I recently presented a case study at a workshop to a like-minded group of content leaders. There were several comments around where content sits in the context of the customer experience. Yes, content is king, but there’s a lot of groundwork to do before you can attain the goal of useful, relevant and compelling content for your customers.
We all become immersed in our day jobs, working with stakeholders to define our content strategies, with teams of developers to put the necessary tools in place and with writers to produce interesting and targeted content. But, taking a step back, there’s a certain rigour required to establish the foundations for great digital content. For many businesses, increasingly understanding the need to take the big step forward into improving their digital presence, there are several elements they should consider on their path to digital transformation.
The first step is to work across functions to define the need – this may include working with product teams, IT, SEO, marketing, social media, analytics, project management and customer services to look at your customers in a broader context:
- What are your customers trying to achieve?
- How can you help them to solve their problem? Answer their question? Enable them to purchase a product or service?
- What’s stopping them from using your digital presence to achieve this rather than a competitor?
- From a practical point of view, how will your content be structured to support this?
To underpin this, there’s data to be analysed and assumptions to be tested. Basically there’s some legwork required:
- to develop customer personas (the subject of a Personas blog post earlier this year)
- to identify customer journeys and the purpose of your website
- to carry out a content audit; what do you already have (what can be re-used, re-purposed, retired) and an SEO audit
- to plan, test and iterate your information architecture structure to ensure it is coherent and intuitive
- to put in place best practice processes, for example your mobile presence, THEN
- to create your content in the context of your personas, journeys, structure, process and tools
The bigger picture underpinning content creation is the customer experience, where user journeys are tailored, content design is intuitive, customers are able to make an informed decision and specific tasks are simple to complete. It’s easy to lose sight of that when you are focused on the practical tasks associated with the fast moving world of creating and deploying digital content.