Product Content Strategy 101
A big gorgeous deck on how to get started with product content strategy
Hey friend. Every Sunday (or so!), this dispatch helps you make better creative and strategic decisions, or talks about the innies and outties of independent consulting, or dives into projects I’m working on. This week, I’m sharing a deck on How To Launch a Product With Editorial Content. Fun stuff. Absolutely delightful. Anyway, hello, it’s good to see you. -Steve
Hello, hi, it’s been a minute, I hope this email finds you well.
Sorry about that.
But I have a Big Helpful Thing to share.
Ok Steve, what is this big helpful thing?
Well look friend, it’s a deck.
It’s a deck for people who are launching a product that contains editorial content. It comes in several parts.
It looks like this:
The first part I’m publishing today.
It tells a story.
That story is about how, over the course of a year, I helped one of the world’s largest benefits and insurance companies launch an app for millions and millions of customers.
That app helps people create better financial habits.
Part of creating better financial habits is learning the fundamentals of financial wellness. What’s a budget? How much should I save? How do I plan for the future? Stuff like that.
Which meant the app needed editorial content to educate its users.
Well, not just educate them: rather, explain, in a delightful and encouraging way, how money works and assist them along their user journey as they used the features of the app to develop better money habits.
That’s where I came in to help.
Leading a team of talented creatives, I created a financial wellness ecosystem that contained hundreds of pieces of personalized content.
This wasn’t just articles that were nice to read.
This was editorial that used the fundamentals of behavioral science to help users understand their feelings and habits around money so they could make decisions that would help them feel better.
That’s a lot of work.
Like, a year of a lot of work.
It was a year of a lot of work because we were starting from zero. No clearly defined idea of the breadth of the topic (personal finance). No framework for how to consistently translate the brand’s values into content messages. No content team. No production process. No approvals process. We had to get lawyers involved, y’all. We didn’t even have a CMS.
And to make it more complex, the client wasn’t accustomed to publishing this projected volume of content (no publishing movement), around this complex a topic (no topical experience), at the plan’s projected pace.
So not only did they need content, but also we needed to teach them how to create and manage content in-house for the long-term.
Here’s just a taste of what we did:
Defined the role of content in the app
Created a unique taxonomy of financial topics
Defined priority messages for each topic
Developed content structure
Created a content governance process
Gathered CMS requirements
Assigned, edited, and published
Ok great, so who is this for?
This deck is for anybody who’s creating a product that requires editorial content.
That’s … just about every product.
Consider Robinhood. Their content educates users on what stocks and bonds and options are.
Consider Fabulous. Their content educates users on how to create a healthier lifestyle.
Or hell: Noom, DuoLingo, AirBnb, Coinbase, whatever. Almost every product has a content need.
The trick is knowing how to get started.
So the first part of the deck starts at that beginning.
It explains the client’s app and the challenge at hand.
Then it defines the basics, like what exactly is content strategy, anyway (it’s a confusing subject!).
And then it tells you what to look for when hiring a content strategist (based on the particulars of your project).
In other words, this deck will help you be more informed about content strategy so that you can make better decisions. Accordingly, it will help you demonstrate the intricacies of content strategy to your team.
Importantly, this deck isn’t trying to teach you how to do content strategy. A good content strategist will understand what you need, and will understand how to do that for you. But, this deck will help you have a deeper and more relevant conversation with the strategist or creatives you decide to bring onboard.
And so. Please go ahead and check it out. Make a copy. Share it with your teammates.
I’ll publish the second part soon.
The second part will cover:
Onboarding your content strategist
Determining your content scope
How to build a content ecosystem
Creating topics from scratch
Make a paper airplane out of it.
Throw those paper airplanes at ceiling fans.
That’s what I used to do, anyway.
p.s. Sorry sorry bow and scrape for how irregular this email has been. Aside from spending a year on this project I bought a Jeep, traveled the country, ran the New York City marathon, and moved to Mexico City. If you know anybody I should know down here, please get in touch!
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How can I help?
This is a 100% organic, free-range, desktop-to-inbox newsletter devoted to helping you navigate uncertainty, seek the most interesting challenges, and make better creative decisions in marketing and beyond. Delivery at 6pm ET most Sundays. Your host is Steve Bryant, who is for hire. He’d love to help you develop and deploy creative and bold ideas or staff your newsroom, content, or marketing project.
Thanks for reading. Be seeing you.