content strategy: creating it and selling it internally and externally
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A presentation by Hilary Marsh and Molly Wright Steenson, delivered at netcontent/Chicago in June 2002

A presentation by Hilary Marsh and Molly Wright Steenson, delivered at netcontent/Chicago in June 2002

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  • Audience definition? Familiarity with the term? Three different axes: -- user characteristics and what they need to accomplish w/ what you’re building -- user needs vs. business goals -- existing information vs. new information
  • Audience definition? Familiarity with the term? Three different axes: -- user characteristics and what they need to accomplish w/ what you’re building -- user needs vs. business goals -- existing information vs. new information
  • There are a lot of political agendas at play: those internally at your company, those of your team, those who hold the pursestrings for the budget. Watching and understanding them is useful in several ways: Makes for a smoother project If you have to architect a workflow or signoff path, or if additional employees/contractors will be needed to support the site, you can spot pitfalls in advance The woman with the blue binder. She’s got the info. the secret person who everybody goes through Think of yourself as a secret consultant.
  • There are a lot of political agendas at play: those internally at your company, those of your team, those who hold the pursestrings for the budget. Watching and understanding them is useful in several ways: Makes for a smoother project If you have to architect a workflow or signoff path, or if additional employees/contractors will be needed to support the site, you can spot pitfalls in advance The woman with the blue binder. She’s got the info. the secret person who everybody goes through Think of yourself as a secret consultant.
  • User research: Interviews Observation Journaling Surveys Storytelling techniques the more you get into their heads, the more your challenge your own assumptions about them, the more successful your site will be. Personas and scenarios: good, fertile ground for content people. We’ve got insight (from things like reporting and writing), and we’re good at constructing stories.
  • User research: Interviews Observation Journaling Surveys Storytelling techniques the more you get into their heads, the more your challenge your own assumptions about them, the more successful your site will be.
  • User research: Interviews Observation Journaling Surveys Storytelling techniques the more you get into their heads, the more your challenge your own assumptions about them, the more successful your site will be.
  • User research: Interviews Observation Journaling Surveys Storytelling techniques the more you get into their heads, the more your challenge your own assumptions about them, the more successful your site will be.
  • Others? brainstorm. let the results of your research, interviews and task definition help you determine what’s there that could be examined, deleted or added. consider things that aren’t in existence or are in the head of the woman with the blue binder.
  • User research: Interviews Observation Journaling Surveys Storytelling techniques the more you get into their heads, the more your challenge your own assumptions about them, the more successful your site will be.

content strategy: creating it and selling it internally and externally content strategy: creating it and selling it internally and externally Presentation Transcript

  • content strategy: creating it and selling it internally and externally hilary marsh molly wright steenson net content/chicago | june 2002
  • What we’ll discuss tonight
    • What is content strategy?
    • What tools are used in creating it?
    • How do I sell content strategy to my teammates, my clients, and their stakeholders?
  • what is content strategy?
  • Content strategy: what is it?
    • In very simple terms, it’s the who, what, when, where, why, and how of all the content a site or experience will offer.
    • It’s an activity and process that can be owned by any number of team members (content strategist, information architect, producer, strategist…)
  • Content strategy: what is it?
    • Content strategy is the area between:
    • users and what they need to accomplish
    • business/strategic goals and user needs
    • information that exists (on a site, in paper, in people’s heads) and information that needs to be created to fulfill user goals
  • Where content strategy resides These six points need to be considered in order to create a content strategy . business goals user needs information to create users existing information content strategy user goals
  • Content strategy: what is it?
    • Content strategy answers questions like:
    • What message does a site need to communicate?
    • What message do the site’s users want to hear?
    • What content will enable the site to support those needs?
    • What channels will the content be delivered over?
    • How will the content be managed?
  • Content strategy: what is it?
    • It also considers:
    • How much content will there need to be?
    • Who will create the content? edit it? approve it? post it?
    • How often will the dynamic content need to be updated?
    • What will happen to the site’s dynamic content once it’s not displayed on the site?
    • Can the client’s current content from other sources be repurposed for the site?
  • What if the client wants to skip content strategy?
    • Tremendous risks:
      • They’ll build the site, and no one will come
      • They’ll build the site, and frustrated users will flood the call center
      • They’ll build the site, and visits will drop off dramatically after the first few weeks
      • They’ll build the site, and nothing will change about their business
  • What goes into content strategy? First, the business goals…
    • You’ve been hired for a reason. What is your client or team trying to accomplish?
    • Interview the stakeholders. Know what’s important.
    • Understand the brand strategy – this affects your tone and style.
    • Put metrics to the business imperatives (as a team). What successes can you actually measure?
    • Know the pitfalls. Watch the internal politics.
  • … and quite vitally, your users
    • Understand your users: what are their goals? their needs? their pain points? what do they not need?
    • Research your users (this is a whole long topic of its own) – go stand in their shoes
    • Create personas and stories about your users
    • Segment your users (by activity, role, age, interest – think beyond demographics)
  • Then define what your users need to do
    • Tasks – you need to outline what people are going to do on the site
    • It’s the mix of business goals and user needs. What is the purpose of the site and what does it take to get it done?
    • Task definition should be a team activity (could include business analyst, information architect, interaction designer…)
    • Also consider internal tasks: what needs to happen to keep the site up-to-date?
  • Define the content
    • What information is required to support the business, the users, and the tasks?
    • It’s not just textual: it can come in many different forms
    • Need to know what’s there already…
      • Online
      • Offline
      • In people’s heads
    • … and what needs to be created or deleted.
  • Some types of content
    • Textual
          • articles, columns
          • news items
          • online course content
          • links
          • instructional text
          • navigational text
          • job listings
    • company information
    • forums/bulletin boards
    • recommended selections
    • product descriptions
    • legal information
    • customer service policies
  • More types of content
    • Visual
          • photos
          • illustrations
          • streaming audio
          • streaming video
          • Flash movies
          • animations
          • games
          • maps
          • interactive greeting cards/postcards
    • Data:
          • forms
          • stock quotes
  • tools
  • Tools and activities to define content strategy
    • Content inventory: what’s there?
    • Content audit: what should stay? what can go? what shape is the content in? what’s missing?
    • Content matrix: output of the content audit, then a living, breathing document that tracks much information about the site’s content
    • Content strategy document: answers questions about audience, tone and style, workflow, conceptual model, editorial platforms
    • Style guide: makes it possible for a writer to create content for the site based on the initial choices and guidelines