Introducing Content Strategy in the Middle of Project
How do you introduce content strategy in a product team where the product is already half-developed?
I had that experience two years back where the team was designing the product purely for the specifications that spoke in the language of what the founders wanted or how the project manager had envisioned.
As I had anticipated, there were no standards or guidelines for the UX copy, the product onboarding message itself was not aligned with the product goals.
I realized that to prepare a log of issues (structured in different types of issues) could be overwhelming and it could demoralize the entire team.
The best option was to NOT to begin conversations around content strategy, rather I prepared a list of the impact areas that direct connect with the product leadership and stakeholders. I planned to speak directly in the language of impact, on business, on product team’s effort, and on the shared rewards.
The Onboarding Churn
The onboarding is broken in the absence of customer-journey driven and not-content-driven experience. Customers were not sure of the next steps when they log in, and customer success points were not seen anywhere in the interface nor in the emails or notifications.
I ran a usability study and it was a clear sign of churn. I said it loud to the stakeholders with numbers and flags.
When the project started, an engineer designed the product landing page to invite sign ups. For next eight months, nobody in the product team ever visited this landing page. Product scope was revised for so many directions, validations, and business rules but the landing page was “to be revisited later”. The social media handles were live to build the audience (such a fallacy, I would rather advise to not to build an audience at all rather than building them with a vague promise).
Astonishingly, I learnt that they were ready to launch with the same landing page. The promise that landing page makes to sign up and convert (free or paid), is NOT aligned with what the customers experience in the product. Surprises dot their journey, and it means a high ratio of inactive accounts.
Brand Trust. Fragmented Experience
Paying customers see that their journey map does not align with the mental models, and the confirmations and notifications are confusing. When they contact the support team, the vocabulary and the brand voice is here and there.
I picked fifty potential customers and mapped the above three stories with data. I had the evidence now. This is the only language the stakeholders understand, the data-driven impact on ROI, traction, and brand positioning.
Based on my proposal, we had three workshops to setup content-driven experience design processes in the team. It was not exactly the turf war but it was more of an acceptance war.
Content strategy is difficult on day two of any project. It is certainly far more complex on day fifty in a one-hundred-days project.
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