Don't Tell Our Content Guy We Wrote This

Over the past few years, our industry has placed more and more value on content strategy. As we’ve come to understand the Internet and its users better, we’ve learned content is the dominant force in communication. Content strategy and good writing ensures a website works toward achieving client goals, beyond simple aesthetics. When Kobot decided we wanted to grow our two-person shop, we felt it was important that the new person bring content skills to the table. With a background in journalism and a growing interest in content strategy for the web, the addition of Bryan Birtles to our company a year ago has helped us in ways you might expect a content guy to, as well as ways you wouldn’t.

First, content strategy became a service we could now comfortably offer. We have found that most clients are not just interested in writing services but in content as part of a holistic web presence. In the past, we had worked with some writers, though only through email or other loose collaborations. With Bryan in the studio with us, we are able to develop and refine all aspects of a project simultaneously. As design, content or development requirements change, we can react and adapt quickly.

We had a good thing going before Bryan: one person had skills in programming, the other design. The sites we launched looked and worked well but when faced with content aspects of our sites, we had to switch gears and struggle through writing headings or calls to action. We did alright, but by dividing our focus between writing and what we loved doing, we weren’t really doing our clients any favours. Bryan does content and he does it very well. When we need content, he takes care of it and we keep our focus on the things that we love and are equally good at.

Having someone create content at the same time as we design and develop also makes website building easier. Before we model a database or lay out a page, we know what we can expect for content. No more starting with Lorem Ipsum or that most-feared, blank page, now I start with a well-considered site map and developed content. I can jump into wireframing and design quicker, and be much closer to a working design in the first iterations of a website.

Although Birtles has spent his adult life tapping at a keyboard and consuming the web, he didn’t fully grasp the technology or terminology that goes into making websites. And he still doesn’t: Bryan comes much closer to representing a user’s point of view than either Stefan or I do, which can be invaluable. If you have to explain it to someone who does not understand an approach or concept, it gives you the chance to mature that idea and even reveal further insights. You may discover that it doesn’t make sense, it’s too complicated, or it may not even work. As soon as we have explained something to Bryan, we’re more confident bringing an idea to a client and better able to explain it in terms they’ll understand.

Don't tell our content guy...

It’s true that a content strategist and writer will bring order, grammar and compelling copy to an organization and the websites it produces, but the other benefits that Bryan has brought to Kobot are immeasurable. He has given us the opportunity to do our individual jobs more efficiently and–instead of designing in the dark–build websites with purpose. We no longer have to divide ourselves between the things we love to do and peripheral content duties. We’ve been able to advance our skills, improve and do the best job we can.

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