Content can be written off the cuff, on the fly and down the pub. But when you’re running at scale and want to do things consistently and well, firm foundations are in order.
Giving time and attention to important content traditions removes roadblocks and confusion and pulls the most important elements - your audience and intention - to the centre of a project.
Less like sharpening your axe before felling a tree and more like reaching for your shobu-bocho before slicing your sashimi, these are sophisticated foundations for those who want the very best content outputs for their business.
Here’s what we dive into before we begin to write, and how each stage helps set you up for success.
We work with you to build these foundations, facilitating impactful workshops with your core team. Or take receipt of the good work you’ve done and ensure it supports the content to come.
Have you defined your vision, mission, goals and objectives?
Where are you going and why? What do you want to achieve? Show us your road map so we can deliver work that supports your ultimate goals.
Have you defined your brand values, personality and tone of voice?
What do you stand for, why do you care? Your values define your brand personality. Which in turn supports your tone of voice. This body of work is what makes you stand out. Settle for ‘business-friendly’ and you’ll remain generic. Your brand deserves better than that!
Have you defined your audience personas?
Probably the most important piece of the puzzle: who are we writing for? The more detail you have here, the more research and listening that’s done, the more powerful your content will be. This is sword-sharpening stuff that stands you in strong stead for all your content writing endeavours.
Do you have wider marketing plans?
Knowing what else you’re up to lifts your content team from ‘doers’ to ‘thinkers’. When we know this, we start to spot opportunities to tie in with your wider marketing programme so you can fully leverage the investment.
Do you have a distribution strategy?
How will this work be shared with the world? Where will it appear? On your website? On your social channels? On a billboard? This impacts what is written, how and when.
Do you have an editorial process?
Sign-off is always a bottleneck. So we ask who needs to sign off the content and then bring them with us on the journey - right from the off. This means they’re on board and ready to constructively critique content. And curveballs are avoided!
We also cover this so we can be aware of simple logistics, like when stakeholders are likely to have time in the diary for approval. And if they prefer phone calls or emails. If you use Google of Word.
Do you have an editorial calendar or project tracker?
More geeky logistics but they eradicate project confusion. We use project trackers for websites and short-medium term projects. And editorial calendars for content strategies. Shared across your team and ours and managed centrally by us, these documents are a point of reference for catch up calls and ensure everyone knows what’s going on.
Do you have a brief?
We’ll probably already have discussed the output - most engagements start with what we’re actually writing. But in the context of everything else that original brief might have transformed into something quite different. We’ll define or review this and, if creating ongoing content as part of an editorial plan, create a brief for each piece.
So, how did you do?
On the right track but still have a way to go? I offer generous conversations about this stuff. Book a call!
Have the majority of footings in place? Completing your content foundations will be a dream. It’s time to pull in the right partner, polish those parts that are incomplete and get ready for lift off.
Ticked most of the boxes? Just a few tweaks and you’ll be in content heaven. Maybe you’ve still got a few holes in the process, though? Let me know how it’s going.