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Content Development Strategy: 10 Items to Incorporate into Your Requirements
Friday, May 14, 2010
We recently discussed all of the content touchpoints that a typical piece of web content goes through.  As part of any content development strategy you will want to create requirements that will assist any of these touchpoints and prevent bottlenecks from occurring.  So what should these requirements consist of?  Well the quick answer is that it depends.  It depends on the process that you currently have in place, it depends on resources that you have access to and it depends on the frequency and amount of content that you are looking to produce.

Having said that, there are certain items that, regardless of the above, you will want to have as part of your content requirements.  As you plan or refine your content development strategy you will want to ensure that you have the following in place.  These requirements will allow you to efficiently produce the content that you need to reach your desired target audience.  Content is king is the digital space.  There is a reason for that.  It's content and information that people are looking for and are expecting to find when they go online and use Search.

10 Must Have Content Development Requirements
  1. Content Inventory - you should have an idea of the existing content that you have out on the Web.  you would be surprised at the number of times we ask a client if they have inventory of their key content and they respond with a shrugging of the shoulders.  You need to know what you are working with.

  2. Inventory of Acceptable Content Type - this is really a fancy way of identifying all of the types of content that is promoted via your web properties.  Can you leverage things like blogs, video, press releases?

  3. URL Mapping - similar to item one, you should have an inventory of URLs that is currently indexed in the major search engines.  This is especially helpful as you perform a content audit of your web properties.  This also helps remind you of the taxonomy of how your site is structured.

  4. Marketing Calendar- for both offline and online events.  This is a must if you will be adding fresh content to your site on an on-going basis.

  5. Sitemaps - both of the HTML and XML variety.  More importantly, you should have a process for updating each as new content is added to your website.

  6. Style Guides - specific to legal, formatting, brand incorporation and usability guidelines.

  7. Meta Data Guidelines - this may include a meta data template specifically for title and meta description tags.

  8. Content Template - a workable template for content by type (i.e. web page, blog post, press release etc.).  Working from a template can make it easier to create and add content to your website.

  9. Content Workflow Process Diagram - a visual representation of all of the touchpoints of your content process along with key stakeholders at each touchpoint.  This is also referred to as a Content Flow Diagram.

  10. Content Management Checklist - an outline of how content is to be reviewed, by whom and how often.  Checklists are easy to review and print off and can be used by all involved in the content development process.

Of course the requirements for your content development strategy depend on your needs or more importantly the needs of your organization. Having these requirements in place can save you time, headaches and the need to explain the process to various personnel who participate in your content development strategy.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, May 14, 2010  
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