Find Your Voice: A Content Strategy Workshop (revised)


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Do you love the way your organization communicates on social media? Are your posts and tweets and updates consistent? Are they unique, so no one else could be saying the same things? Are they memorable enough that anyone cares?

To best communicate with the communities you serve and connect to — on social media or through any channel — you need to be clear about your communication goals. In this hands-on workshop, you and your team will work together to develop a Message Architecture. You'll be able to use this fundamental yet simple tool to make tactical communication decisions — on content, style and tone, visual design, and more. It will help you project a clear and consistent message to the world — and to all within your organization.

By the end of this workshop you will:

* Know what a content strategy is and how it helps you keep a consistent brand identity

* Know how a message strategy forms the foundation of your content strategy

* Have developed with your team members a memorable message strategy that's unique to your organization

* Understand how to use this message strategy to inform decisions for your social media presence and beyond

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Find Your Voice: A Content Strategy Workshop (revised)

  1. 1. Steel City Solutions Conference August 9, 2013 Cynthia Closkey Big Big Design Finding Your Voice: A Content Development Workshop
  2. 2. Most web content sucks
  3. 3. • Example: • Photojojo Some content rocks
  4. 4. The fix for bad web content: Content Strategy
  5. 5. • “Content strategy is the practice of planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.” • Content: text, graphics, video, audio • Strategy: holistic, well-considered plan for obtaining a specific goal or result • Via “Content Strategy for the Web,” Kristina Halvorson Content strategy
  6. 6. • “A message architecture is an outline or hierarchy of communication goals that reflects a common vocabulary.” • Helps you think about how to communicate with the target audience • Not the same as brand values • From “Content Strategy at Work,” Margot Bloomstein Message architecture
  7. 7. • Moo • Message architecture* • Cheeky • Witty and fun • Young without being childish • Customer oriented and responsive • Approachable, friendly, welcoming • Championing and empowering • Helpful • Accessible • * NOT ACTUAL MESSAGE ARCHITECTURE, but extrapolated from their content by Margot Bloomstein Example: MOO
  8. 8. Exercise: Card Sorting
  9. 9. Card sorting to find message style
  10. 10. Cardsorting • Step one: • Who we are • Who we’d like to be • Who we are not • Go with your gut for about 20 minutes.
  11. 11. Cardsorting • Step two: • Who we are who we➜ ’d like to be • Think aspirational. What needs to change? ~15 minutes
  12. 12. Cardsorting • Step three: • Form groups: what goes together? • Prioritize the goals or groups • Tell the story of those aspirations • ~15 minutes
  13. 13. Why do this? • Gain standards by which to know when we’re communicating well.
  14. 14. Message architecture • Now that we know who we are and how we are to be perceived, what does this mean for how we communicate? • Visual and design implications • Text implications • Content type implications
  15. 15. Message architecture example
  16. 16. What & when & how to write for each channel • Website • Social networks: Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest,YouTube, LinkedIn • Press releases • Print ads • Radio & TV • Online ads • ...
  17. 17. The real question: What does your audience need right now?
  18. 18. The conversion funnel Text Source:
  19. 19. Conversion funnel •Awareness: Initial contact with the customer. •Interest: Customer develops some interest in what you offer or do. •Desire: Customer starts to want what you offer, but hasn’t taken action. •Action: Customer finally musters up the money, time, and effort needed to act.
  20. 20. Create & deliver the right content for each stage in the funnel
  21. 21. Stage 1: Awareness • What are the questions a potential customer would ask when not even aware of your organization’s offerings? • Culture:What is there to do in Pittsburgh on a Friday night? • Social services:Who is addressing the needs of the homeless in Allegheny County? • Redevelopment:What’s anyone doing about the vacant lots in town?
  22. 22. Channels for delivering awareness messages
  23. 23. Stage 2: Interest • Once the customer is aware of your org., what questions would they have to help them understand or know more? • Culture:What’s it like to attend an opera? • Social services: How does the way you’re helping the homeless compare to what others do? • Redevelopment:Who else are you working with to leverage your community investment?
  24. 24. Channels for delivering interest messages
  25. 25. Stage 3: Desire • How can you help the customer develop desire for what you offer? • Culture:What shows are scheduled for this season? • Social services: How can my involvement with your organization also serve my needs (for giving back, for example)? • Redevelopment: How are current projects benefiting my community?
  26. 26. Channels for desire messages
  27. 27. Stage 4:Action • What final hurdles does the customer have? • Culture: How can I buy tickets? • Social services: How can I volunteer or donate? • Redevelopment: How do I get my company involved?
  28. 28. Channels for action messages • your website • online ads (Google Adwords) • SEO • Facebook page, Google+ page
  29. 29. •Where should you put your resources? •Wherever your funnel is losing customers
  30. 30. •"Do I see a lot of visitors to our website?" •"Do potential customers know about us? •If not, work on awareness.
  31. 31. •"When we guest post on other websites, do the customers click through to our website?" •"Does our offering interest them?" •"Do they wonder how it works or what it’s like?” •If not, work on interest.
  32. 32. •"Are the customers interested in buying our product/donating/volunteering?" •"Do they believe what we provide is a great, necessary thing?" •If not, work on desire and prove the benefits to the customers.
  33. 33. •"Do people understand how and where to buy our product/volunteer/donate?" •"Are my conversion rates similar or better to others in the industry?" •If not, work on action.
  34. 34. • Workflow tasks • Creation • Review/approval • Measurement and feedback loops • Presence management presence-management-chores-for-business- you-could-do-every-day/ Online content workflow
  35. 35. • Do less, not more • Figure out what you have and where it’s coming from • Learn how to listen • Put someone in charge • Start asking “Why?” How to have better content
  36. 36. • Web content is useless unless it does one or both of these: • Supports a key organizational objective • Supports a user/customer in completing a task Do less, not more
  37. 37. • Less content is: • Easier to manage • More user-friendly • Less expensive to create Do less, not more
  38. 38. • Audit current content • Inventory sources of new content • Create a plan for content creation • Develop a message architecture • Makes it easier to create consistent content • Shows you what content has greatest value Figure out what you have and where it’s coming from
  39. 39. • Figure out how this can work within your organization • Find out what customers want (not just what you want) Learn how to listen
  40. 40. • Too many cooks… • Set up guidelines and tools • Establish an editor-in-chief Put someone in charge
  41. 41. • Just because you can doesn’t mean you should • Question assumptions, trends, directives that don’t support a business goal Start asking “Why?”
  42. 42. • Write in a style that fits your goals and audience • Avoid fluff and jargon • Use the simplest words and sentences you can • Complement words with other media • Take advantage of links and visuals • Recognize it won’t be read in order or completely • Use headings and bullets • Put important stuff first (if appropriate…) • Test your assumptions Writing for the web
  43. 43. • Your website is the hub • Other online presences • Social media pages • Related/subsidiary websites • Forums and wikis • Notification mechanisms • E-newsletters • Social media • Offline means Delivering web content
  44. 44. Next steps
  45. 45. • Content strategy credits: Margot Bloomstein Book: Content Strategy atWork Presentation: Secrets of a Brand-Driven Content Strategy Workshop • Conversion funnel credits: Dalia Lasaite Post: “How to Create Better Content Using the Conversion Funnel Approach” • Super-great content strategy info: Wojciech Chojnacki Post: “Content Is AllThat Matters on the Web”
  46. 46. • Cynthia Closkey, Big Big Design