Putting content strategy first – even for a microsite [case study]

Nov 5, 2020

If you’re going to invest in building a website, are you willing invest in a plan for what that site will communicate and the content it will contain? In this case study, we’ll look at why starting with a content strategy is the right approach – even when the site in question is a simple, one-page microsite.

I was beyond thrilled earlier this year when I heard from Pamela Uppal from the Ontario Nonprofit Network, who had been given my name by her colleague, Sarah Matsushita. Pamela was wrapping up three years as the Project Lead for Decent Work for Women: a project that I had been watching closely and a topic near and dear to my heart.

The Ontario Nonprofit Network is an organization that engages, advocates, and leads with – and for – nonprofits working for Ontario’s public benefit. The Decent Work for Women project explores the experiences of women working in the nonprofit sector, and after three years, the current stage was coming to a close. Pamela wanted to create a simple but visually appealing one-page microsite to showcase the research, key findings, tools and recommendations.

“I decided to work with Marlene because she came recommended from ONN partners and understood our sector,” Pamela explains. “When we had our first conversation to discuss our project, she was enthusiastic, understood what we wanted in our microsite, and was herself passionate about the content.”

Developing a content strategy and narrative framework for @o_n_n's Decent Work for Women microsite (case study) #NPMC Click To Tweet

Developing a narrative framework for the microsite

After sharing information about my storytelling and website content strategy work and getting familiar with Pamela’s vision, we decided to approach the challenge by creating a simplified website content strategy and a single narrative to guide visitors through the site. Because Pamela had already gathered considerable stakeholder insights as part of the Decent Work for Women project, we replaced stakeholder consultation with several one-on-one exploration and strategy sessions.

“Marlene goes out of her way to ensure project needs are met; we did not have a lot of time nor budget to put together a strategy, but Marlene worked with us to make it happen. She also kept checking in beyond her work with us to make sure the project was progressing on track,” says Pamela. “I also found Marlene very organized and thorough – from work planning to scheduling and really digging deep during the information gathering stage to better understand what our website needs were.”

The result of our work was a content strategy for the microsite that included:

  • The site’s purpose, objectives and calls-to-action
  • Clarified and prioritized audiences (and audience personas)
  • A series of key messages sequenced into a flowing narrative
  • Recommendations for information and data to depict through graphics and interactive elements

Pamela had a carefully crafted plan to take to the design and development agency she would be working with to build the site.

Screen capture of Decent Work for Women Microsite

Screen capture of ONN’s Decent Work for Women Microsite

Final product: a microsite with a message

The Decent Work for Women microsite is now live, delivering a narrative and visuals that shed light on the issues and inequity faced by women working in the nonprofit sector – and the solutions we need to pursue. Visitors can explore the project’s findings and recommendations, download important policy briefs, and access tools designed to help sector professionals understand, support and advocate for decent work for women.

Pamela describes the experience of putting content first and starting with a messaging strategy:

Screen capture of Decent Work for Women Microsite

Screen capture of ONN’s Decent Work for Women Microsite

“It’s a part of website work that people either forget or don’t pay it much attention. However, after going through this experience with Marlene, I think it is the most important part of the website.

Without her help, I, someone who is not an expert in any of this, would not have been able to come up with a strategy on my own, let alone communicate it to website developers. Her work saved us a lot of time and energy.”


Starting with a website content strategy: an excellent approach for non-techies

Starting with content strategy is the right approach for any website project, but it can feel reassuring and manageable for those who don’t feel particularly tech-savvy. It’s a way to clarify what your website needs to say and do before talking with the technical experts.

Do you need help starting your upcoming website project? If you’ve been putting it off because you don’t know where to start, check out my Website content strategy package for nonprofit organizations. And then get in touch with me if you’d like to set up a free consultation.

Putting content strategy first - even for a microsite >> Case study featuring @o_n_n's Decent Work for Women Working in the Nonprofit Sector microsite #NPMC Click To Tweet

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