Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yahoo! style guide helps writers

Hats off to Yahoo! for creating this style guide for the Web. While the AP Stylebook has served me well over the years, this online guide for the digital age has a lot to offer. It features articles on how to write for the Web, search engine optimization, and eye tracking. It even lets you download its word list to use as a starting point in creating your own.

You can win a copy by answering the question, What have you learned from the guide that you did not know before? Contest ends today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Is your content strategy in place?

Content is what drives people to your site. Whether you are about to do a redesign or are going to develop a new site, focus on the content. Good content should be
  • engaging
  • relevant
  • useful
  • current
  • flexible
  • social
Content that possesses these attributes will strengthen your brand.

Content on the Web, and I am referring to text here, differs from copy for a printed brochure. It is expected to do more. Once you provide your users with the information they desire, then you can start marketing to them. But first you need to give them what they want.

To make sure your content works for you, have a strategy. The strategy should include an analysis of what you already have, a workflow, and a maintenance plan. Too often organizations are eager to put something on their websites without thinking how it supports their business objectives and who will own it.

Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson is an excellent place to begin your journey toward great content. She maps out how to devise a strategy that will help your content satisfy both the organization’s and the users’ goals.

Some key steps:
  • Analyze what you have with a content audit
  • Know what business objective each piece of content achieves
  • Clarify who owns the content
  • Identify how users will find the content
  • Have a plan for creation and maintenance
Listen to the podcast on content marketing v. content strategy  in which Kristina and Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute discuss what can make your organization stand out from the rest.