“Did we produce this because it adds to the conversation or because we thought it was “good to have”?
Of course, it’s not necessarily the last question you WILL ask, as answering it brings up a few others you must address in order to justify your response (especially if your response is the former). And ideally, you don’t arrive at this crossroads after having put in the time building the thing. But it is the last major hurdle to clear once your content is ready for release. Everything you imagined the thing would be is now in front of you, in its tangible form. So, does it work or not?
Following the “content providers as publishers” approach that most in the information architecture, content strategy, and UX types advocate for, let’s back up and think about where you start. I have a newspaper background, so when talking to clients/students/audiences about content, I always refer back to journalistic storytelling principles. Specifically, the “5W plus H”.
Getting started with content means answering these 6 questions:
- WHO is this for?
- WHAT value does it hold for an audience? For the organization itself?
- WHERE does this take place (which can be physical, but also contextual)?
- WHEN is the best time to convey this message and when is it most likely to be experienced?
- WHY should the audience care?
- HOW are they going to take the next step (or even know the next step?)
Answering these at the outset of a project means less headaches at release time and less chance of your content failing to make an impact. There is way too much “good to have” content in the world (spend a day on YouTube surfing aimlessly). Every piece of content you push out shapes your organization’s brand and influences how others perceive your work. Set the bar high and then put each piece to the test.