Establish editorial policy
At this point, determine what content goes on the site. Define what content is appropriate to go on the site and what isn’t.
Toward content quality: A content quality checklist (Colleen Jones; Content Science)
- Usefulness and relevance
- Does the content meet user needs, goals, and interests?
- Does the content meet business goals?
- For how long will the content be useful? When should it expire? Has its usefulness already expired?
- Is the content timely and relevant?
- Is the content understandable to users?
- Is the content organized logically and coherently?
- Is the content correct?
- Does the content contain factual errors, typos, or grammatical errors?
- Do images, video, and audio meet technical standards, so they are clear?
- Does the content use the most appropriate techniques to influence or engage users?
- Does the content execute those techniques effectively?
- Does the content use too many or too few techniques for the context?
- Does the content include all of the information users need or might want about a topic?
- Does the content include too much or too little information about a topic for the context?
- Does the content consistently reflect the editorial or brand voice?
- Does its tone adjust appropriately for the context—for example, sales v. customer service?
- Does the content convey the appropriate editorial and brand qualities?
- Does the content seem to have a style? If so, does the content adhere to it consistently?
- Does the content read, look, or sound as though it’s professionally crafted?
- Is the content easy to scan or read?
- Is the content in a useable format, including headings, bulleted lists, tables, white space, or similar techniques, as appropriate to the content?
- Does the content have the appropriate metadata?
- Does the content follow search engine optimization (SEO) guidelines—such as keywords—without sacrificing quality in other areas?
- Can users find the content when searching using relevant keywords?
- Primary message: Who you are, what you provide, and what the user gets
- Secondary message: Supportive of primary message
- Details: Point toward the call to action, either subtly or directly (product descriptions, about us, case studies, help content, etc.)
- A List Apart has a good style guide for contributors
- If you’re writing a style guide for contributors working in the same organization as yourself I would also include information on:
- Political independence—state how contributors treat this. Can they have opinions or should they simply “present the facts.”
- Commercial products—can contributors express an opinion (positive or negative) about a product or company?
- Terminology on disability
- Cultural sensitivity—especially if contributors are writing for an international audience
- According to November 2009 article by James Pitaro, Yahoo vice president of media, three-quarters of internet users (47% of US population) now watch video online. 11 billion videos (up 24% year over year) were streamed in September 2009.
- Short-form video is key to Yahoo success in original content.
- Good web video is not just a good idea, but a good internet idea—something that takes advantage of internet’s uniqueness. Something too niche for Hollywood is a good fit for internet.
- Develop a unique voice and identity and choose a space that’s own-able.
- Yahoo analyzes search and click-through-rate data to see what users want, and then program to it.
- Must be timely—and what is timely depends on category. This is what Pitaro calls “fast twitch” programming.
- Pitaro: Users have repeatedly conveyed to us that they don’t want to be told when to watch a video; they want to watch it when they want to watch it.
- Pitaro: The barriers to entry have been lowered and many companies are producing short-form programming for under US$10,000 per clip.
- How to present tabular data in more interesting and accessible ways (e.g., animated charts, maps)
Editorial policy deliverables
- Style guide
- Editorial guidelines
- Content governance plan (workflow and maintenance)
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