With many of our clients already deep in planning for Q4, we’re updating and reposting an article from February 2018 on the importance of planning both your content and the processes that create your assets.
We’ve encountered thousands of pieces of product content over the past decade and more. A worrying number of them have at least one of the following problems:
- Designed product-first, and not customer first
- Designed without recognising the range of customer and retailer requirements that they need to meet
Content is often produced for packaging, advertising, launch materials, and brand websites. This content then has to be re-purposed for use in customer-facing situations, such as retailer websites. This can involve lengthy and costly processes to re-write copy and reformat images. More often than not, time and budget pressures mean that you end up with low-quality content that sits somewhere in-between. A square peg awkwardly hammered into a round hole.
Does it have to be this way? What if you were able to redesign your content process to be consumer-first, with an eye on retailer restrictions? What would that look like?
One of our clients recently asked us this very question. It’s one we’ve thought long and hard about over the years, so we were eager to discuss. To start the conversation, we brainstormed a set of 5 suggestions. These won’t be for everyone, but hopefully, they might provide a spark for you to begin thinking about what improvements you could make.
5 Ways to Improve Your Product Content Process
- Start with the consumer. The cardinal rule of product content. If it’s not offering anything of value to the consumer, it has no place in your product content. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of simply ticking boxes and filling retailer requirements. If the journey doesn’t begin with you understanding who your consumers are, what their needs are, and how best to fulfil them, then your content isn’t going to work.
- Recognise the range of retailer requirements. Understand what the extremes are, and try to design content that meets as many of these as possible. Changing content at a later stage in the process costs money, and often shifts it from your initial consumer focus. Anything you can do to avoid that via planning will be worthwhile.
- It’s always easier to crop than stretch; It’s always easier to compress than expand. Make sure you’re producing assets that do more than meet the minimum requirements. If you need to make changes, it’s always easier to cut back than fill empty space. Stretching content too thinly will result in lower quality, or pages stuffed full of filler.
- Consider making your content modular. Create self-contained copy, images and features that can be added, removed and reorganised to fill specific retailer needs. Consider having common text & images to describe features that are present in multiple products. Look into ways to automatically organise and populate this content to all relevant products.
- Find a balance. The best possible product copy would be created bespoke in every language by a native-speaking product director with a clear grasp of your brand’s guidelines. There are (unsuprisingly) very few vendors who are able to do this. However, there is value in trying to avoid generic and lifeless product content as much as possible within your budget. Try to find a sweet spot by focusing on “hero” items and high-profile products. This allows you room to make efficiencies on accessory/lower-tier products while still maintaining full coverage.
Hopefully, these suggestions will have got you thinking about ways to improve your own processes. To hear our full recommendations and how we can help you to achieve them, take a look at our Contact Us.