The process of writing content can be taxing. But, content creation can be further exacerbated by disorganized ideas, note keeping or feedback from colleagues. To keep your team and your sanity in check, it is good to implement an organizational framework around your existing drafting and content management practices.
By figuring out what habits yield positive results, you can avoid setting yourself and your team up for failure. And to do this, you and your content team need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and decide on what you can improve upon to develop B2B web content efficiently.
Identifying your team’s tendency for bad habits like procrastinating, too frequent copy changes or a lack of communication is the best way to safeguard against disorganization during content development. Here’s four easy ways to ensure that your next web initiative is an organized initiative.
Figure out what is slowing you down
Your team may be able to crank out pages and pages of content in a week, but does it takes far too long to peer-review? Or maybe your team is simply having hard time keeping track of drafts or comments – causing you to start from scratch. Think about using collaborative software like GatherContent, Notable or Evernote (If you choose this option, I recommend using LiveMinutes as well.) to help your team composite their feedback, writing and changes online. Using online repositories for your ideas and edits is a great way to collaborate with larger groups, groups with many scheduling conflicts and those who work remotely with your business.
Perhaps your copywriters do not have the technical acumen, or the time, to be bothered with online drafting processes? Then consider having regular roundtable drafting sessions. Choose a time every week or month that suits your deadlines and have everyone come prepared with their notes for the current round of drafted content.
Request that everyone also bring an un-annotated version of the content and have your team make changes as they are discussed to their “clean’ copy. By promoting open discussion in a collaborative setting, you will receive everyone’s input and your team will have the ability to veto or adopt new ideas based on common feedback. (Note: this works best for small groups).
Make sure there is a consensus among your team
Writing for the web is always going to be an adapted form of writing, meaning that the same tried and true rules of print copy do not apply. To write successful web copy, you need to focus more on vernacular than jargon; getting high concepts cut down to bite-sized pieces of the most useful information. As with any type of writing, there is more than one way to get your point across which can, and will, cause disagreement among your peers.
Steering your conversations towards universal B2B site themes can help you gain headway on the copy you must include on your website. Universals are the “big picture” sections of content that echo your business’ personality and offerings throughout the website, such as:
- Company power statements or “tag lines”
- What separates your business from competitors
- Listing products of note and their descriptions
- How you would like users to contact you (online forms, social media etc.)
- Company culture/mission statements
- What jobs are available (if hiring)
But once you get into the murkier copy of internal pages that go deeper into detail, you need to find a way to rein in all the different interpretations of the same idea. These pages can include content that:
- Explains how your product works
- Gives reasons for the way you work
- Includes testimonials from other clients and/or select quotes
- Includes editorial copy for your calls to action buttons or landing pages
When disagreement surmounts its way into the conversation, push the issue aside until you can nail down the universals. Once you can eliminate variance for your “big picture” content your supplementary content should be easier to create.
Do your images make sense?
I know what you are thinking: this is about writing, not making my site pretty. But, as the (rather cliché) adage suggests: a picture is worth 1,000 words. Your images, much like your power statements, page title and headers are going to catch your audience’s attention first, and can be a deciding factor in whether or not they would like to read on.
Readership can be increased simply by image placement, the use of captions and the image’s relevance to your content topic. Be sure to discuss, at length, which images and visual aides do and do not go with your copy and get outside opinions if you can. After all, images are content too!
Stay on schedule!
Staying true to your content planning and finalization deadlines is crucial in getting your web initiative pushed out in time. Designate someone on your content team to be responsible for any and all scheduling and schedule meetings at regular intervals. Giving yourself enough time between deadlines to make any major changes is another a good practice to adopt; do not put yourself into a position where you are scrambling to make last minute site-wide copy changes the night before your content is due!
For a digitally savvy team, try using sites like DivvyHQ (which is specifically made for content development) and Wrike to schedule and assign tasks to your group. Each gives your team the option to make detailed notes and organize a task dashboard to adjust to how each member of your team likes to work.
Not sure if these solutions will work for your team? Ask!
Trying new methods of organizing your content process will only help your team learn how they can best collaborate and record their feedback effectively. Brainstorm with your team during your next B2B web initiative and see what issues they are looking to fix themselves. The more you can communicate about organization early on in the process the easier it will be to meet and exceed your content deadlines. Happy writing!