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Managing the Content Process

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Content’s a funny beast: it's both part of our web projects, and outside of them. You need to define your strategy and work with real content during the design process, and also prepare people for all the implications of your decisions: rewriting, reorganizing, archiving, migrating, and a million other tasks that take time, skill, and planning—not to mention all the stuff people will post and change after launch.

But you’re a project manager, not an everything-all-the-time manager. How can you guide all that content work that exists beyond your project’s boundaries without losing sight of your scope? In this talk, you’ll learn how to create a parallel process for content—one where the content decisions made within the design process are vetted against real-world constraints, and where PMs can rally the right people at the right time to keep content on track.

Published in: Marketing, Internet
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Managing the Content Process

  1. MANAGING THE CONTENT PROCESS sara wachter-boettcher @sara_ann_marie Digital Project Management Summit
  2. con·tent /ˈkäntent/ a seven-letter word that you say like it’s a four-letter word
  3. flickr.com/photos/puuikibeach/8564682770 we already have all the content we need!
  4. flickr.com/photos/jamescridland/613445810 we’ll just need to run this by a few stakeholders!
  5. flickr.com/photos/rhysasplundh/5202454842/ the CEO has a few comments.
  6. flickr.com/photos/amatuerphotographer/8133278472 we’ll definitely have our content ready by launch!
  7. flickr.com/photos/angelina_creations/4336718492 project management?
  8. flickr.com/photos/tigergirl/1236320261 project management?
  9. flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/5186228351/ project management?
  10. There is another way.
  11. flickr.com/photos/west_point/5357124683 give content a parallel process.
  12. Work content into the design process.
  13. Consider success beyond your project. Create Revise Publish Review Revise Retire
  14. BETTER CONTENT,
 LESS PAIN without losing our minds our goal:
  15. flickr.com/photos/bensonkua/2902926323 1 Put content at the core.
  16. Content strategy defines a purpose and a realistic plan for content.
  17. It connects business strategy with day-to-day publishing.
  18. How could content help us get closer to that goal? What’s our organization trying to accomplish? What will it take to make that vision possible?
  19. flickr.com/photos/visualsensory/6849199972 Content strategy helps us focus.
  20. flickr.com/photos/dandelion-tree/4525221446 We do this best together.
  21. Make it easy to focus on core decisions.
  22. Include: •Core audience •Audience goal(s) •Organizational goal(s) •How content will help reach them •What that content looks/feels like
  23. Mad libs take us from hand-wavey to specific and audience-centric.
  24. Create simple reminders.
  25. ‘‘Content Vision Deliver accurate, relatable content about all facets of college life—helping overwhelmed students find college matches that make them feel prepared and excited.
  26. ‘‘Content Vision Deliver accurate, relatable content about all facets of college life—helping overwhelmed students find college matches that make them feel prepared and excited.
  27. ‘‘Content Vision Deliver accurate, relatable content about all facets of college life—helping overwhelmed students find college matches that make them feel prepared and excited.
  28. ‘‘Content Vision Deliver accurate, relatable content about all facets of college life—helping overwhelmed students find college matches that make them feel prepared and excited.
  29. ‘‘Content Vision Deliver accurate, relatable content about all facets of college life—helping overwhelmed students find college matches that make them feel prepared and excited.
  30. ‘‘Content Vision Deliver accurate, relatable content about all facets of college life—helping overwhelmed students find college matches that make them feel prepared and excited.
  31. Content Principles Keep it simple
 Students have a lot going on: courses, clubs, jobs, and sports. Make life easier, not more stressful. Go beyond the books
 Cover every aspect of college life—from majors to school spirit to social life. Empower, don’t advise
 Provide clear, complete information that helps students make their own choices.
  32. content starts with
 COMMON GROUND
  33. flickr.com/photos/aukirk/8422681046 2 Find what’s realistic.
  34. flickr.com/photos/karolfranks/14367307803 big ideas are great.
  35. flickr.com/photos/merlin1487/5518280677 reality…not so much.
  36. What are the implications of our decisions?
  37. ‘‘You’ll have to rewrite all your content for this new responsive design.
  38. ‘‘All product descriptions are too long; they need to be cut in half to fit the design.
  39. ‘‘Each of those 5,389 PDFs need to be transformed to structured content.
  40. Avoid the overwhelm.
  41. Agree on what’s achievable now.
  42. flickr.com/photos/zeldman/16225849549 Get help prioritizing.
  43. Scale back if your content can’t keep up with features.
  44. not perfect, but ACHIEVABLE
  45. flickr.com/photos/zionfiction/16173858067 3 Set people up for success.
  46. ‘‘Okay, here’s the new content guideline! Get writing!
  47. flickr.com/photos/katerha/4474670666 Go beyond training.
  48. flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/8463350573 Build habits, not just rules.
