Guest Post by Sara Lancaster

hands-keyboardYou’re a web developer, not a website content writer. Sure, you could probably hammer out a few lines of text or pages of content if you had to, but you don’t want to. It’s not your expertise.

You get that, but getting your clients to understand that is a whole other story. As a web designer and/or web developer you have a few ways to overcome this obstacle.

  1. Suck it up and write the content yourself.
  2. Ask the client to write the content.
  3. Create a website content development plan with your client at the get-go and outsource the writing to a content writer you trust.

We’ve already touched on number one. Content writing is not your expertise and probably not a good use of your time.

As for number two, this can sometimes work out great, but the majority of the time it won’t. You could wait for your client to produce the copy for a very long time and when you get it, it might not be on par. Website content writing is marketing and too many businesses don’t get online marketing language.

I think you know where I’m going here. Number three really is the best option. By developing a content development plan you get to weigh in on what pages of content the client needs and what the goal for each page should be. Top all that with the fact that the website content writing will be produced on time and at a higher quality.

Putting the Content Development Plan into Action

Making a website content development plan is simple. But before you start planning, you must first find a few website content writers that fit your work ethic and style. Once you’ve got a partner you can outsource writing to, take the following steps with your client.

  1. Create a content questionnaire. The questionnaire should address many different areas, but these items are essential:
    • Description of ideal lead
    • Unique selling proposition (What makes their business better than the rest?)
    • Ultimate goal of website (increased website traffic, more phone calls, etc.)
  2. Find examples of website content (outside and inside same industry) with a tone and style the client likes. This helps to set expectations for the copy.
  3. Create a detailed sitemap that outlines the goal of each page. Keywords should be assigned to each page and an internal linking strategy should be incorporated.
  4. Start writing!
  5. Keep writing! Remember, search engines and engaged users NEED new and Tweet-worthy content. Encourage your client to expand on the content development plan by adding new content regularly. This could come in the form of a blog, media center, additional web pages, videos, etc.

It goes without saying that a content development plan can get much more complicated than what I’ve described here. You’ll have to follow your instinct and modify your process to keep your client engaged. Too many details and too many content plans could overwhelm and disarm the company you’re trying to help through content.

###

Sara Lancaster is a marketing consultant and the chief communicator at No. 2 Pen, a Denver-based marketing agency that offers extensive web copy writing services.