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  • Content Strategy

Content Strategy

by Peter Hinchliffe Business Development Director

 Posted on November 26, 2014

NXT are a specialist .NET digital agency and our latest blog focuses upon a common digital hurdle when designing/re-designing a new website project - content strategy.

If you have been involved in any digital project, one of the common mistakes made by both agency and client is to ignore content at the planning stage and pick it up at the end of development phase. It's not uncommon to hear "we'll sort that out later, let's focus on the designs for now" but in this blog, NXT will explain why content strategy should be at the heart of planning and designs of any digital project. 

We love the idea of leading "content first" with all strategy but we know in the real world this doesn't always happen. We've listed a few pointers and benefits to pushing content up the pecking order in project priorities.

First point to consider: Don’t waste time and budget designing and building functionality and templates that fail to handle real content. Many functionality ideas are created within the initial part of a project. Agencies and clients alike should ask themselves if the content idea supports a goal or function and if so, is this validated by any evidence such as historical analytics? The next stage to ask is, if this can be sustained by the client team, sometimes with all the will in the world designs aren't always fulfilled or maintained.

At NXT we have a detailed client content questionnaire but if you don’t have any content strategy, consider the following to discuss in project meetings. Firstly, will the sitemap and content be audited for new site validity? Is there a person who can champion the editing and creation of content and is there a guide or style that it should follow? If there are multiple stakeholders involved, it's worth making sure the project lead involves them with preliminary discussions too.

Second key point when you're into mapping out the new site, audit all existing content with the sitemap planning, by the end of the project it will reduce amends and design changes (usually when all designs are signed off) and it will benefit the client by having an accurate, insightful plan. The plan not only should include body copy but all titles, URL's, SEO data, files and matching key messaging needs.

As part of our discovery process NXT will always evaluate competitors of clients. Usually this involves design but content should be included as part of this process. This includes primary messaging, content types, styles and much more.

Third point to reiterate is that content and design are intertwined and so are the users interacting with it.  Persona planning is equally important to content strategy. Delivering the appropriate content to the user's needs, format, detail, delivering selling points, journeys across the site.

Finally, a word of caution (from experience), using non-signed off content or dummy content such as Lorem Ipsum can sometimes sneak into signed off sites but also placeholder content can look perfect in designs but in the real world will need amending. If deadlines or budgets are tight following these simple guidelines will increase design time and productivity helping reduce costs.

Overall a win / win for all parties.


About the Author

author

Peter heads up our client liaison side of NXT, supporting everything from new business opportunities, client and project liaison, through to project training and handover. Peter's key interests lie in digital marketing strategy/planning, UX and social strategy. Keep track of Peter's updates on the NXT Twitter feed. Don't follow his personal account unless you are into rugby, football, golf, F1, carp fishing or general customer service complaints to brands. 


Tags
  • Content Strategy
  • Website Design
  • Digital Planning
  • Content Marketing
  • Sitemap audits