  49. Does not support the core content or align with the brand. Serves our core content needs or aligns with the brand.
  50. Redundant/ wasted space! I’ve already clicked “Buy a Home.” Confusing— simpler and less similar labels needed. Clear CTA options and nicely prioritized on the page. Labels for loans, calculators, etc. are easy to understand. Why are so many headlines Qs? Doesn’t inspire confidence.
  51. Create simple tools to lend structure.
  52. Partnership Profile SUMMARY 2-3 sentences that provide a brief introductory summary of the partnership and the partner organization. These should be around 40 words. DESCRIPTION The complete partnership content. Do not repeat the content from the summary. Explain the programs underway, what the partnership looks like, how is collaboration happening, when the partnership started, etc. Overview (2-3 sentences) About the partner (3-4 sentences) About our partnership (3-4 sentences) O R G A N I Z A T I O N Structured Content Writing Practice N A M E ANATOMY OF PRODUCT CONTENT Get performance and value with the Widgetron 8100 Pro —the only widget that knows as much about your business as you. Never miss another meeting with Widgetron. Ergonomic, durable, and comfortable, the Widgetron 8100 is a great choice if your company wants pro features without the custom-made price. Widgetron 8100 Pro A customizable widget without the custom price. Do it your way. With the Widgetron. • Lightweight, efficient carbon body • 2-inch diameter WidgetBase • Lightweight body—can be carried with one hand • Replaceable bearings and struts • Secure, cloud-based storage of all Widgetron files PRODUCT NAME POSITIONING STATEMENT MARKETING HEADLINE ALT HEADLINE MARKETING PARAGRAPH 1: INTRO MARKETING PARAGRAPH 2: PROFILE BULLET POINTS A widget that adapts to fit you. REQUIRED. Always include the model number, if one exists. 100 CHAR // REQUIRED. The “elevator pitch”—a single line that tells us what the point of the product is. Be translatable and approachable, not awkward. 50 CHAR // OPTIONAL. Be short, punchy, and creative, but focus on the customer. Used in marketing material (e.g. advertising). 180 CHAR // REQUIRED. Answer the question, “Why would I buy this product?” Be conversational, translatable, and benefits- focused. Use search keywords. Must be able to stand alone, while also naturally leading into the marketing profile. 180 CHAR // REQUIRED. Describe who and what the product is good for, focusing on the user experience. Make sure this flows after the marketing intro. 50 CHAR // OPTIONAL. If you include a headline, you must include an alt version for markets that can’t use creative copy. This should be engaging, but straightforward and literal. 80 CHAR/BULLET // REQUIRED. Use minimum of 2 bullets for simple products, up to 8 for more complex items. Describe a single feature or essential spec per bullet. Use active voice and simple language to make each bullet as short as possible. Be translatable and conversational. A quick guide to producing on-brand, CMS-ready content.
  53. practice leads to PROGRESS
  54. 4 Clarify the path. flickr.com/photos/sjoerdlammers/15990047848
  55. ‘‘And you’ll find ‘content delivery’ right there in week 37 of our Gantt chart.
  56. Focus on one bite at a time. flickr.com/photos/bjmccray/1564988306
  57. Content workshop Content 
 batch 1 Internal 
 review CMS entry ONTENT ANAGERS Batch 1 
 revisions Content 
 batch 2 Internal 
 review Batch 2 
 revisions QA Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar.PROJECT TEAM Backend development High-level IA Content modeling Editorial & CMS guide Front-end development Style tiles Prototyping Prototyping Content principles QASample content
  58. Content workshop Content 
 batch 1 Internal 
 review CMS entry CONTENT MANAGERS Batch 1 
 revisions Content 
 batch 2 Internal 
 review Batch 2 
 revisions QA Content 
 batch 3 Internal 
 review Batch 3 
 revisions Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. PROJECT TEAM Backend development High-level IA Content modeling Editorial & CMS guide Front-end development Style tiles Prototyping Prototyping Content principles QASample content Content workshop Content 
 batch 1 Internal 
 review CMS entry CONTENT MANAGERS Batch 1 
 revisions Content 
 batch 2 Internal 
 review Batch 2 
 revisions QA Content 
 batch 3 Internal 
 review Batch 3 
 revisions PROJECT TEAM Backend development High-level IA Content modeling Editorial & CMS guide Front-end development Style tiles Prototyping Prototyping Content principles QASample content
  59. Get a sample you can work with in design.
  60. Test the workflow with a small set of content.
  61. Work in batches so you can track progress.
  62. Cross-check content with the design and the CMS as you go.
  63. flickr.com/photos/dingatx/4794442002 Find a content champion.
  64. Kickstart the writing process.
  65. flickr.com/photos/marcthiele/15079177169/ Pair up.
  66. • Align around goals and standards • Partner across groups or roles • Trade off writing • Ask questions of each other’s work • Share with the whole room • Gather feedback from other teams
  67. keep teams moving TOGETHER
  68. flickr.com/photos/socialeurope/4304137088/ Content is chaotic.
  69. flickr.com/photos/roboppy/1297032301 But you can bring more harmony.
  70. Flickr images used via Creative Commons Attribution license unless otherwise noted. @sara_ann_marie sarawb.com Thank you.

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