One Size Does Not Fit All Your Content
As an account strategist, I like to think about how the web is changing and ways in which we can encourage our clients to embrace each element of a project, including content, marketing and technology innovation, in a cohesive way.
As I was reading an article on breaking out of templates to build customized reading experiences I realized just how easily content can get caught in templates that simply don’t adapt well without proper planning. This blog post does not advocate doing away with templates or creating unique designs for each new feature. It does however, identify three reasons your website might experience template pain and how to avoid them.
There is No Content Audit
Assuming a content audit, you can build sites with customized templates that work for all of the known content and even some content that is revealed after the fact. It is quite a content audit exercise to consider every variation of existing content; it is even harder to imagine and anticipate what future content needs will be desirable to build in to templates, but it’s absolutely necessary. By thinking critically, you can prevent a circumstance where you don’t know how to add audio, video, and photos to a press release because no press release you have ever released has those things. The end result may mean selecting between 5 or even 10 different templates when creating a new piece of content, but you will have a nice presentation of that content.
Marketing is an Afterthought
I know some of you just want to get your website up fast, but how you’re planning on driving traffic could result in landing page templates of all kinds with features and functions that are unique to each marketing channel. Have you considered putting up a contact form before downloading your latest resources or requiring an email newsletter signup? Better to plan for it than get stuck later.
You Picked the Technology Platform First
If you have worked in a single CMS, chances are you have an opinion about it. You might even have an opinion about a CMS you have never used. But picking the CMS before you submit the RFP might just prevent you from having the user experience you are looking for. The technology should be invisible. And the best way to do that is to plan for the changes your content and marketing will have over time, as retrofitting templates can substantially increase the cost over time. One CMS might just be more forgiving than others, and the best way to figure that out is to define your needs first.
An Integrated Approach is the Only Way
Integrated content, marketing and technology strategy will ensure flexible communications platforms for your existing and future content. Separating them into individualized strategic paths will only short-change your project and return on investment. However, with proper planning you can bet your short and long-term visions will be realized.