Website content collection is a collaborative effort between your agency and your clients. But while your client relationships might be rock solid, bringing them into your website creation process can be a rocky road that’s filled with delays. Luckily, these delays can be eliminated.
Keep reading to learn how to get website content from clients without running into constant roadblocks.
What Are Common Content Collection Issues?
1. Poor Brand Alignment
Clients aren’t always experts when it comes to content. Knowing the basic elements of a brand — from its tone of voice to its values and mission — is different from implementing them into a website’s copy or design. Writing with enthusiasm, for example, isn’t as intuitive as speaking with a smile on your face and a chipper tone.
Naturally, clients may miss the mark when you ask them for the content you need. Writing may sound robotic or completely off-brand. Even when your clients nail the tone, you may notice it contains too much filler or doesn’t quite fit into your website design.
When your clients aren’t even close to meeting your expectations, this can lead to plenty of wasted time. You may spend days going back and forth via email or on a shared document completely reworking a first draft. Not to mention, your client satisfaction may take a hit if they’re never sure how to help.
The Solution: Offer Clear Content Guidelines
To collect website content that’s strong from the get-go, your web and creative teams need to create clear content guidelines for your clients to follow. Explain guidelines more thoroughly than you would for a professional. For example, if you need content that’s brief and to the point, what unnecessary words should they avoid? How long should each paragraph be?
Being clear about word count and formatting can similarly save your team a lot of headache later.
Alternatively, you can use a website content collection tool like SimpleStage to allow your clients to update content directly on to their website designs or wireframes. They’ll be able to visualize the space their text will appear and easily avoid formatting or length issues. Once they complete the content sections you highlight for them, they can save their changes for your team, leaving the back-and-forth a thing of the past.
Regardless of what methods you use to guide your clients, always be available for guidance when your clients need some more direction.
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2. Lack of Content Collaboration
Website content collection is a collaborative effort. Your agency needs to communicate its needs well, while your client needs to provide their input in a productive way.
But if you collect website content using the traditional method — sending files back and forth — content collaboration isn’t synchronous at all.
Your content requests may be hiding far down in your client’s inbox, and your team may not review the content they provide straight away either. If conversations are happening in real time, they’re likely happening on a whole other communication channel.
This is why content collection is often a major bottleneck in the website creation process. Waiting for content from clients (and responses to your follow-up requests) can easily stall your website development, especially when a requested item is critical to move forward.
The Solution: Streamline With a Content Collaboration Tool
If you’re wondering how to get website content from clients without delay, the answer could be as simple as using a website content collection tool — specifically, one that allows for smoother collaboration.
SimpleStage, for example, allows you to request content from clients in specific areas of your website design. There’s no need to jump on a separate messaging platform or send an email just to make requests. Not only does this mean more streamlined content collection, but it also helps your clients visualize where you need content, giving both your teams more context for clearer communication.
By reducing the steps needed to communicate, your content collaboration can happen much closer to real-time — and your web team can implement content much faster, too.
3. Missed Website Content Collection Deadlines
If you’ve been working with clients for a while — even outside of web design and development — you know that clients don’t always get back to you in time.
This may not seem like a huge issue at first. They’re paying you, after all. However, when you’re constantly unable to collect website content on time, this can cause internal delays that end up costing you money in the long run. For example, if one web page is missing the content needed to move forward, you may have to delay a planned design sprint and miss out on at least a few hours of productivity.
Plus, your clients may still expect all your deliverables on time. But when elements of your project are constantly pushed back, your team may end up working overtime just to make the deadlines written in your contract.
The Solution: Simplify and Set Expectations
Your web and creative teams must set clear expectations for your clients before your project even begins — just as they do for you. While most of the work will fall on your shoulders, clients should know that they will need to collaborate on content, as well as the importance of doing so on time.
Putting expected deadlines for clients in writing — within your web development contract, if possible — can be even more helpful. If clients cause major delays in the website content collection process, but are still pushing for on-time deliverables from you, this will give you more security if you truly can’t meet their demands or need to end a relationship for good.
Reduce the Headache of Content Collection
Working with clients on website content is unavoidable, but often prone to issues. Clients aren’t experts at content writing, and many will miss key deadlines or messages while they’re busy tackling projects of their own. The best solutions are being clear about your needs and expectations and implementing a modern collaboration tool that offers the right context.