hairycoo - 10:56 am on Dec 15, 2011 (gmt 0)
I've recently read the Lean Startup which for many of you might be old news but I've found it fascinating.
For those who don't know what it is about, it's about being efficient, failing faster and learning often. This is done by releasing a minimum viable product, watching how users interact with it and incorporating their feedback back into the product in order to create the product that they actually want/need. It's based on the idea of continuously testing, failing and learning.
I started thinking how I might use these principles in my content strategy. As a content website, the content IS my product. Of course I have keyword research to tell me what people want, and my own web analytics data to tell me whether people truly find the content I've produced useful but that only answers half of the question (what people are looking for AND whether I've managed to give them what their need).
What this doesn't give me is insight in the early stages of my content strategy. My visitors are interested in Topic A, but how do I know that MY original analysis/insights/recommendations, the way I present/format the content/content features will REALLY cater to their needs? How do I find this out BEFORE I invest in producing the content? Finding this out after the fact (by measuring user engagement and outcomes) will not help me when I've already spent my budget.
So how could we use the lean approach principles to learn how and what content to produce BEFORE we invest TOO much in it? Is there such a thing as a minimum viable product when it comes to content? If yes, then how do you conduct user feedback on this barebones version?
I've been guilty far too often of producing content based on keyword research only and then hoped that it would produce the right degree of user engagement and desired outcomes. Surely there must be a more effective way of doing it to prevent us from investing too much, too early, into something that our users might find useful but not as MUCH as they could do if only their feedback were taken into account ALONG THE WAY.