What every PM needs to know about content strategy
Content strategy is a rapidly growing field dedicated to planning, creating and managing content in all its forms. Giant corporations and small enterprises alike are realizing the importance of good copy, and hiring writers to design their words. In the past couple of years, many international tech companies created positions in their staff for product writers. For growing businesses and start-ups, deciding to hire a dedicated copywriter can be a tough decision, as it means prioritizing things that are often seen as nice to have. There’s often the perception that a copywriter will be merely polishing already-adequate copy written by designers, product managers, or engineers. And yet, product writers can add significant value to product development and craft much more than marketing materials. Some experts even claim that writing is the most coveted skill for UX designers. In a world where products need to win over customers’ attention, voice, tone, personality, and phrasing prove to be crucial on the way to success.
Whether you choose to add a permanent writer to your team or work with freelance writers, there are elements of content strategy that every product manager should be aware of:
Product or feature names
We often forget how important a name can be. We also don’t take into account that naming doesn’t end on the day you start your company. Sometimes, the product’s name is chosen at an initial stage of development and just doesn’t represent what it became over time. Or perhaps, you’re releasing a brand new feature and want to give it a memorable title that will make your users notice. These decisions can have wide-reaching consequence, so it’s important that they fit into your broad strategy.
Tone of Voice
The written tone of voice is a huge part of your product’s personality. It shapes the way users feel while they interact with its interface. Finding the right brand voice is a seminal process of defining the relationship with your audience, and involves going back to your mission statement and personas. As your product, and business, evolve, the challenge becomes maintaining consistency across different features and channels. When there are many people working on different aspects of your content that’is not always easy so it may be worthwhile to invest in creating written guidelines. A document that serves as the manual for everyone involved in the content production process will ensure you don’t have to start over every time.
Often referred to as Microcopy, or UX writing, this is the art of choosing the right words for all the places where your product uses text. Each word applied in a user interface is an inseparable part of the layout and plays its role in the user experience of a product. Even seemingly small choices in commands and buttons can have significance as these are the words with which you communicate to your audience directly.
User flow and Notifications
There are many different messages to articulate along the dialogue between product and customer. Whether you’re dealing with onboarding, aim to inform people about upcoming upgrades or want to keep users engaged. The requirements for these texts stem not only from their content but from their medium. Push notifications are not the same as Email. System generated messages require a different approach from an onboarding video. The important thing to remember is that all these interactions are part of your content strategy, and they need to be consistent with your tone.
A popular term in recent years, content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. A vital part of your broader strategy, investing in your content marketing channels positions your product as a brand and provides a place where you engage with potential users.
Sometimes seen as superfluous, a solid content strategy can be the glue between different product areas. Taking into account the aspects listed here helps you maintain a unique and consistent voice, so you don’t lose trust with your users. Working with professional writers isn’t always a top priority in product development, but it’s important to remember that writers and designers can work side by side, as good copy leads to better design and better design lead to better writing. The real magic happens when everyone’s sharing ideas, working together to push for a better experience. Especially, if you’re a junior product manager