Tech startups and app makers need to make the most of today’s most valuable asset: content. What is content? I define it as material with which and audience can engage, whether by reading, watching, sharing, or interacting.
Good content inspires action, and to do so it must strike the right balance for its intended audience. Is it interesting and useful? Is it entertaining? Is it surprising or new? If it’s none of these, then you won’t reach your audience.
Good content starts with good strategy. I start by understanding the business goals of the product or website. Content is not one-size-fits-all, and in fact no content strategy follows exactly the same formula. Nonetheless, I structure my process around a few guiding pillars: audience, brand voice, user experience, and metrics.
Audience is always the most important consideration when planning for content. What need does your content fill for them, and how does filling that need lead to a positive relationship with them? Part of my process involves getting to know your audience or end user.
Brand voice is usually developed as part of an overarching brand strategy, but it’s not exclusively in the realm of the marketing department. Interactive products should embrace brand voice as well. Do you let engineers write copy? It’s time upgrade your content strategy.
User experience should be designed around content, not the other way around. The content makes the experience. Unfortunately, many startups and app designers treat content as an afterthought.
The efficacy of a content strategy must be measured, and these days there are plenty of tools for doing so. A/B testing can help determine which content works best. A content strategy should be empirical.
I believe in a content-first approach to any interactive product, website, or app. Content is the set of ingredients you need before you bake your cake. Get the balance off, and your cake might not be what you’d hoped.