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Hope this presentation inspires you to develop a web content strategy for your site.

Hope this presentation inspires you to develop a web content strategy for your site.

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Herdingcats Herdingcats Presentation Transcript

  • Herding Cats: Web Content Strategies Gill Murrey Office of Web Communications Vanderbilt University
  • Outline
    • Defining “content strategy” and “content”
    • Typical workflow, with examples of deliverables
    • Who’s doing it right - site tour
    • Resources to learn more
  • What is Web Content Strategy?
    • Content strategy encompasses the discovery, ideation, implementation and maintenance of all types of digital content—links, tags, metadata, video, etc.
    • - from the Scatter/Gather blog
  • What is Content?
    • Text and data
    • Graphics
    • Video and Animation
    • Audio
    • Documents
    • Forms, Alt tags, Metadata, and more
  • The Content Problem
    • Usually low priority - done last minute
    • Sites identified by pages , not by content
    • Rarely a dedicated person to handle content
    • The launch-and-it’s-finished mind-set
  • More Content Problems
    • Both company generated and user generated
    • Communication styles vary from person to person
    • The challenge: How can these different styles become one consistent voice that promotes your company’s message?
  • Problem Solved: Web Content Strategy
    • Collects all the content on a website and organizes it into a user-friendly presence with a common voice that reinforces the identity.
  • A Short History
    • 2002: “Content strategy” is used in a book titled Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy
    • 2005: Amy Gahran started series called What is Content Strategy and Why Should You Care?
    • 2007: Boxes and Arrows article by Rachel Lovinger, Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data
    • 2010: Content Strategy for the Web , by Kristina Halvorson
    • 2010: content strategy workshop track at SXSW
  • What does a Web Content Strategist Do?
    • Prescribes content across the site, piece by piece
    • Designs (and provides examples) for specific content types: articles, captions, pull quotes, lists, and more
    • Gives a collective voice and a single, coherent message to your content
  • A Job Description
    • Skills:
      • Experience developing online editorial styleguides, content localization processes, and SEO guidelines.
      • Solid understanding of online usability concepts and standards.
      • Superlative written and verbal communication skills.
      • Ability to plan, manage, and execute on simultaneous project deliverables under tight deadlines in a team environment.
      • Excellent eye for detail, consistency, and accuracy
  • Job Description, cont.
    • Tasks:
      • Conduct a current-state assessment including content inventory, analysis of content usage, and content gaps.
      • Assist in research activities including partner interviews, usability studies, and competitive analyses.
      • Develop content requirements and document the desired future state and target experience for partner content online.
      • Produce a final content strategy document, containing recommendations for a partner content strategy and operational model.
  • Content Strategy Workflow
  • Content Strategy Workflow
    • What Do We Have?
      • Content inventory, qualitative review, gap analysis
    • Plan
      • Usability testing, site map, wireframes, page tables
      • Examples of each style type (article, caption,etc.)
    • Build
      • Gathering, writing, editing, organizing content
    • Maintain
      • Editorial calendar, styleguide, process to remove content, process to archive content
  • What do we have?
  • Content Inventory
    • Quantitative - lists all existing content - articles, images, video, audio
    • Done on Excel spreadsheet
    • Include a column for “content types” - articles, press releases, FAQs, staff bios, product information, etc.
    • Credit: Jeff Veen, Adaptive Path
    • http://www.adaptivepath.com/ideas/essays/archives/000040.php
    Credit: Sarah Rice, IA Institute
  • Qualitative Content Review
    • Evaluate every piece of content, asking:
    • Who is the audience and what are their goals?
    • Does the existing content meet these goals?
    • What action will the audience take with the content (read, submit, join, comment, listen, watch, etc.)
    • Will content be current and accurate at launch?
    • Is the content on message for the company’s brand?
  • Gap Analysis
    • The gap between where you are now and where you want to be
    • Identify where you’re missing content
      • Discover from focus groups, surveys, and other usability studies
      • Check your analytics – what are people searching for that you don’t have?
    • Create a priority list for creating new content
  • Plan
  • Big Questions First
    • What does your site want to be?
    • What content do you need?
    • Prioritize key messages
    • How will the content be structured?
    • How will the content “walk the walk” of your brand?
  • Usability Testing
    • Who are your users?
      • Focus groups
      • Surveys
      • One-on-one interviews
      • Task analysis
      • Analytics
  • Brainstorm
      • Establish key themes and topics
      • Map user goals and business requirements to themes
      • Define the company’s voice and tone: for example, casual or formal; conservative or freewheeling
      • Identify and interview content providers
  • Integrating Social Media
