User flow example

A user flow shows the steps a user takes as he/she moves through a website. In this example of a user flow, these are the screens the user will see as he/she buys a pair of shoes.

Looking at the flow (even a low-fi, sketched version) gives a content strategist a chance to consider what messages the user needs to receive, and where the ideal touch points are.

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Nomenclature Example

For a content strategist, a nomenclature chart, or vocabulary, is a specific set of terms that reflect the voice of the company.

In these examples of nomenclature charts, the content strategist has chosen a set of key words, and tested them with the organization’s target audience to see if they resonate. For each key word, the content strategist supplies a definition, as well as synonyms. What makes this different from a dictionary is that the synonyms are not necessarily direct equivalents, but instead words that the target audience or organization might use interchangeably with the key word.

Taxonomy

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Content Migration Template

A content migration is incredibly complex. To make it more manageable, a content strategist can maintain a content migration document, with data on each individual URL across the site.

Every migration document is a little different. Here’s a basic content migration template, which can be adapted to suit the needs of a specific migration plan. The sections within it are listed out and defined below.

Section 1: Page Information

  • ID Number: For some content migrations, each page is given a unique ID number, so that content blocks or content elements can be tagged by the ID number and all information can be easily sorted.
  • Level: Is this in the top nav? 2nd level? 3rd level? This column keeps us accountable, and helps us catch sections that are going too far down the rabbit hole.
  • Page Name: Literally, what is the page titled?
  • Current URL: If the page currently exists, or if it is being adapted from a currently-existing page, what URL is it?
  • New URL: Post-migration, what will the URL be?
  • Description: This column is valuable so that multiple people can look at the page in question and weigh in on whether the name and edits make sense given the goals referenced in this description.

Section 2: Plan for Content

  • Task (Write, Edit, Review): What is someone supposed to be doing at this moment for this individual page?
  • Next Deadline: When should the person finish their task?
  • Complete? (y/n): If the page is 100% ready to be migrated, mark this as “Y.”
  • Notes: What does the writer/editor/etc need to know to accomplish the task?

Section 3: Metadata

  • Keywords: What will the page be tagged with?
  • Related content: What other pages (in other sections) connect to this page (that we might want to reference on this page, or include in a sidebar).

Section 4: Content Owners

  • In this section, list out everyone who is responsible for any of the content on the page.

Section 5: Editorial Deadlines

  • Draft 1 due: What date do you expect to have draft 1 handed off to the editor?
  • Draft 2 due: What date do you expect to have draft 2 handed off to the editor?
  • Final draft due: What date do you expect to have a final draft complete?
  • Content entry: When does the content need to be in the CMS?
  • You may also choose to include columns for “edits due.”

Content Inventory Template

The starting point for any content audit, evaluation, gap analysis, competitive audit, or migration plan is to have a simple inventory of all the content an organization has.

Here’s a content inventory template in an excel doc, which strategists can use to get a big picture view of the content available, sorted by type, size, hierarchy, or plan.

Discovery Questionnaire

The purpose of a discovery session is for the content strategist to learn to think like the stakeholders. It is great preparation for user interviews or voice and tone development.

This discovery questionnaire has four sections, which can flow from one to the next naturally, via conversation, or can be approached as four separate parts.

Introductions

  1. Introduce the content strategist
    1. Be honest – “my goal is to learn how you think and what you will consider a success in this project.”
    2. Provide some personal information. It will make stakeholders feel more comfortable opening up.
  2. Ask the team to introduce themselves
    1. Include a relevant ice breaker, if possible, i.e. “and tell me your favorite part of your day”
    2. Ask for their personal goals in the meeting (optional)

Origin Story

  1. How did the company get started?
    1. Encourage details, even ones that “don’t matter”
  2. How did this product/project originate?
  3. What products/projects does it remind you of?
  4. What are your hopes and dreams for this project?

Audience

  1. If only one person could use this, who would you want it to be?
  2. What keeps that person up at night?
  3. What does he/she call the company asking?
  4. How do they feel when they finish using the product/service?
  5. What would you say to them if they were in the room here?
  6. What questions do you have about the people using this?

Creating a Plan

Consider these questions internally to identify the next steps for the project.

  1. Is there a website of current content?
    1. Yes: continue to question 2
    2. No: might need content creation
  2. Will website content need to be updated?
    1. Yes: might need content creation and a content audit
  3. Will website content need to be moved?
    1. Yes: might need a content gap analysis and a migration plan
  4. Does the company have brand or style guidelines?
    1. No: need to create guidelines
  5. How much does the company know about the audience?
    1. Little: need to do user interviews
  6. How similar is this project to others in the market?
    1. Not at all: need to do concept testing, maybe create a prototype
    2. Very: need to do a competitive audit