure (who decides what)
  • Learn, get access to, set-up project-tracking applications and documents

2) Discovery

  • Website business goals?
  • Organization’s current branding attributes & messaging?
  • Do a competitive analysis
  • Conduct user research (demographic, market, analytics)
  • Develop website visitor personas (prioritized)
  • Learn search engine optimization (SEO) status, process
  • Learn about client’s content development workflows, style guides, metadata status, content management system (if any)
  • Assess all relevant, current content (types, quality, quantity, etc.)
  • Identify preferred voice and tone for Web writing
  • Current social media strategy, implementation?
  • Current mobile strategy, implementation?

3) Planning

  • Contribute a content strategy report (results of Discovery)
  • Contribute plan to measure content success post-launch
  • Consult on content management system options
  • Contribute to SEO plan
  • Consult on social media & mobile strategies
  • Consult on budget, schedule (re: content development)

4) Design 

If working with an information architect (IA):

Consult on sitemap (top-down structure)

  • Consult with IA on mapping of high-level pages
  • Verify link label compliance with SEO plan

Consult on Wireframes (bottom-up structure & navigation)

  • Content mapping and page tables
  • Collaborate with IA on navigation labels, form field labels, etc.
  • Help test, socialize, analyze content experience

Content design

  • Content model(s)
  • Work with IA on taxonomies and metadata (as needed)
  • Consult on content management system modifications (if any)
  • Develop content migration plan and editorial calendar
  • Create or supplement editorial style guide

If NOT working with an IA (none on team) – all above design work plus two essential information architecture tasks:

  • Design and facilitate approval of site map (top-down structure)
  • Design and facilitate approval of wireframes (bottom-up structure & navigation)

5) Development


  • Create, write, edit content
  • Finalize, implement editorial workflows
  • Consult on SEO implementation
  • Help migrate content to content management system (as needed)

Information Architecture

  • Monitor and consult on IA implementation
  • Consult on SEO implementation

6) Quality Assurance (QA)

  • Consult on final IA
  • Assure content quality (tone/voice, grammar, alignment with brand attributes and messaging, SEO implementation, etc.)

**********  [SITE LAUNCH]  **********

7)  Success Measurement

  • Consult on content (and IA) success measurement (analytics, user feedback, etc.)
  • Consult on any follow-up user testing that includes content evaluation

8) Content Maintenance

  • Audit, evaluate (analytics, surveys, etc.) existing content
  • Plan new content
  • Archive or trash old content
  • Develop, manage ongoing editorial calendar