Monday, August 1, 2011

So, who should write web content?

So, a concept we always struggle with internally is:  Who should write our web content?

I was checking out a contracting site the other day and noticed a ton of projects for writing web content.  Many of the companies listed were extremely technical, and i could not believe they would have a "lowest bidder" write their web info.  I scratched my head, and thought a bit.  Have you ever been to a web site within your industry, maybe a competitor, and said "Who the heck wrote this stuff?"  Improper use of terms, errors in context, and even issues with the overall concepts.  See the forest through the trees, and focus on the 3 degrees of content:  context, terminology and concept.  This is especially true within the software and technology industry.  Some key tips for making sure you hit the mark:

  1. Know your audience.  If you are in a highly technical market, and your audience is technical, your content needs to be accurate in all degrees: context, terminology and concept.  It is always advisable to have multiple reviewers, to make sure there is no lapse in credibility.
  2. Create paths within your site for different audiences.  Perhaps you create multiple subsites, or "site paths" that different users can follow depending on their depth of expertise.  For the standard users, marketing written content might be just fine, but for the technical subsite, an engineer/technologist is involved.
  3. Writing teams work best.  We all know that engineers are not always the best writers (I am one so I can say that ;) ), and having tech and marketing work together to build content is always the best solution.  Marketing folks do well in rounding out technical verse, and tech folks/subject matter experts can check for validity.  And don't forget the SEO/keyword gurus!!
  4. Third parties can be invaluable.  Having an objective third party as an overall reviewer, one with industry expertise, can help with the overall quality of the site and may help find any issues before production.
I guess it all comes down to not letting the new marketing intern write the new web site ;).  There is strength in numbers and differing experience levels.  Follow some basic rules and create great content.

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