Content can make or break a great WordPress site. While developers aren’t always in control of creating the content, it’s an integral part of their jobs. If you are tired of getting vague specs on content demands and want to learn how to communicate with your content creators, the tips covered in this talk will get you speaking their language! No more fuzzy constraints or unknown variables, when you learn effective communication skills with content creators you’ll reduce stress AND development time!
A friend of mine was developing a site and during the mockup phase, did a basic wireframe of the home page layout.
So the solution he came upon was to utilize Fill Murray, a custom placeholder script that puts images of Bill Murray in standard image sizes on your site mockup.
It was great, quirky, easy, and…the client, kid you not, responded with
Custom placeholders, whether it be Bill Murray or Kittens (and believe me, there are dozens of them out there), just don't cut it when it comes to identifying content types, spaces and sizes. Or getting your clients to even understand what content IS.
At this year’s WordCamp Orlando I caught this amazingly accurate quote from Karina during our business panel. She was asked how do you handle a client who has no idea what they’re doing for content.
While getting a feel for the content your client is using, you don’t want answers like these.
I've seen design projects come to a grinding halt while waiting on a client to provide content. Placeholders only serve a purpose for so long before it's get real or get used to sitting around. One of the most effective ways to get your client moving on their content - besides billing them for extending the project timeline - is to provide some basic content yourself. If you're able to invest the time and effort, create some applicable but still filler content. It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to give them some inspiration of what they want that content to be. And if you don't have the time, that's fine - find a content writer or graphic designer who does, have them produce some samples, and at worst you'll give them the push to produce their own, and at best you'll give your friend some business!
If you've been a developer for any length of time, you know your job ends up being a whole lot more than code. I've heard stories of my friends who end up acting like business coaches, helping their clients develop a business model while building their site. If that's not above and beyond I don't know what is. At the very least, it doesn't take a lot of effort to help your client get inspired. If you have a substantial portfolio with sites in a similar vein, show off those projects and point out aspects that would work well for their site. If you don't have anything relevant to show, find some sites that you think really do the job your client is looking for. Give them homework - tell them to find examples of writing and images that they want to eventually see on their site. The more they look into how passionate retail sites sell their wares and how the best food blogs compose their photos, the more eager they'll be to get the content train on its tracks and let you get back to wrapping up that project!
Unless you’re like me and constantly shoving cats off your desk.
WordCamp US 2016 - How to Talk Content: A Guide for Developers
How to Talk
A Guide for Developers
Why do I need to learn to talk content?
How many times have you…
Had a project held up?
Had a project go over estimates?
Had to go back and re-do significant amounts of work?
Determine Where Your Client is in
the Content Development Phase
Don’t use the word “content” – break it down into the actual
things you need.
Have them fill out a content onboarding questionnaire.
Ask for access to their existing assets or someone in charge of
producing those assets.
Probably a picture
I’m not sure yet,
I’ll figure it out
once you finish
Isn’t that your job?
I want a full image background that
stays when you scroll down. I’m
going to be using a lot of pictures
in my blogs and posting at least
once a week. I might have a logo
later, but not right now.
Offer Some Assistance
Provide basic, relevant filler content and encourage them to
make it their own.
Work with a creator friend and have them make some samples.
Help Them Get Inspired
Find sites with similar goals or uses in your portfolio.
Show them some sites you think have great visuals or
write a good block of text.
Give them homework.
Download this presentation and my
speaker notes here:
(that’s an uppercase ‘i’ in
front of the T, it’s case