I don’t love buzzwords, but “content strategy” works as a way of summarizing the compulsion to dig into the way content gets organized on large sites and carefully consider what it’s trying to accomplish. This involves getting invested in the sales and lead generation mission of whatever is being written. It involves thinking through where copy is going to show up and how it will get used and shared. Some examples:
Cheerios.com. Cheerios wanted to reorganize its site in an admirably user-centric way. Rather than setting up a top-down, product-centric architecture, they wanted to structure it around real questions customers were asking about the brand. When can I feed Cheerios to my kids? What’s whole grain? How are Cheerios for my diet? What’s the history behind the famous crunchy circle? Fortunately, the old site had a wealth of raw information about heart health and nutrition to work with. I needed to map this content to the identified questions, discover some new questions, and determine what stays, what goes, what’s missing and what needs to change. In addition to the content topics I was asked to evaluate the writing itself. Like a lot of health care content, it was a bit preachy. My voice and tone strategy focused on “you can” instead of “you should” statements. In addition to strategy, I also ended up doing pretty much all of the writing and editing of the health-related content.
The Suddath Companies. This moving, relocation and logistics company was at an exciting crossroads (driving pun not intended) in its 90+ year evolution from a family-founded, family-run firm to a global transportation leader serving individual, corporate, commercial and government customers. They had worked hard to identify their shared values and a new language to articulate it. This renewed brand focus was absent from their current online presence, which was spread out across 36 different web sites, which were cobbled together from partnerships, acquisitions and standalone city-specific pages. The sites were inconsistent in look and feel and none of them were responsively designed: the content not only failed to reflect their renewed voice but reflected outdated business unit organization. I’m grateful I was entrusted to help fix that, which included a massive audit, remapping and content architecture as well as writing or overseeing the writing of entirely new content.