Published on February 22nd, 2011 | by Rahel Bailie3
As much as content strategists and technologists love Excel spreadsheets, writers hate them. Technologists love Excel because you can migrate all the new content into the CMS by writing a little script. Writers, on the other hand, want to use Word. Technologists hate Word because it adds hidden codes that can wreak havoc with the CSS unless they’re stripped out, but creating some sort of Word document for the writers seems to be the way to go because of the combination of needing to visualize a page as they’re writing for it, and their comfort level of this ubiquitous word processing program.
A typical writing template could look something like this. Ignore the headers and footers, and any other global navigation items. You can create a table that loosely mirrors the wireframe of each page type, and let the writers fill in the table cells. Unless there is an absolute need to set word or character count limits, it’s a good idea to leave it flexible. Ideally, the design conforms to the content, not the content to the design.
To use the template as a “cheat sheet,” additional information can be provided, depending on what is useful to the writers. If the writers are remote workers, extra information can be particularly helpful to provide context.