02 May 11 questions all content strategists should ask
In every story there is a beginning, a middle and an end. Content strategy is much the same. The beginning you get to know your audience and their needs; the middle you structure the content around their needs and those of the business; and the end? Well ideally, content strategy should be a never-ending exercise, a process as opposed to a project.
As a content strategist my role is to facilitate the conversation between a number of different categories, including UX, editorial standards, audience expectations, analytics, messaging, and so on. And to start this conversation, and keep it going, it’s important to ask smart content questions early on in the process.
11 questions I ask when developing a content strategy:
- Why are we developing this website?
- Who do we want to reach?
- What are our messaging priorities?
- What are the users’ expectations when visiting the site?
- How can we plan content to meet business objectives and users’ needs?
- What existing content can we leverage in new and better ways?
- What new content will we need to develop to fulfil users’ needs?
- What content tools will be needed to govern content post-launch?
- How will the content scale across social, mobile and other publishing platforms?
- How will we ensure the website is sustainable?
- How will we measure the success of the website?
It’s a good idea to answer these questions before mapping out a content structure and hierarchy. And they shouldn’t end there. As content strategists we need to be consultants, constantly asking both right-brained and left-brained questions to facilitate the user experience.
Here’s a few more:
- Can the user easily find what they’re looking for?
- What does the user expect to find and accomplish here? On this page, section, module, etc?
- What is the call-to-action? Where should they go next?
The success of a content strategy is often based on what you decide not to add. When questions, like the ones above, go unanswered, web pages tend to get designed and sub-heads tend to get added without anyone really knowing why.
The success of a content strategy is often based on what you decide not to add.
How will you measure the success of your website? If you’ll measure it by how it looks, you might as well design a carbon copy of another site you like. If you’ll measure it by how many clicks convert into customers, you’d be wise to invest in your content strategy to ensure your content and user experience work together.