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Topic: Content Strategy

  • A Checklist for Content Work

    by Erin Kissane · Issue 325 ·

    There’s really only one central principle of good content: it should be appropriate for your business, for your users, and for its context. Appropriate in its method of delivery, in its style and structure, and above all in its substance. As Erin Kissane explains, content strategy is the practice of determining what each of those things means for your project, and how to get there from where you are now. We are delighted to present an excerpt from Erin's new book, (and the third title from A Book Apart), The Elements of Content Strategy.

  • Testing Content

    by Angela Colter · Issue 320 ·

    Whether the purpose of your site is to convince people to do something, to buy something, or simply to inform, testing only whether they can find information or complete transactions is a missed opportunity: Is the content appropriate for the audience? Can they read and understand what you’ve written? Angela Colter shows how to predict whether your content will work (without users) and test whether it does work (with users). While you can't test every sentence on your site, you don’t need to. Focus on tasks that are critical to your users and your business. Learn how to test the content to find out if and where your site falls short.

  • Strategic Content Management

    by Jonathan Kahn · Issue 313 ·

    Any web project more complex than a blog requires custom CMS design work. It’s tempting to use familiar tools and try to shoehorn content in—but we can’t select the appropriate tool until we’ve figured out the project’s specific needs. So what should a CMS give us, apart from a bunch of features? How can we choose and customize a CMS to fit a project’s needs? How can content strategy help us understand what those needs really are? And what happens a day, a week, or a year after we’ve installed and customized the CMS?

  • Infrequently Asked Questions of FAQs

    by R. Stephen Gracey · Issue 303 ·

    We take FAQs for granted as part of our sites’ content, but do they really work, or are they a band-aid for poor content? FAQ-hater R. Stephen Gracey explores the history and usability of FAQs. Learn how to collect, track, and analyze real user questions, sales inquiries, and support requests, and use the insights gained thereby to improve your site's content, not just to write a FAQ. Find out when FAQs are an appropriate part of your content strategy, and discover how to ensure that your FAQ is doing all it should to help your customers.

  • Words that Zing

    by Colleen Jones · Issue 300 ·

    When someone consults a website, there is a precious opportunity not only to provide useful information but also to influence their decision. To make the most of this opportune moment, we must ensure that the site says or does precisely the right thing at precisely the right time. Understanding the rhetorical concept of kairos can help us craft a context for the opportune moment and hit the mark with appropriately zingy text.

  • The Content Strategist as Digital Curator

    by Erin Scime · Issue 297 ·

    As the digital landscape becomes increasingly complex, and as businesses become ever more comfortable using the web to bring their product and audience closer, the techniques and principles of museum curatorship can inform how we create online experiences—particularly when we approach content. Erin Scime shows us how.

  • Beyond Goals: Site Search Analytics from the Bottom Up

    by Lou Rosenfeld · Issue 292 ·

    Top-down analytics are great for creating measurable goals you can use to benchmark and evaluate the performance of your content and designs. But bottom-up analysis teaches you something new and unexpected about your customers, something goal-driven analysis can't show you. Discover the kinds of information users want, and identify your site's most urgent mistakes.

  • Internal Site Search Analysis: Simple, Effective, Life Altering!

    by Avinash Kaushik · Issue 292 ·

    Your search and clickstream data is missing a key ingredient: customer intent. You have all the clicks, the pages people viewed, and where they bailed, but not why they came to the site. Your internal site-search data contains that missing ingredient: intent. Learn five ways to analyze your internal site-search data, data that's easy to get, to understand, and to act on.

  • Testing Search for Relevancy and Precision

    by John Ferrara · Issue 292 ·

    Despite the fact that site search often receives the most traffic, it’s also the place where the user experience designer bears the least influence. Few tools exist to appraise the quality of the search experience, much less strategize ways to improve it. But relevancy testing and precision testing offer hope. These are two tools you can use to analyze and improve the search user experience.

  • The Case for Content Strategy—Motown Style

    by Margot Bloomstein · Issue 290 ·

    Over the past year, the content strategy chatter has been building. Jeffrey MacIntyre gave us its raison d'être. Kristina Halvorson wrote the call to arms. Panels at SXSW, presentations at An Event Apart, and regional meetups continue to build the drum roll. But how do you start humming the content strategy tune to your own team and to your prospective clients? Listen up and heed Aretha Franklin. No, really.

  • Content Templates to the Rescue

    by Erin Kissane · Issue 287 ·

    As an industry, we’ve learned to plan our sites to achieve business goals and meet human needs while shipping on time and delivering compelling user experiences. Alas, despite all the sweat we pour into strategy sessions and GANTT charts, we still have to coax content out of our subject matter experts and get it onto every page of the site. This is where the strongest hearts grow frail, and even seasoned developers reach for Advil or something stronger. But help, in the form of content templates, is on the way. Seize the power.

  • Content-tious Strategy

    by Jeffrey MacIntyre · Issue 274 ·

    Every website faces two key questions: 1. What content do we have at hand? 2. What content should we produce? Answering those questions is the domain of the content strategist. Alas, real content strategy gets as little respect today as information architecture did in 1995. MacIntyre defines the roles, tools, and value of this emerging user experience specialist.

  • The Discipline of Content Strategy

    by Kristina Halvorson · Issue 274 ·

    It's time to stop pretending content is somebody else's problem. If content strategy is all that stands between us and the next fix-it-later copy draft or beautifully polished but meaningless site launch, it’s time to take up the torch, time to make content matter. Halvorson tells how to understand, learn, practice, and plan for content strategy.

  • Writing Content that Works for a Living

    by Erin Kissane · Issue 271 ·

    Most web copy is still being written by people who aren't writers and don't have time. The good news? Anyone who touches copy can make a difference by insisting that every chunk of text on the site do something concrete.

  • The Cure for Content-Delay Syndrome

    by Pepi Ronalds · Issue 259 ·

    Clients love to write copy. Well, they love to plan to write it, anyhow. On most web design projects, content is the last thing to be considered (and almost always the last thing to be delivered). We’ll spend hours, weeks, even months, doing user scenarios, site maps, wireframes, designs, schemas, and specifications—but content? It’s a disrespected line item in a schedule: “final content delivered.” Pepi Ronalds proposes a solution to this constant cause of project delays.

  • Greatest Copy Shot Ever Written

    by Nick Padmore · Issue 248 ·

    “Got Milk?”, “Don’t leave home without it”, “Good to the last drop.” You know these taglines and the products associated with them. So what makes a great copy shot? Is there a formula? And can understanding advertising help us write better web copy?

  • Better Writing Through Design

    by Bronwyn Jones · Issue 242 ·

    How is it that the very foundation of the web, written text, has taken a strategic back seat to design? Bronwyn Jones argues that great web design is not possible without the design of words.

  • Who Needs Headlines?

    by Shaun Crowley · Issue 238 ·

    A designer formats and places text. Technically, the job ends there. But some designers go further, sharpening their clients' content to grab and focus user attention. In so doing, they create more effective sites—and gain an advantage over other designers. Drawing on decades of copywriter lore, Shaun Crowley discusses seduction by headline and other principles of writing that sells.

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