When I ask you about content strategy, what are you thinking? Are you thinking about populating your new website with copy or are you thinking longer term?
When we meet with clients to ‘redesign’ their websites, they are often so fixated on the challenges surrounding the copy for their new site, that they fail to think longer term. This is a dangerous mistake as Kristina Halvorson makes clear in an article she wrote for .net magazine:
Many people assume that content strategy is about content creation – but in fact, that’s the easy bit. It’s what Halvorson calls the “messy stuff” surrounding the long-term management of content that forms the real challenge. Essentially, she explains, it’s all about asking the right questions early on in the process – “Who is the content coming from? Who owns the content? How will that content be maintained and developed after launch?”
“So really it’s about working to move organisations’ focus away from launching content and towards looking at content as something that lives within a long-term life cycle. And that requires a longer commitment than just a copywriter and a project manager for the website launch.”
This is a huge issue! We recommend that our clients create a new position in their organisation, one dedicated to content strategy – a content editor.
This person is not only responsible for initial content population but also for the ongoing quality of content on the site. They are responsible for editing what is added but also (and potentially more importantly) for removing content that is no longer helpful.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to consider the long term management of content on your site. As Kristina says:
Who owns the content? How will that content be maintained and developed after launch?
What is your approach to the management of content? Is an editor the right approach or is training of content contributors more important? Lets discuss the best way forward in the comments.