Content: It’s a Killer
Every project offers opportunities to learn something new about your process. The learning isn’t necessarily fun or easy; usually we make mistakes or run into an issue and that’s when we have our “a-ha” moment about changing our process. It would be so much nicer to foresee these problems, but in what world do things work that perfectly?
Bigger projects mean more content. LOTS of it.
Our studio is taking on bigger projects as we venture into 2016. We learned a really important lesson last year: How we were handling content was killing projects. Killing might be a bit dramatic, but you get the idea. Projects can easily be delayed waiting on content and that can kill the momentum behind a project.
Our solution (with no grey area or wiggle room) is to require content from our clients earlier… a LOT earlier. For clients with existing content, this means that final content (including edits and additions) will be due before the development phase. For clients who need to go through the somewhat tortuous (perceived or actual) process of developing content from scratch, the draft content will be due before we even enter the design phase.
Dividing up content milestones and making those milestones a requirement of our process should avoid the possibility of projects hitting month(s)-long plateaus playing the content-waiting-game. Attaching content delivery to design and development milestones (other than the website launch) will motivate all parties involved to stay on target.
And hey, don’t get us wrong, we get it—writing content is the worst. At least, that’s how it often feels. When deciding whether or not to write your own website copy, consider whether writing comes naturally to you and—more importantly—if you enjoy writing. If the answer to either of these questions is no, hiring a professional copywriter might be the most efficient option for you!
Huge shout out to local studio Push 10 for their recommendation of GatherContent. This great tool enables online collaboration for the development and editing of website content. It makes the process seamless by allowing multiple users to compose, edit and deliver content, and it’s not limited to copy, but accepts media files as well! It also eliminates the confusion of searching through emails for lists of outstanding items and the most recent Word document of content.
Here’s hoping our updated process for 2016 will be beneficial to our clients and ourselves. Better workflows with clear systems in place can lead to quicker launches, which leads to happier clients. It’s up to us to implement these new requirements and more importantly, stick to them!