Remember the childhood game "Telephone"? You come up with a sentence and whisper it to your neighbor, who whispers it to her neighbor, and so on? By the time the sentence reaches the end of the line, it barely resembles its former self. In my day, Telephone was a fun excuse to say wacky, nonsensical, and sometimes unspeakable things, like curse words or obvious hints about someone's secret crush. Telephone was also instructive--it showed how easily information skews as it passes through various channels.
Managing the creation of product content is its own version of Telephone. And it's especially problematic for large companies with massive inventory, for products with complicated specs, or for e-tailers managing big overhauls of their online stores.
The challenge for these companies often begins with a weak or non-existent content management process.
Without it, you run into product info and specs that are haphazardly collected and not properly shared among departments. This could lead to missing or inaccurate information or lazy writing down the road. Even if you manage to sidestep inaccuracies, your content writers may miss out on tasty product factoids lost somewhere between the design studio and the marketing manager's office.
Without a system, creating quality content for the web is more challenging than it needs to be. Think of this system as "content blueprinting."
Like the last line in Telephone, information in a product description is several steps removed from its original sources. Since that's the name of the game, it's wise to accept blueprinting as an integral step in content creation.
Any company could benefit from devising an internal system for collecting, sharing, and approving product information within and between departments--from design and engineering to marketing and sales. You'll have a solid, one-stop source for internal use. Your content team will have the assets they need to create accurate copy. And everyone involved in the content creation process will have more time to focus on presenting the products in a compelling way that reflects your brand's attributes.
To avoid the pitfalls of Telephone in your production process, treat content blueprinting as a necessary step in creating product detail content.