    • Look at your content inventory and your qualitative content analysis. How are you currently using text, audio, images, video?
    • Which pages would benefit from two-way interaction?
    • Where are conversations taking place? Talk with receptionists, sales staff, presenters.
    • How can you further these conversations with social media?
    • Can social media be
    • integrated? If yes, give
    • details.
    • Credit: Digital Web Magazine
    • Download a blank content audit:
    • http://www.digital-web.com/extras/
    • social_media_strategy/contentaudit.pdf
  • Defining the Content Groups
    • User Generated Content
      • Message Board postings
      • Facebook and Twitter
    • Company Generated Content
      • Web pages
      • Blog postings
      • Facebook and Twitter
  • Site Map
    • Site Map Credit: http://www.gdoss.com/web_info/information_architecture_deliverables.php
  • Wireframes
    • For page structure and content requirements
    • Specifies placement of content types on a Web page
    • Makes calls to action (read, join, download, etc.) clear
    • Can be low fidelity or high fidelity
      • For high fidelity, don’t use lorem ipsum placeholder text - use actual text
    • Credit: http://www.usability.gov/methods/design_site/define.html#CreatingaWireFrame
    • High-fidelity wireframe
    • From Jesse Bennett-
    • Chamberlain of
    • 31Three.
  • Page Tables
    • Details how content will be created for web pages
    • Lists who is responsible for each area of content
    • Done in Microsoft Word
    • On a small site, done for every page; on a large site, done as templates for pages with the exact same purpose and use
    • Buy Content Strategy for the Web to see an example
  • Page Tables
    • Include:
      • Source of content - is it ready without any changes? Needs to be edited? Written?
      • When to use the content (launch, phase 2)
      • Page title
      • Assets
      • Main content focus
      • Secondary content focus
      • Any technical considerations
      • Any maintenance gotchas (product updates every spring)
  • Content Types
    • Article
    • Sidebar
    • Caption
    • Pullquote
    • List
    • FAQ
    • Product Info Sheet
  • Give Your Writers Styleguides for Content Types
      • List the number of characters for each content type
      • Include writing samples for each type, demonstrating voice and tone
      • Create templates to help writers prepare content for each content type
  • Voice and Tone
    • Gives the writing on your Web site personality
    • Comes from your brand
      • Light or serious, freewheeling or controlled, plainspoken or elaborate, personal or impersonal
    • Not just for body text – also for titles, links, and headings
    • Keep it consistent throughout the site
    • Here’s an example
  •  
  •  
  • Build
  • How Do You Get Content?
    • Original content, written for & by the company
    • RSS feeds from other sites
    • Actively search for content on other sites and aggregate it (content curation)
    • Working with bloggers, photographers, videographers, and podcasters
    • Licensed content from 3rd party
    • User-generated content from social media
  • Resources for Writers
    • Letting Go of the Words , by Ginny Redish
    • Don’t Make Me Think , by Steve Krug
    • Killer Web Content , by Gerry McGovern
    • Writing for Multimedia and the Web , by Timothy Garrand
  • Content Approval Process
    • Document who will write, edit, and approve content for each section
    • The approver makes sure that the content is useful, usable, and on-message for the brand
    • Also checks that the writing stays true to the specified content type
    • Checks that the voice and tone are consistent
  • Maintain
  • Editorial Calendar
    • Document that details when (and why) each type of content will be updated
    • Lists name of person responsible for maintaining that area of content
  • Editorial Styleguide
    • Make available to everyone on wiki or intranet
    • Leads to consistent, readable, and credible content
    • See an example: Energy Information Administration’s Web Editorial Style Guide
    • Includes:
      • Editorial voice, Capitalization, Abbreviations, Commonly misused words, and more
  • Process to Remove Content
    • Document the process you’ll use to remove out-of-date content from the site.
    • Approval process
    • Store on a wiki or intranet for all content providers to see.
  • Process to Archive Content
    • Document when and how content will be removed and how it will be stored
    • Put in a wiki or intranet for all content providers to access
    • Document approval process to archive content
  • Who’s Doing It Right? REI
    • www.rei.com
    • Content staff is well funded and respected internally. Includes
      • data architect
      • content architect
      • Taxonomist
      • seo/natural search manager
  • REI and Facebook
    • Fan page includes:
      • expert advice
      • Contests
      • Content from REI’s Twitter feed, YouTube videos, and Flickr photo streams
      • REI Outlet deal of the day
  • Web Content Lifecycle*
    • Audit
    • Analyze
    • Strategize
    • Categorize
    • Structure
    • Create
    • Revise
    • Approve
    • Tag
    • Format
    • Publish
    • Update
    • Archive
    • *Kristina Halvorson, Content Strategy for the Web
  • Resources
    • Content Strategy for the Web , by Kristina Halvorson
    • The Web Content Strategist’s Bible , by Richard Sheffield
    • Content Wrangler community (ning)
    • LinkedIn group
    • Follow the #contentstrategy hash tag on Twitter
    • Google Groups on Content Strategy
    • Scatter/Gather blog
  • Questions?