Here at Nansen we’ve thought long and hard about this. From our experience, in the majority of cases, the project benefits when content teams are part of the agency responsible for the technical implementation. Here are three reasons why this is the case:
Three words: language influences behavior.
Language influences behavior in many contexts. This is true for the finished project, for example — the content should convince the user to take certain actions that lead to conversion. But it is also true in the development of the project. Content provides a dialogue showing how users are intended to interact with the platform. Therefore it has the ability to influence all other aspects of project development. For us, content should always come before design, because language can provide information to steer both the developers’ and designers’ work.
Working in an agile or a sprint-based environment, the true irony is that we must prepare so that we can be spontaneous.
Preparation means communicating closely with both the technical and creative teams, so that the content team can make many and quick iterations to texts as and when they are needed. When content teams are fully integrated within the technical solutions team, communications are seamless. Working together in the same physical space means that teams with different competencies can prepare for the unexpected, and react quickly when the unexpected happens.
Content strategists understand digital content from both a structural and a creative perspective — and therefore it is important that they are involved with both the technical and design sides of the production process.
When content teams are working in-house, they are mobilized to both shape and react to the rest of the project team’s progress. When trained writers work integrally with the technical team, everyone is able to keep a view of the big picture, keeping the whole process as efficient as possible.
Content, by definition, is just words or images on a page — it’s “stuff”. What matters is not that the content exists, but that it is carefully thought out so that it’s relevant to the audience, in the right place for maximum impact, and that it influences the user to take an action that leads to conversion.
Creating great content is a modular part of a complete digital solution, and therefore should be managed in the same light as the technical components, and in the same physical space, too.