How a digital agency uses GatherContent for their strictly content first approach to client websites

Becky Taylor • 3 minutes

Founded in 2001 with a team of 12, Filament Lab is a Toronto based digital creative agency that enjoys making the web a better place to be. We spoke to their Director,Stephen Megitt, to discover the main areas of success they’ve had with GatherContent:

  • GatherContent is used as a central content repository for the agency and their clients
  • Custom tabs, templates and workflow help them get what they need, when they need it
  • The agency write the content and use GatherContent to iterate and sign off with their clients

Delivering a content-first process using GatherContent

Filament Lab have been 100% content-first since 2011. That is, no wireframes or any design work is started until they know what the content is made up of at the early stage of projects. To assist this they include instructional copy within GatherContent relating to what the content message is for each section of the website. This shift in their process aligned with their mobile first approach.

Each project is assigned a team and on that team there will always be someone who is responsible for the client and someone who is responsible for the content. GatherContent is part of this content-first approach and using it isn’t optional.

“GatherContent is part of the agency’s content-first approach and using it isn’t optional.”

Eliminating the fiasco of Word Docs and Google Docs

Clients of Filament Lab buy into this philosophy as the agency team put tremendous emphasis on content and its importance.

As a result, this puts the focus on writing and that in turn keeps up the project momentum. It isn’t their clients job to create content as they have many other things to do so. Therefore content is always last on their list which is why Filament Lab but it top of theirs.

There are writers on staff at the agency to start writing content for their clients. Many of those clients are shifting towards a content model for marketing so the way that Filament Lab works is complementary to that shift.

As the owner of the agency, Stephen Megitt states that content has the power to make people happy or relieved, it can reduce anxiety too, and yet nobody pays attention to it. The focus is often on looking pretty. Pretty is cost of entry but then the focus must be on content so the site accomplishes a goal.

None of their clients just want to look good by the end of a project. They want to invest money to look good AND achieve a defined measure of success such as more leads, more downloads, more visits etc.

“GatherContent is a tool that has really helped us as it eliminates the fiasco of Word docs or Google docs, tracking changes, editing changes and comments within edits. All of that used to cause so much frustration.”

Stephen Megitt Director

Outlining purposeful content in GatherContent

GatherContent is used very early on in the project. After audience interviews and a discovery phase, the team at Filament Lab are in an ideal position to identify what legacy content should stay, what should be removed and what new content needs to be included. This informs the next step which is the creation of a content strategy document.

“GatherContent is part of the process from the start and is used to create the content strategy document that outlines each piece of content for each page of the website.”

These documents outline each piece of content for each page of the website. It isn’t final content, rather, it is what the content needs to be. The most important piece of content the user needs to interact with is noted in the top left of the page. Bottom right the least important piece of content.

Once this is noted they can create ideas around how to present the content or what type of content might work well to achieve a specific goal they’ve committed to.

The content strategy documents are added to the first tab of the project in GatherContent. The structure is defined in this tab. As the project progresses into the prototype stage, a new tab is created and the content for the prototype is added. Next comes the staging tab. Here the structure is more refined than the prototype stage, and consequently, so is the content.

Then the refinement and iteration cycle is undertaken until all content is agreed and signed off. The content on this tab is what goes into the build of the site and will eventually be published. Sometimes this content needs a visual juxtaposition so the team also use InVision. Links to each page are added to the notes section in GatherContent to help people understand how content will look, once it has reached that stage.

A central repository and media library

GatherContent is used for different media types, including images. Before GatherContent, getting logos was horrific. They were all in terrible file formats, clients had trouble using Basecamp and overall it was painful getting non-text based content for the developers to upload or for designers to grab and make consistent.

One client in particular has 63 partner logos. Using GatherContent, the agency now give directions to their clients such as ‘EPS only, pretty please.’ This makes it easier for the client and for the agency team.

“After 13 years we know only too well how critical content is to the completion of a project. We used to have lorem ipsum in our sites up to as close as 3 days before launch with no understanding of who was responsible for content. We learnt quickly from that mistake.”

Stephen Megitt Director

Saving time during the website development phase

Using GatherContent also makes the lives of their developers much easier. They never have to open design files but rather, open a tab in their browser to get at all approved content. This is both a time saver and a confidence builder for workflow.

GatherContent acts as the central repository for all content and related discussions. Focusing on the content before anything else has allowed Filament Lab to create an efficient workflow for projects that ensures content is created when needed and always with the audience in mind.

How an agency uses GatherContent for their strictly content-first approach to websites

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About the Author

Becky Taylor

Product Marketing Manager, GatherContent

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