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The Content Lifecycle

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Presented at Northern UX, Manchester. 5 core stages every content lifecycle should have and the keys points to consider at each stage.

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The Content Lifecycle

  1. 1. Hello... Robert Mills Content Strategist, GatherContent @RobertMills rob@gathercontent.com
  2. 2. The Content Lifecycle (February 2016)
  3. 3. Content is hard work
  4. 4. “A series of stages through which something (as an individual, culture, or manufactured product) passes during its lifetime” - Source: merriam-webster.com
  5. 5. Content lifecycles
  6. 6. Content lifecycles
  7. 7. Sub cycles of lifecycle stages
  8. 8. “It is less important what the stages are called and more important that the practitioner have a unified process for managing the entirety of the lifecycle.” - The Language of Content Strategy
  9. 9. “Recognising a content lifecycle means recognising that the business of creating and publishing content follows a recognisable, predictable, repeatable process” - Rahel Bailie
  10. 10. Strategy & Planning Measure- ment Publishing ProductionRefinement 5 core stages of any content lifecycle
  11. 11. 1. Strategy & Planning
  12. 12. 1. Strategy & Planning What happens when you don’t give content the attention it needs and deserves? ★ You have to change the design to fit the content ★ Content is ‘cut and shut’ to fit design ★ The site lives in limbo whilst you wait for contents
  13. 13. 1. Strategy & Planning The Core Model: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Business Goals s User Needs
  14. 14. 1. Strategy & Planning Content Audits and Inventories: ★ Inventory - spreadsheet accounting for all content on site ★ Audit - Review of your content and recommendations ★ Must read - Content Audits and Inventories: A Handbook
  15. 15. 1. Strategy & Planning Scaling Content Strategy to suit different budgets: Inventory: ★ Pick a section of site rather than complete site ★ Or use a tool to remove manual work Audit: ★ Priority section. ROT Assessment (redundant, outdated, trivial) ★ Entire site, start matching to business goals
  16. 16. 1. Strategy & Planning Understanding Your Audience: ★ Difference between knowing and understanding ★ All audience insights allow you to make informed decisions ★ Validate assumptions or gain new learnings ★ Move from top-level stats to needs, behaviours, motivations ★ Audience cycle, like all others, is perpetual
  17. 17. 1. Strategy & Planning Content Style Guides: ★ Authentic and consistent voice and tone ★ All content output is communicated effectively ★ Helps when lots of people producing content ★ Disseminate the guidelines so they are actually used ★ Head start - http://styleguide.mailchimp.com/
  18. 18. Strategy and Planning Recap: ★ Strategy first, avoid 3 risks of ignoring content ★ The core model ★ Content audits and inventories ★ Scaling content strategy practices to suit budgets ★ Strive to understand your audience ★ Create a content style guide 1. Strategy & Planning
  19. 19. 2. Production
  20. 20. A Typical Content Production Process (for website content)
  21. 21. 2. Production
  22. 22. 2. Production Establish a Clear Workflow: ★ What stages do you need? ★ Who is responsible for each stage? ★ Are the stages linear or fluid?
  23. 23. 2. Production
  24. 24. 2. Production Effective Content Collaboration: ★ Define roles (copywriter, editor, etc) ★ Confirm responsibilities (approval, editing, production) ★ Communicate where they fit into the workflow ★ Ensure there’s an effective way to provide feedback ★ Manage expectations - what is due and by when
  25. 25. 2. Production Other Considerations: ★ SEO/Meta titles and tags ★ Enforcing content style guide ★ Tagging and categories ★ Technology ★ Accessibility ★ Maintenance/Governance
  26. 26. 2. Production Proto-content: ★ Existing content ★ Competitor content ★ Write your own content ★ Draft content ★ Commission sample content
  27. 27. 2. Production Pair-writing: ★ Two people sit together to write ★ Content specialists collaborate with stakeholders ★ Speeds up production and publishing process ★ Guarantees input from subject matter experts
  28. 28. Content Production Recap: ★ Content production processes are resource heavy ★ Establishing a clear workflow ★ Achieve effective content collaboration ★ Tip 1: Proto content ★ Tip 2: Pair writing 2. Production
  29. 29. 3. Publishing
  30. 30. 3. Publishing Editorial Calendars: ★ Plan what is being published and when ★ Allows you to ‘stuff the pipeline’ ★ Who, what and when ★ Measure resource needed and what impact increasing frequency will have ★ Visual overview
  31. 31. 3. Publishing Technology Requirements: ★ What do you need to get the content published? ★ Important to involve devs in the content process (asap!) ★ Who is responsible for publishing? (do they need training?) d
  32. 32. 3. Publishing Testing Content: ★ Links to measurement section of lifecycle ★ User testing/observation ★ A/B testing
  33. 33. 3. Publishing Content Promotion: ★ Content isn’t ‘done’ once published ★ Needs to reach the desired audience(s) ★ Start of the maintenance/governance phase
  34. 34. Publishing Recap: ★ Editorial calendars ★ Technology requirements ★ Testing content ★ Content promotion/marketing 3. Publishing
  35. 35. 4. Measurement
  36. 36. 4. Measurement Is Your Content Working? ★ Define what you want to measure and how ★ Did it achieve desired result? E.g. fewer support tickets ★ Tools and data ★ Engagement (social) ★ Frequency of measurement, how long after publishing ★ Before/after. What can you learn? ★ Disseminate findings
  37. 37. 5. Refinement
  38. 38. 5. Refinement What Are You Refining? ★ Content or strategy?
  39. 39. 5. Refinement Action the insights: ★ Spectrum: copy tweaks to adding/removing sections ★ Content inventory - living document, record actions here ★ Measure the refined/changed content (repeat as needed)
  40. 40. 5. Refinement Maintenance and Governance: ★ Not necessarily based on measurement insights ★ Plan for on-going content production ★ Putting a new site live is just the beginning ★ What resources are needed post-launch? ★ New/different workflow/roles and responsibilities
  41. 41. “Reassessing your strategy regularly is important, especially as your business model or priorities change, new competitors come on the scene, or your target audience shifts.” - Meghan Casey, The Content Strategy Toolkit
  42. 42. ★ The content lifecycle is perpetual. Plan, produce, publish. Review, refine and repeat. Content is never ‘done’.
  43. 43. Strategy & Planning Measure- ment Publishing ProductionRefinement 5 core stages of any content lifecycle
  44. 44. ★ Powerlifting Ant http://www.successpraxis.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/The-Benefits-of-Hard-Work.jpg ★ Spirograph http://b.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/poster/2014/12/3039458-poster-p-1-play-with-this- virtual-spirograph-instead-of-working.jpg ★ Jurassic World Map http://www.jurassicworld.com/park-map/ ★ Jurassic Park Hatching http://www.buzzfeed.com/kellyoakes/life-finds-a-way ★ Jurassic Park: T-Rex Print http://blog.phdvirtual.com/recovery-heroes-joe-steve-from-dupaco-community-credit-union/ ★ Evolution Chart http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/UnNews:Humans_evolved_from_dinosaurs ★ Dinosaur Size Chart http://jurassiraptor.tumblr.com/post/108426171532/the-dinosaur-size-chart-on- jurassicworldcom-had Image credits:
  45. 45. Thank you. Robert Mills Content Strategist, GatherContent @RobertMills rob@gathercontent.com Slides – http://bit.ly/1m8chBp Resources – http://bit.ly/1nZ1Ph8

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