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Where’s the fire? And other burning questions about Brain Traffic.

by Project Management Team on April 7th, 2010

The account services team at Brain Traffic gets asked a TON of questions from prospects and clients. After a little Brain(Traffic)storming, our team has selected a few of our top questions.  
 
 “Hi. What do you do at Brain Traffic?”
Short answer: Content strategy and implementation.
In more detail: Content strategists advocate for content that is useful and purposeful. Strategists create the big picture plan from which all other content decisions are based, including messaging, structure, workflow and governance.  
Writers and editors craft smart communication. They carefully select labels and language. They plan for what and how things are said. They are mindful of what doesn’t need to be said.
 
"Can you tell me a little more about how you work?"
First, we want to get to know you and your content. The more we know, the more informed our recommendations are. It might feel like an interrogation, but it’s for your own good. For example:
 
·      What do you like about your website?
·      What don’t you like about your site? Why?
·      What works well?
·      What other websites do you like?
·      How will success be measured?
·      Do you like long walks on the beach?
 
Okay, so maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.
 
The goal is to take a very detailed look at the “what-is” so we can help develop the “to-be.” This way, you’ll get recommendations tailored and designed specifically for you and your site.
 
That’s the thing – our recommendations come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s information architecture, or a style guide, or an editorial calendar, or brand-spanking new copy for your site. Sometimes it’s all of the above. Whatever it is, our process is designed to help you see it all come together and say, “Whoa. Now that’s what I’m talking about.”
 
 “Why on earth do you need all this documentation to work on our project?”
When we initially engage with a client, we request a lot of documentation, including style guides, metrics, competitive analyses, SEO data, org charts, workflow diagrams, etc. All of these documents have a direct impact on content. As our team begins our assessment phase on a project, it’s critical for us to get a grip on any content impact factors.
 
We provide more usable and realistic recommendations when we can fully understand the current state of your content. Although we are the content experts, we rely on you to be the expert on your business. The more information you share with us, the better we’ll be able to address your content pain points in our recommendations.
 
Have something a bit more specific you’d like to discuss? Give us a ring (or any other gift that seems appropriate). Kidding! Just kidding. But seriously, we’re here to help.

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  • jeremymorris

    Nice post – but surely there are a few additional, possibly more important questions to ask a prospective client, like:
    What do you stand for?
    What are your business challenges?
    What challenges are your customers trying to solve?
    Are you sure you're correct in your assumptions of the previous question?
    What tools do you use to gain those insights?
    How do you know whether you site succeeds or fails in addressing those goals?

    The basis of effective content strategy (in my humble opinion) is the sum of solving business goals and client needs, not simply “what do you like/dislike about your website”.

  • JulieVollenweider

    Excellent point, Jeremy — we agree!

    One of the key components to a successful project is really getting to know a client –their high level vision, specific project goals, personal preferences, etc.

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