Checklists are a great way to prepare for content creation, governance, and even discovery and research. The Content Management Institute has provided a list of 14 checklists for content marketing success, though many are equally valuable for content strategy, including:

  • Content kickoff checklist, for writers or other content creators
  • Content prioritization worksheet, to identify which content most needs attention
  • An SEO checklist, to ensure content is incorporating the right SEO elements

Card Sorting Resources has a great overview of card sorting.

Smashing Magazine put together a beginner’s guide for card sorting.

Boxes and Arrows wrote a more detailed, “definitive guide” to card sorting.

UX Booth has a 101 to card sorting.

Measuring U breaks down card sorting into a top 10 key things to know.

Measuring User Experience has a list of card sorting tools, some free and some paid for.

Optimal Workshop sells three tools for easy card sorting.

Competitive Content Audit

A competitive content audit is an inventory of your site’s content, compared to the content of competitors’ sites. By comparing and rating how well the content meets specific goals, you can see where your site can improve, and where your competition is lacking (leaving opportunities for you to provide value!).


Usability Testing Question Guidelines

Usability tests are unique to each individual project. That said, there are some universally valuable questions, and plenty of guides available to help create appropriate questions for your specific test. Here are some general guidelines to follow when creating usability test questions.

For more tips, visit the User Testing blog post on the subject.

How to Enjoy Twitter

Social media is often worked into the strategy of a given project. Twitter is a great way to connect with users, if it’s used well. Here are some basics.

How does Twitter work?

  • Twitter is like a grocery store. You wander the aisles passing people, and every so often you stop to chat. The longer you’re in the store, the more likely you are to recognize other people, and ultimately you’ll get to know the regulars.
  • As a Twitter user you can “follow” other people, which means everything they post will appear in your Twitter feed.
  • Twitter posts are always shown chronologically, and most users follow enough people that any given post will only appear high enough in their feed to be seen for about five minutes. In other words, the “life” of a Twitter post is five to ten minutes.

Why should I use Twitter?

  • Twitter is a great place to build brand awareness and display “value” by posting free resources (articles, videos, images, quotes).
  • Twitter’s use of hashtags (#) allow users to follow topics in addition to people, so your content is easily categorized for people who are interested in the topics you tag.
  • For personal use, Twitter is a great way to stay on top of new trends and best practices within a topic of community.

How to get started

  • Choose an alternative app, like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or Tweetcaster to use in place of Twitter. These tools provide the ability to customize and simultaneously view multiple feeds.
  • Search for topics you’re interested in by hashtag. This may take some trial and error; for example, searching “#content” brings up so many posts about such a variety of things that it is not useful. Searching #userresearch brings up so few posts that it is not useful. However, searching #contentstrategy brings up a list of posts that updates every few minutes, with most posters focused on the relevant field.
  • When you find a topic with a useful hashtag, add it as a feed via your app of choice.
  • Schedule tweets in advance, so that you can be active without needing to spend hours every day online.
  • Visit your app when you need some inspiration or a break from work. It’s a good way to learn something or build your brand while feeling like you’re not working.
  • Make a point of replying to people who follow or retweet you. It’s like saying hello in the (metaphorical) grocery store.
  • Follow people who consistently post interesting things in your hashtag feeds.

Voice and Tone Best Practices

When creating voice and tone guidelines, keep in mind these best practices:

  • A company is like a person. The voice the company speaks with should be a voice that the target audience wants to talk to.
  • Consider the personality. Every company likes different metaphors, but pick one that seems appropriate. For example:
    • If your company was a car, what kind would it be?
    • If your company was played by a movie star, who would it be?
    • If your company was a restaurant, where would it be?
  • Another way to ask this question is what car would the target audience drive, what movie star would they want to befriend, and what restaurant would they picture themselves at?
  • Play out actual conversations. Identify the questions the customer/client/user would ask, and how you can best answer it.
  • Play with different archetypes.