Best practices for getting content from clients with Content Snare

⏰ Read time: 8 minutes
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📅 Last update: May 22, 2018


In this video, we’re going to go over best practices for getting website content from your clients.

This is one of the most common questions we get from people just coming into Content Snare, and who want to use it to the best of its potential.

So, what I’m going to do is walk you through what the people who are most successful with Content Snare are doing.
Everything comes down to making it as easy as possible for your client.

So remember that your clients don’t have the same knowledge as you, especially when it comes to what should go on a website. They probably don’t know that they need to focus on benefits instead of just talking about themselves. They don’t know what a website is going to look like, like you do in your head.

That’s why it’s important to provide some guidance inside your content requests.

But first let’s talk about structure. This is the absolute first thing to get right.

For this video, I’ll be showing you how to start from scratch to build your own unique requests. However, to get started faster, Content Snare’s actually got templates built in with a lot of common website info. I’m going to do a separate video on templates, so you can check that out to learn more about those, but ideally, you would just drop those templates in, and then remove the bits that you don’t need.

The core of Content Snare is a request. A request is made up of tabs. For a website, tabs usually represent the pages of a site. You might have home, about, contact, services, whatever pages your client needs, but you can use them for whatever you like.

You might have a tab to collect info about websites they like, kind of like a briefing, or maybe a page for social media info and other contact info that’s not necessarily a page on the website.

But, one website doesn’t have to be one request. For bigger sites, some people will break them up into smaller pieces for your client. Let’s say the home page is really complex, or it’s like a long form type thing. You might have one request just for the home page, and some supporting info on another tab.

Then you might have another request of five pages, say, about, contact, services, team, et cetera. And then you might have another one which is to collect their first set of blog posts. You could stagger these requests with different due dates, so that your client isn’t getting smashed with one big request that they’ve gotta do in one go.

That kind of thing can be a little bit overwhelming, and actually sort of work against you when the client sees this giant request and theydon’t want to fill it out ’cause they feel overwhelmed. But really it comes down to how you want to do things, and how each individual client responds. So you’re going to know your client better than anyone, so if you have to break it up for them, so be it. If you think they’ll be okay with one big request, that’s fine too.

So the next part once you’ve come up with these page breakdowns, you want to break those pages down into sections. If you’re familiar with CSS frameworks or page builders in WordPress, you might be familiar with the term row. So a row might be a hero header, or a services section on a home page.

You can represent these as sections in Content Snare. Then you would just look at this section, and think about all the content that you’re going to need to complete it in the final website.

For example in this hero header, we’ve got a background image, a heading, a subheading, button text, et cetera.

Let’s create a section for this in Content Snare. Give it a name, like hero header.

For the background image, you could use an image upload field if you want your client to provide the image. And you could provide some limits around that, so they don’t give you something that’s too small or too big. Or let’s say you already have a few different images that you want them to choose from. You could use an image select field, and then your client just has to click on the one that they want.

And now we’ll add the heading, subheading, and button text or call to action.

Let’s do the same with a typical three-column services section. You might ask for a heading, a blurb, and an image for each service. Then we could just duplicate those for the second and third service, like this.

You continue like this for all of the sections that you want to have on that page.

You don’t have to do this every time though. This seems like a lot of work up front, but then you can save these sections, tabs, or even entire requests as a template, and then it’s really easy to just reuse those on future clients.

But now I want to get into the really critical stuff. This is what most people skip, so doing this will put you ahead of just about every web designer. It’s actually the most important piece if you want to get content on time. It makes it easy for your clients, so won’t get as many questions that you have to answer via emails or phone calls.

It all comes down to instructions. You use instructions in Content Snare to guide your client through what they have to do.
Instructions can be both visual and written. You can add instructions on entire requests, on each tab, on sections, and for individual fields. In the instructions field, you can actually add formatted text, images, or even embed videos for your client to watch if you want to take it to the next level.

By default, Content Snare includes request level instructions with a couple of videos, showing them how to fill out the content. You can keep this, remove it, or replace it with your own. You can do your own video so your client is hearing your voice as they go through the request.

Clients usually can’t visualize a website the same way you can, so by adding some wire frames or mock-ups to a tab, they’ll be able to see what the page looks like. You might even label sections using a graphics editor so they can follow along.

In each section, you could add a stripped down version of this mock-up, and just show the row. You could also label fields here too.

You will get the best results when you advice them on how to write for each field. So imagine the difference between receiving a request that just asks for a headline, a generic headline, versus if you got one with some instructions that actually explain how to write a good headline.

Not only will they have an easier time filling this in, but it means you’ll get the right content the first time. The last thing you need is an email trail trying to explain why their 30-word headline that they’ve provided isn’t going to work.

So once you’ve actually filled out all these fields with instructions, it’s no longer just a content request. It’s like a worksheet that makes it easy for clients to go through and send exactly what you need.

After that, the next part you need to consider is a follow-up schedule.

A schedule is basically just a set of rules that say something like, if after five days nothing has been filled out, send this email. And you can add new rules here. And if you want to send different emails, or edit the emails that we provide by default, you can do that here.

When you edit an email, you can customize it with whatever language you like, to sort of match the way you interact with clients, you can add placeholders for different data to include in the email, and you might even create a different set of emails, maybe that are a bit more, I don’t know, aggressive, if you want to be like that with certain clients.

You might adjust your language for each client, and then create a special schedule, where you have different timings of the emails, and different language in those emails for different clients.

But the key thing to remember, the takeaway from this video is that you need to make it easy for your clients, and we can do that by providing good visual instructions, and guidance on how to actually fill out the content you need.

You will find that you’re going to ask for similar information from a lot of clients. For example a hero header, I mean is pretty much always the same. It’s going to have a headline, a subhead, a button, whatever. And the key is to save that and reuse it on other clients so you’re not always doing the same work over and over and over. So once you’ve got this set up perfectly, a content request is going to be a five-minute job to send to a new client. If you’ve got a generic sort of master template with everything you might need, you just create the request, remove the bits that you don’t need, and you’re done.




James Rose

James is the co-founder of Content Snare and Aktura Technology. Once a web designer, his new priority is to help web designers and developers regain their lives, work less and get better clients.

He does this by writing helpful posts, building software and working with web designers to deliver the complex web development that they don't normally handle.

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