Category Archives: Copywriting

Is web content production like programming?

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A friend in the web industry recently admitted that she didn’t ‘get’ content production.

After I’d picked myself up off the floor, I thought I’d post something helpful but enlightening on their behalf.

I suggested to the person that they might find it useful if they compared content production to something they’re more familiar with – like technical development and the programming process.
After all, the technical development process depends on:

  • A detailed brief from the client or PM for the programmer’s (editor’s) background
  • An up to date IA / sitemap to map out the solution and gauge the work required
  • A functional spec (in an editor’s case, a content plan or strategy which outlines each section and page)
  • A sufficient lead in time to write code (or copy). After all, like rushed code, rushed content will not work

Feel free to add anything else you think will help with our cause. In the meantime, it can never hurt to read the insightful Cure for Content-Delay Syndrome on A List Apart.

How to create a content matrix – advice

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A good content matrix can make all the difference when launching a website. Given that delays in content production is often cited as one of the most common reasons a launch date slips, it can even have a positive effect on your career. As in not being sacked.

A content matrix, usually an Excel spreadsheet, ensures the smooth running of the content production or migration process.

The matrix is managed by a content editor, producer or project manager and aims to track all elements of the content development process, page by page.

Used in conjunction with sitemaps and wireframes (preferably ones which have been signed off) , the matrix includes elements such as a page’s title, description and purpose, production status, related links and micro-content like metadata and alt text.

It should also detail who will be providing the content, the content source, who owns the content, any sign off processes, language or format information and, most importantly, all deadlines for delivery.

If you detail all of the above, you should have a clear critical path of content delivery and launch the site on time.