Web content playbook: Introduction

This guide will provide guidance on how Harvard Chan School can revitalize and reorient our storytelling practices to better connect with our external audiences and fulfill the primary goals for our website, including attracting top students, faculty, staff, donors, and collaborators, and educating the public and policymakers about research findings.

This guide is designed to support both new and seasoned Harvard Chan School writers.

As you read this guide, you may notice that some sections are more applicable to your center, lab, office, or departmental content than others. Use the information that best fits your business goals.

The better we tell the stories of the individual centers, labs, initiatives, departments, and programs at our School, the stronger our case will be for attracting prospective students, researchers, and donors.

Download a quick tipsheet on writing for the web.

Website Content Objectives

We mapped Harvard Chan School’s objectives against user needs to provide a roadmap for content creation.

Organization Goal Content Tactics
Convert information seekers into engaged users Demonstrate the value of supporting Harvard Chan School by surfacing relevant, tangible (i.e., measurable or real-world) results that have an impact on public health (i.e., By analyzing trends and mobility data, the School’s COVID-19 models could forecast spikes in cases in specific regions often weeks in advance, allowing for preemptive public health interventions.)
Create clear pathways to conversion (i.e., getting a user to sign up for a newsletter, make a donation, apply to a program or take another action that meets a specific goal)
Create connections between Harvard Chan School work and the public health victories
Increase engagement with thought leadership, research, and education content Surface related content on high-traffic pages by using new taxonomies (i.e., highlighting a Studio event about ultra-processed foods on Nutrition pages)
Show visitors how they can engage more with Harvard Chan School work (i.e., “apply here, sign up, or join us”)
Create clear and compelling calls to action to move users through the website
Elevate the community and individuals; connect with audience on individual level Create compelling copy and content
Include the visitor in content by utilizing the second person voice (“you”) when recruiting students and researchers
Showcase student victories alongside faculty victories
Demonstrate how “you” can join the Harvard Chan community; showcase the gaps in our work that only “you” can help uncover
Create strong brand awareness and affinity Create inspirational, innovative, and aspirational content that sets Harvard Chan School apart from competitors
Tell Harvard Chan School story using best practices that encourage exploration and “stickiness”
Demonstrate Harvard Chan School value by surfacing tangible results of past, present and future work in public health
Highlight the complex nature of our work and how our audiences can help us further it


Audience Goal Content Tactics
Understand how to join or support Harvard Chan School (new student, faculty, staff, or donor) Create connections between action (donate, apply, etc) and Harvard Chan School’s future successes
Provide overview of academic departments, programs, and topics  and how they relate to Harvard Chan School
Create clear pathways to conversion (application, newsletter sign-up, donation)
Show our real-world impact by connecting Harvard Chan School work to public health victories
Be part of the solution for public health issues Show audiences how contribute to the Harvard Chan  community
Demonstrate the value of supporting Harvard Chan School by surfacing tangible results
Craft compelling, strategic content that connects the user to the solution
Showcase student impact alongside faculty impact
Find important public health information quickly Surface related content (using your new taxonomies) to encourage exploration
Make new content easily findable
Decrease clicks between activities

More in the Content Playbook

Brand, voice, and tone
Writing for web and search engine optimization