When do you involve your content strategist when you’re working on a website design? At the beginning, middle, or end? Here’s a fairly common website design and redesign process, step by step, with a snapshot of your content strategist’s role along the way.
The Website Redesign Process (and Your Content Strategist’s Role)
1. Vision and Direction
Your content strategist should be part of your discussions about big business goals, audience needs, and detailed project objectives. Also, s/he should set up meetings with key stakeholders to create or review:
- Core messaging priorities (also called a hierarchy)
- Measurement markers
- Brand charter (often developed by marketing)
2. Research and Discovery
As you plan to interview your audience, do surveys, user testing, and interpret data, your content strategist can help craft the right questions and interpret the data. This will ensure you are getting the information you need to influence your content output. Other elements your content strategist can focus on independently or alongside your marketing team:
You need a list of the content you have and what state it is in. Your content strategist may do this manually, with the help of software, and/or with the help of your developer and information architect.
- Content inventory (spreadsheet)
- Content audit (detail on the inventory)
4. Information Architecture and User Experience
Your content strategy work so far should inform the IA and UX pros on your team. Content strategists are also helpful in helping sketch out the site map and content needs for each page, so that wireframes and architecture are based on actual content needs (not lorum ipsum and pretty boxes).
- Content analysis and recommendations
- Content in motion considerations
- Content outline or site map
5. Design, Photography, and Motion
At this point, your content strategist should inform your designers and visual communicators of content and brand storytelling needs and ideas. Then, s/he can provide feedback on design in context, video concepts, photo shotlists and more. At the same time, your strategist will be absorbed in the next step, the content writing, which often happens simultaneously with design and visual communication elements.
- Brand storytelling consultation
- Concepts collaboration
6. Writing, Repurposing, and Editing
Your content strategist may hire or oversee the writers, subject-matter experts, and editors assigned to different parts of your content project. S/he will develop style guides and workflow systems, if not already in place, to ensure the content creation and review process is a smooth one. Everybody loves version control.
- Editorial style guide
- Sample content pages writing
- Content reviews to ensure objectives are met
- Workflow templates setup and management (use SaaS!)
7. Usability Testing and Refinement
If you plan for this stage, content strategists love you! After you get feedback from your audience during a soft launch or internal launch, provide this information to your content strategist for ideas for improvement and content strategy refinement.
8. Development and Programming
Your content strategist is in Bali during this phase. Or at least deserves to be.
9. Content Migration and Site Build
Still in Bali. But available for loose end content refinements and questions.
10. Q/A, Testing, and Site Review … and Launch!
Vacation’s over! Even if you have a whole Q/A team, get your content strategist involved in reviewing the site once it’s all put together, just before or just after launch. S/he knows best what it’s supposed to look like and can spot awkward or incorrect migrations fairly quickly.
- Content Quality Assurance and Proofing
11. Content Maintenance Training and Governance
Who is in charge of maintaining, updating, and refreshing your content over time? If it’s your content strategist, ask for the governance model. If it’s someone or various people on staff, ask for a few training sessions to transition the content strategy and all your hard work successfully.
- Governance model
- Editorial calendar
- Training and transition sessions
12. Ongoing Content Marketing and Management
Regularly review those measurement markers and audience feedback with your content strategist. Discuss sales obstacles or audience concerns. Content strategists will have ideas to smooth and refine your content to make life easier and continue to attract and engage the right audience.
To answer your question, where do content strategists fit in to the process? For the highest success rate, include them from beginning to end.
Need an experienced content strategist for your project? Let’s talk about that.