My Main Super Power: Content Strategy
I like to say that Content Strategy determines the who, what, where, when and why of your content. It includes things like:
- branding: your company and content’s unique value proposition, who you are and why someone would want to do business with you
- messaging: what are you trying to say to the reader? What do you want them to think of your/your product?
- content life cycle: who writes it, how long it will stay up
- client and requirements discovery: Who are the stakeholders and what are their needs, both in business and functionality?
- information architecture: how content is arranged in a website/application
- usability/user experience: how easy it is to use, user workflow, and whether the user does what you want them to
- Finally, for big honkin’ reams of content, we get to talking about things like taxonomies (methods of classifying data).
Every project is different, and it may touch upon one, several, or all of these areas.
Super Power #2: a passion for Friendly and Focused Writing & Editing
While there is room for specialized language when writing for a topic, I think there’s a way to write that is friendly to those less knowledgeable, without dumbing down for those more informed.
Good informational copy should answer questions before a user asks them
I’m good at being a user mind-reader. I’m sure it comes from my days of writing technical manuals. I can do a site copy review and tell you things that are missing, that a site visitor would wonder about.
Copy shouldn’t pussyfoot around
I also work hard at capturing unique value propositions in copy. I once made a client cry* when she read how perfectly I’d encapsulated her in what I’d written about her brand.
Brainstorming from an objective viewpoint
You’re very close to your product/service, and so are your employees.
Sometimes you need to talk to someone who doesn’t know thing one about you. I can tell you objectively how others see you (through your messaging, branding, website and copy) and give you suggestions to optimize what you have, punch it up, or even go in a completely different direction that is more authentically you.
I’ll ask excellent questions to get to know your situation quickly.
Sometimes I’ll come up with new product/service ideas that you hadn’t thought of. Something that happened recently: a client contacted me to help him combine two separate business websites, but after talking to him a bit I realized that he was sitting on another goldmine. He has great ideas for ways to “humanize” the car sales process, ways that still make car dealers the same money as the fear-based hard sell. I’m going to work with him to develop a curriculum, and see if we can spread it to an ebook or webinars.
Usability, and user experience common sense
Google analytics can tell you that users are arriving at and leaving your site, but it can’t tell you WHY.
I can take a look and tell you what’s wrong (and right) with your website, based on the tenets of usability and conversion (turning a visitor into a buyer). I’ll also throw in some brutal honesty (THAT GREEN IS MAKING MY EYES MELT!) Sometimes you can improve things with something as simple as moving a button, or changing the text in a heading.
Trust me, your visitors won’t tell you this stuff, they’ll just leave. But if they have a pleasant experience on your website, they’ll equate that to having a pleasant experience WITH YOU.
Speakin’ the language of tech
It’s very nice that I can communicate well, but having worked with the technology I can translate it to the customer.
“Well, that’s great that you want different flying menus on each page. I should let you know that will require custom Flash development for an additional $20,000, and will add three weeks to the schedule.” *smiles sweetly*
I use gratuitous quotes because social media, for all its hype is simply having conversations with your customers. Tools like Twitter and Facebook are simply new technological ways to reach those customers more easily and interactively. They are fabulous for some people. But they might not be right for you. So be prepared if I tell you that.