When I went freelance in 2010, I opened a text file and wrote content that answered the questions potential clients normally asked me. Doug Avery then designed a beautiful website around that content.
The process of writing first, structuring second was so fluid that I repeated it with my clients. I started by asking them six questions. I get clear, direct answers VITAL to me being able to write substantive content that forms a conversation.
The premise is this: Everything we write is a conversation. THAT informs the structure … not the other way around.
I talked about this process — conversation mapping — last week at ConFab and Interlink. For those who asked how it works: here is a template with more details.
With this approach, it really is possible to write collaborative content with clients FIRST, in an ugly Google doc, before ever trying to structure or design for content.
And designers love getting full pages of completed content — they can run.
Here’s the gist of my talk c/o of Gary Shroeder: