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Content Strategy for Naysayers


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Presentation for edUi in Charlottesville, VA, 10/24/16.

Auditing content, analyzing processes, creating governance structures, developing workflows, writing standards and style guides, organizing trainings… naysayers will argue that content strategy can be expensive, time-consuming, and a royal waste of time. We disagree.

In this talk, we’ll share some quick and dirty content strategy methods you can use to get your efforts moving without going broke or losing your mind. We’ll also share how we advocated for content strategy at our institution, convincing the naysayers that it’s worth the investment and that the long-term impacts will benefit us all.

What you’ll learn:
- Cheap, quick methods to improve your web content
- Practical strategies for getting buy-in from naysayers
- Tried and true ways to set a foundation for long-term content strategy initiatives

Published in: Education
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Content Strategy for Naysayers

  1. 1. content strategy for naysayers “there’s no time for that!” #edui_naysayers Rebecca Blakiston @blakistonr Shoshana Mayden @shosh1530
  2. 2. Rebecca, team lead Shoshana, content strategist University of Arizona Libraries | Web Design & User Experience
  3. 3. content it’s why people visit your website
  4. 4. content strategy makes content useful, usable, and findable
  5. 5. ● audits ● analyses ● workflows ● style guides ● policies ● standards ● trainings ● documentation ● expectations through stuff like
  6. 6. getting started: quick & dirty
  7. 7. Put someone in charge… or take ownership yourself.
  8. 8. focus on stuff with the biggest impact
  9. 9. a spreadsheet is your new best friend
  10. 10. discover content using • site navigation • site search • your CMS • web analytics • web crawlers • content inventory tools
  11. 11. capture the basics ● page title ● URL ● where it lives if time, evaluate ● relevance of content ● quality of writing ● formatting issues ● analytic data
  12. 12. get rid of outdated junk
  13. 13. Example of outdated junk?
  14. 14. get rid of stuff that makes you seem like a jerk
  15. 15. Example of jerky content?
  16. 16. before make it nicer after
  17. 17. or, just delete before: 151 words of rules after: zero words of rules
  18. 18. create stuff you can reuse
  19. 19. make a content template
  20. 20. develop some style Excerpt from UA Libraries Content Style Guide
  21. 21. provide guidance Excerpt from UA Libraries Content Style Guide
  22. 22. define voice and tone Excerpt from Mail Chimp’s Content Style Guide
  23. 23. use all the tools
  24. 24. Grammarly checks grammar Hemingway editor checks content for clarity Spell checkers catch typos Link checkers find broken links
  25. 25. wysiwyg, permissions, revision history customize your cms
  26. 26. improve tiny, fiddly stuff
  27. 27. tweak some microcopy
  28. 28. use active language
  29. 29. make things easier to read
  30. 30. do any and all of these things • cut unnecessary words • use sentence case • use parallel construction • use semantic headings • don’t spell out URLs • use meaningful link labels (no “click here”) • use numbered lists for steps • use tables for sets of “if, then” content • replace big words with small words • avoid or explain jargon • write useful metadescriptions • left align (almost) all content
  31. 31. Interested in this stuff? New book out January, 2017.
  32. 32. set the foundation
  33. 33. be a partner
  34. 34. Before we finalize I want to make sure we hear from Dave and Shoshana… I want to make sure we are using language and tone that is consistent with UAL web content strategy. former naysayer
  35. 35. remember that staff are users, too
  36. 36. Elle Berry I use the library website to find answers to customer’s reference questions, find contact information for other library staff, and answer questions via email and chat.
  37. 37. recognize individual differences and adjust your approach
  38. 38. speak to their goals
  39. 39. for administrators value impact efficiency optimization reputation visibility accessibility
  40. 40. for the web team sustainability flexibility focus alignment of design & content reduction of technical debt anticipation of future needs prioritization of work value of effort
  41. 41. for the market-driven competitive analysis market research studies cases studies target audience segments key messages content marketing conversion rates brand identity SEO
  42. 42. I think removing a lot of the legalese (or putting it on a separate page) will allow us to highlight the many wonderful features of this service. former naysayer
  43. 43. for the data-driven web analytics task success rates time on task eye tracking metrics impact measures organizational goals data visualization
  44. 44. for the customer-focused personas editorial guidelines plain language accessibility user interviews focus groups eye tracking studies usability studies
  45. 45. get creative
  46. 46. check out the competition
  47. 47. visualize your content
  48. 48. get them thinking about users
  49. 49. and the journey they take
  50. 50. get them sketching
  51. 51. convince them with draft content before after
  52. 52. still dealing with naysayers? persist.
  53. 53. build trust respond to concerns follow through listen first, then talk be flexible aim for group decision making
  54. 54. broadly authentically strategically thoughtfully communicate!
  55. 55. marketing communications administration shared governance have a seat at the table
  56. 56. Any chance you could review and let me know anything I’m missing? It’s a lot of information consolidated into one email, and I’d like to make sure that it answers the majority of questions about our process and what’s next. HR director
  57. 57. recruit content champions
  58. 58. pick your battles prioritize, compromise, and practice patient persistence
  59. 59. …sorry by my English major back ground will not allow me to put a contraction in business documents desk staff
  60. 60. celebrate small wins
  61. 61. I wanted to give you the opportunity to review these before we implement...You were both immensely helpful in getting me started on crafting the email notice revisions last summer. Thank you again! desk supervisor
  62. 62. apologize later #sorrynotsorry
  63. 63. websites channels products services
  64. 64. your content defines you it’s kind of a big deal
  65. 65. questions?