How to prepare for a content workshop

Sam Hodges

Planning content is an important part of creating a website. To get the most out of a workshop session, you need to know what it’s for, who to bring and how to prepare.

A content workshop is where key stakeholders from your organisation discuss and plan what content should be on your new website.

It happens early in the process, and is vital before any design and build can begin.

The goal of the workshop is to get everyone on the same page about what the website should do and say. It’ll help you plan the hierarchy of information, and start to show how people will find it. Before the workshop, we’ll do some initial research and strategic thinking, which we’ll use to guide the process.

In this article, we’ll look at the things you can prepare to make your workshop a success.

Who should attend?

It’s important to get the right people in the room, without overloading it. Your list of stakeholder interviews is a good starting point, although they don’t all need to attend. Usually, having someone from each department is sufficient, with at least one team member who knows your audiences well. If the website has a particularly large scope, we may run a separate smaller session with you, to make sure we get enough time with each specialist. More on that below.

How does it work?

Most workshops take around two hours, and you can join remotely. We use an online whiteboard tool called Miro to plan, capture and ensure everybody has a voice. We’ll start by talking about key things your audience wants to know, and what the business needs to say. From here, we’ll identify which pages this information should map to. Along the way, we’ll define the purpose and goals of each page, as we capture the key messages.

For a larger website we may run more workshops with specific teams, to get into more detail and validate the content which will be on each page. But each one will start with an overview where all your teams and stakeholders are represented.

What makes it successful?

We’ll ask you to do a bit of homework before the workshop itself. Coming prepared means we’ll hear all the things that matter to you. Think about your department’s agenda within the organisation and how the website needs to support that.

Take some time to review your competitors’ websites. This adds context and can be a helpful starting point as we get our heads into the task. Review what you know about your audience, and keep in mind what they need and want from your website (they may not be the same).

Coming prepared means we’ll hear all the things that matter to you. Think about your department’s agenda within the organisation and how the website needs to support that.”

Finally, think about what you want this website to do in the future, not just from launch day. In that way, we can plan how the site should grow to accommodate it, or what future phases might be needed.

What happens next?

After the workshop, our team will use the insights to map the messages that should be on each page. Designers will reference these ‘content maps’ and start planning in more detail what each page of the website will do. This process is called ‘wireframing’. It’s where we connect your business objectives with what your users are looking for, to ensure your content meets their needs with an intuitive flow across the website.

Why is this step important?

Wireframes are a central part of the design process. They create a checklist for production, a guide for designers and an inventory of writing tasks. Getting this wrong can result in a confusing user experience, key content going missing or a site that feels generic and hollow.

Because of this, wireframes also provide the clarity and assurance we need to scope the design and production phases of your website project. Once we’ve captured those requirements, we can provide a much more accurate idea of the costs and timeline.

Feel more confident? Ahead of your next content workshop, think about what your audience needs from you, what you want them to know, what your competitors do well and how you hope to evolve your website. If you have any questions at all about your content workshop, we’re happy to answer them. If not, we’ll see you there.

Sam Hodges

The experience of very different studios gives Sam (he/him) a unique perspective. As Digital Design Director at Output, he brings experimental thinking together with a deep understanding of product usability, to ensure the experiences we create are as functional as they are beautiful. He shares the ‘how’ behind our work, while exploring the potential of technology, sustainability and creativity.