Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

First things first: message matters

14,222 views

Published on

A hierarchy of communication goals, cohesive multichannel experiences, long-term consistency... we all want these things. But actions speak louder than words—and as content strategists, we're in the business of both! What steps can you take to ensure your recommendations are always on brand—and that everyone understands what that means? Just as content without content strategy can delay a launch or undermine an otherwise lovely design, content strategy without a message architecture is a waste of your time and creativity.

In this session, Margot will coax you back from the content audit, style guidelines, and copywriting to first create a message architecture. As a strategic driver of content strategy and visual design, a message architecture will help you and your stakeholders rally around a common vision, ensure everyone is speaking the same language, and clarify what we really mean when we say content is “good”—all while avoiding political arguments that come down to personal preference.

Presented at CS Forum London #csforum11, September 5, 2011.

Published in: Design, Technology

First things first: message matters

  1. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 1 © 2011© 2011 Margot Bloomstein CS Forum 090511 @mbloomstein FIRST THINGS FIRST: MESSAGE MATTERS.
  2. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 2 © 2011 Unless you understand what people are trying to do with your content you cannot know if it’s working or not.” (Gerry McGovern, 45 minutes ago) “
  3. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 3 © 2011 Your serve.
  4. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 4 © 2011 Why content strategy?
  5. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 5 © 2011 Why content strategy? Because we all want the same thing, but content keeps getting in the way.
  6. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 6 © 2011 Deliver on time
  7. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 7 © 2011 Maintain a consistent vision
  8. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 8 © 2011 Ensure the site can evolve
  9. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 9 © 2011 Support a holistic user experience
  10. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 10 © 2011 Minimize revisions
  11. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 11 © 2011 Maintain long-term consistency
  12. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 12 © 2011 Keep the voice in microcopy
  13. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 13 © 2011 Ensure cross-channel consistency
  14. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 14 © 2011 Ensure cross-channel consistency …among multiple bloggers
  15. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 15 © 2011 Ensure cross-channel consistency …among print and web and phone
  16. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 16 © 2011 Ensure cross-channel consistency …between Twitter and Facebook
  17. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 17 © 2011 Ensure cross-platform consistency (and contextual relevance)
  18. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 18 © 2011
  19. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 19 © 2011 First things first.
  20. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 20 © 2011 First things first. What do you need to communicate?
  21. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 21 © 2011 First things first. Why even do this…
  22. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 22 © 2011 First things first. Why even do this…redesign this website,
  23. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 23 © 2011 First things first. Why even do this…redesign this website, let the CEO start blogging,
  24. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 24 © 2011 First things first. Why even do this…redesign this website, let the CEO start blogging, audit the content,
  25. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 25 © 2011 First things first. Why even do this…redesign this website, let the CEO start blogging, audit the content, start engaging on Twitter,
  26. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 26 © 2011 First things first. Why even do this…redesign this website, let the CEO start blogging, audit the content, start engaging on Twitter, consolidate the current site architecture,
  27. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 27 © 2011 First things first. Why even do this…redesign this website, let the CEO start blogging, audit the content, start engaging on Twitter, consolidate the current site architecture, add video testimonials,
  28. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 28 © 2011 First things first. Why even do this…redesign this website, let the CEO start blogging, audit the content, start engaging on Twitter, consolidate the current site architecture, add video testimonials, incorporate user reviews,
  29. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 29 © 2011 First things first. Why even do this…redesign this website, let the CEO start blogging, audit the content, start engaging on Twitter, consolidate the current site architecture, add video testimonials, incorporate user reviews, develop new brand guidelines…
  30. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 30 © 2011 First things first. Why even do this…redesign this website, let the CEO start blogging, audit the content, start engaging on Twitter, consolidate the current site architecture, add video testimonials, incorporate user reviews, develop new brand guidelines… if you don’t know what you need to communicate?
  31. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 31 © 2011 If you don’t know what you need to communicate, how will you know if you succeed?
  32. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 32 © 2011 Establish the message architecture.
  33. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 33 © 2011 Establish the message architecture.
  34. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 34 © 2011 What’s a message architecture? A hierarchy of communication goals that reflects a common vocabulary.
  35. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 35 © 2011 What’s a message architecture? Concrete, shared terminology, not abstract concepts.
  36. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 36 © 2011 Make us look innovative, but not risky.
  37. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 37 © 2011 It should say traditional, but edgy.
  38. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 38 © 2011 Words are valuable, but meaningless without context and priority.
  39. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 39 © 2011 How? • Engage in a tangible, hands-on way • Encourage debate and conversation • Identify points of disagreement • Prevent seagulling • Force prioritization • Encourage ownership & investment
  40. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 40 © 2011 Cardsorting Step one: • Who we are • Who we’re not • Who we’d like to be (my methodology)
  41. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 41 © 2011
  42. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 42 © 2011 Cardsorting Step two: • Who we are  Who we’d like to be
  43. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 43 © 2011
  44. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 44 © 2011 Cardsorting Step three: • Prioritize the goals • Tell the story of those aspirations
  45. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 45 © 2011 Why do this?
  46. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 46 © 2011
  47. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 47 © 2011
  48. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 48 © 2011 Why do this? Words are cheaper than comps.
  49. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 49 © 2011 Why do this? Let creative colleagues refine the concept, rather than confirm the purpose.
  50. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 50 © 2011 Why do this? Gain standards by which to conduct a qualitative audit. (What is “good” anyway?)
  51. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 51 © 2011 Why do this? Sell new content types to manifest the message architecture—not just because they’re trendy.
  52. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 52 © 2011 A little thing with big impact.
  53. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 53 © 2011 A little thing with big impact. How could we prove this is a car not like anything else out there? It’s a small car, but it’s premium. You get a Porsche 911 ride for a fifth of the cost. It’s got history… but in Europe. You need to give people content to give them history.” “
  54. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 54 © 2011 A little thing with big impact.
  55. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 55 © 2011 Message architecture Premium technology • Assertive; ready to perform as a driver’s car • Proactive and supportive of spontaneity Classic design • Experienced and savvy Cheekiness • Smart,“punny,” hip • Fun, gleeful
  56. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 56 © 2011
  57. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 57 © 2011
  58. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 58 © 2011
  59. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 59 © 2011
  60. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 60 © 2011 If these emails are boring you and you don’t mind missing out on all the lip-smackin’ stuff we’ll be sending in the future, simply send a message to owner- unsubscribe@insiders.miniusa.com and include “Unsubscribe” and your favorite fruit in the subject field.
  61. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 61 © 2011 Message architecture drives the user experience
  62. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 62 © 2011 Nomenclature Calls to action Instructional content Sentence structure Diction …in content
  63. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 63 © 2011 Photographic angles Dark backgrounds Bold headlines Thick stroke weights …and in design
  64. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 64 © 2011 …and in the choice of features and content types
  65. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 65 © 2011 So where to from here? Content audit: measure quality against the aspirational attributes in the message architecture.
  66. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 66 © 2011 So where to from here? New content types: prioritize features against the new communication goals. Experience? Portfolio. Trust and responsiveness? Testimonials.
  67. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 67 © 2011 So where to from here? Editorial style guidelines: determine diction, sentence structure, formality, etc. Traditional? Longer sentences, more Latinate verbs, pragmatic use of passive voice, etc.
  68. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 68 © 2011 But your message architecture comes first.
  69. #csforum11 | @mbloomstein 69 © 2011 Thank you! Margot Bloomstein @mbloomstein margot@appropriateinc.com slideshare.net/mbloomstein #csforum11 Title image: http://flickr.com/KandyJaxx All other images property of their respective owners or public domain.

×