At WillowTree, the mobile product agency where I work, we create websites for our clients every day.
We’ve got this website thing figured out. Our own website would never become outdated—right?
WillowTree had grown and evolved, while our website hadn’t, so it no longer showcased the world-class agency we’d become. A couple of examples:
- The value propositions listed on our homepage were no longer accurate, and seemed to “tell” instead of “show” our expertise.
- Our Services content listed our main practices (such as UX Strategy, which we now call Product Strategy) alongside more specific efforts like analytics.
- Case studies were outdated, and not as compelling as they should be.
You get the idea. The website needed revamping, in terms of design, technology, and of course, content. That’s where I came in.
Shoes for the cobbler’s kids
Fortunately, when I joined the agency last year, WillowTree already had a savvy Marketing team with a solid understanding of our site’s content needs.
The team knew we had several internal stakeholders whose approvals we’d need to collect, so we decided to use GatherContent to help us with that.
In the end, we were so glad we did.
Here’s how GatherContent benefitted our project.
Customisable page templates
GatherContent allowed us to set up our own page templates, which was incredibly helpful to our writers. For example, I could create a template for the Software Engineering page with sub-services and “Expertise” fields, and let the writer follow the template when creating content.
A customisable Template created in GatherContent for a case study.
This took some pressure off writers, since they didn’t have to try to create a structure for each page from scratch. It also prevented them from straying too far outside of the content types we’d already planned for each page (in this example, 1-2 paragraphs describing each subservice, and bullets for specific tactics or expertise).
Writing case study content in GatherContent.
A case study live on the WillowTree website following content production in GatherContent.
Setting up fields for easily forgotten content like metadata and required images also prevented us from happily sailing along the approval process while key content elements were missing, resulting in a last-minute fire drill.
No fire drills = a happy team.
Wrangling content approvals
On past projects, I was accustomed to setting up a spreadsheet to serve as a content matrix for tracking the copywriting production and approval processes. It worked, to a point. But it was tough to get people to participate in tracking the status of their copy—both writers and approvers—when the content’s status was separate from the content itself.
GatherContent helped with this in two main ways:
- Inline commenting. I loved that, after we had drafted copy within GatherContent, I could highlight a portion of it and add a comment. I could even tag someone else in a comment, if I had a question for them.
- Inviting stakeholders to a specific page. Our approvers could log in to GatherContent and review the page I’d added them to. Being able to review both each page’s copy and its status in the same place kept everyone informed.
Inline commenting in GatherContent, a key part of WillowTree’s editing and approval process.
Did I mention that we really loved seeing the status for each page alongside the copy itself? Well, we did. We also loved that we could custom-configure each milestone in our workflow.
Since we were using Contentful as our production content management system (CMS), our last milestone was “Moved to Contentful.”
Our custom milestones in GatherContent kept everyone informed about content status.
At one point, I toyed with the idea of outputting all of our content from GatherContent as HTML or using GatherContent’s API, so we could import it into Contentful at once. Although this was an option, our site wasn’t that big, so we simply moved content over manually.
But it’s nice to know that, for larger projects, the export capability is there.
Life after launch
GatherContent helped us solve a number of thorny problems I’ve had with other website redesign projects:
- Our stakeholders willingly logged in to GatherContent, and loved using it.
- It allowed us to identify content problem areas and address them in a timely manner.
- It helped us successfully incorporate all stakeholder feedback.
- As a result, content was produced and approved on time. Huge win!.
Hero image for the redesigned WillowTree website.
Today, the website’s live, and both our team and our customers are very happy with it. The project surpassed our expectations—and GatherContent was a big part of making it happen.