Creating products, completing redesigns, and implementing new features is an amazing process to be a part of. While the process of building something new may vary greatly from revamping an existing product, there are consistencies when it comes to the issue of content. With products already in the market, we encounter legacy content that hasn’t been touched in years. We also see content that was created prior to establishing a foundational strategy. Setting an initial focus on prioritizing content and copy can help alleviate future pain points during the product development process. Let’s explore some of the reasons why.
Why is content strategy and copy so important?
We can have all the product requirements in place, the most inspiring and usable interface, a seamless working app, but it will fall flat if the content doesn’t meet a user’s expectations. Figuring out what information a user finds useful and what they expect to see on the page you are designing is key for a successful product launch.
Example: I’m looking to make more meals at home that fit my dietary restrictions. I decide to download a new recipe app, and create a profile. The app, however, does not allow me to view Items by my nutritional preferences or to sort by my food allergies. Even though the layout and flow of the application is understandable and innovative, I’m probably not going to use the app. The app creators should have tagged content and structured it to appeal to their user base - such as allowing users to search for “gluten free” recipes.
To hit the user’s mark, we have to start early.
Instead of leaving content as a last priority item, it is critical to put content in the driver’s seat. Consider what content you have, what content you will need, and how your content may change or evolve as your company grows. The following activities help to ensure that you are meeting user needs and business goals, while focusing on content strategy:
Conduct a content audit
Content audits record what content already exists within a site, app, or product. It also includes the pages that house the content. By conducting a content audit, you are able to assess what you already have on hand and what content should be carried over during a redesign. Content audits also help you resolve any redundancies and establish what still needs to be created before a release.
Content audits can also help you gauge the content quality. By presenting the content in a cohesive manner, stakeholders, designers, and other team members can align on next steps and ensure that a content strategy is developed.
Create or update content guidelines for brand/message/and tone
Content can also be used to guide the structure of the site. The messaging and tone go hand-in-hand with site experience. Do you want your tone come to across as serious, fun, or cheerful? What does your brand’s voice sound like? These guidelines should be established ahead of content and copy creation. By doing so, you’re a step closer to ensuring that your tone is consistent and applied across all pages of a site.
Establish rules for content creation and tagging
A site or product should present a personalized experience for users and provide easily accessible information that is relatable to what matters to your audience. Linking inside and out of your site requires that you develop a content tagging structure. Begin to map out how you want to surface related content, where the relationships between these pieces of content lie, and how they should be structured to ensure that there is room for tagging growth in the future.
A tagging paradigm could not be more important than for sites - specifically large company intranets - that house 1,000+ pieces of unique content. Creating a content management and tagging structure from the start will allow legacy content to exist side-by-side with newly created pages or copy.
Utilize copy decks
Copy decks help document all of the copy that goes into a site, app, or product. It wraps up what should be included and provides structure on a screen-to-screen and component basis. Creating a copy deck helps you understand where copy should live, and where messaging may overlap or correlate & compliment other content.
Wrapping it up
There are many ways to go about delivering a content experience that is more enjoyable, effective, and overall successful. When we keep content in the forefront, we take the time to recognize user needs and goals, which equates to a well-rounded and established experience.