Less “Why,” More “How.”
It’s all about
in our practice and
consistency in our
Cracking Open the
‣ What I’ve learned from
where I’ve been.
‣ Doing the work we
want to do well.
Shelly Bowen, Pybop
Methodologies in Content Strategy
Courtesy Karen McGrane,
Bond Art + Science
Now for the caveats:
‣ this is a work in progress
‣ no one “deﬁnitive” methodology of CS *
* And that is a good thing. Our stock in trade is our
adaptability and our cross-disciplinary inﬂuences.
10 TOP TIPS
Success !!! Credit: Family Guy, Fox Studios
content audit Discovery and diagnostics
content to eﬀectively scope
inventory for a content strategy.
‣ What: Qualitative analysis of existing oﬀering.
‣ Why: Sets early direction.
‣ How: Like a creative brief, it begins to indicate
your position on the oﬀering--its constraints
‣ FYI: Your best scope tool. You can already be
prioritizing your recommendations here.
‣ What: Detailed quantitative analysis of existing
oﬀering, AKA the ultimate discovery and
‣ How: Be as exhaustive as resources allow.
‣ Why: Comprehensive understanding of oﬀering’s
potential. Sift gems from trash. Let the data do the
talking. Pivot tables are great insurance for later.
‣ FYI: Don’t do manually. Use SiteOrbiter or DIY
crawlers to index.
‣ What: Highly targeted competitive analysis of
speciﬁc digital properties or products/services.
‣ Why: It enables close study of brand/market
competitors. Good for scope.
‣ How: Like a spreadsheet version of an audit. Can be
very diﬃcult to gather competitor data.
‣ FYI: Start studying verticals of interest. These are
rare today but will become commonplace as content
strategy benchmarking grows.
strategy Strategy development:
migration plan the heart of a content strategy.
‣ What: The strategies and tactics to
realize a new content oﬀering at launch
‣ How: Think “product strategy.” Develop
lifecycles for every content type.
From objectives to operations.
‣ Why: The indisputable
centerpiece of any content
strategy. Establishes terms of success.
‣ What: A “plan for a plan.” A strategic
framework and guidelines for migration.
Rarely a workplan.
‣ Why: Scope! Schedule! Budget! Iceberg!
‣ How: Use your inventory and apply mix
of bulk and manual workﬂows.
‣ FYI: David Hobbs’ Migration Handbook
‣ What: A technical plan for
supporting project objectives with
‣ Why: Because technical resources
overlook nuances of the content
requirements. And you’re the expert.
‣ How: Specify key content attributes + relationships.
‣ FYI: Critical to any dynamic content experience.
speciﬁcation Detailed implementation,
copy deck technical development
‣ What: An index of all content
elements and their editorial and
‣ How: Cousin document to the
Copy Deck. Map content reqs
from wireframes and sitemap.
‣ FYI: Also a production plan to
line-item associated at-launch
inventory of content required by
‣ What: Documents all
‣ Why: Self explanatory
‣ How: Smartly sequenced.
‣ FYI: The standard issue
web writing deliverable.
calendar Editorial product development
style guide and postlaunch content delivery.
‣ What: All content activities (e.g.,
production and curation)
documented and scheduled. !
‣ Potential: The CMS of CS! A dashboard tool for
planning, traﬃcking and measuring editorial ﬂow.
Great for generating metrics.
‣ How: Think web databases, forms, spreadsheets.
‣ FYI: A “Basecamp for editorial calendars” is
inevitable. (dlvr.it: a social curation approach?)
‣ What: Editorial conventions
‣ Potential: Detailed production
guide for all content modules,
intended for owners/authors.
‣ Why: Because your metadata
strategy is nothing without
execution. Governance is real here.
‣ FYI: Entirely unmerited bad rap.
Not a “writers’ thing.” Think training!
Content Development Credit: Webbmedia Group
‣ What: Actual content
production, limited time or
‣ Why: If you do traditional
editorial or branded content,
you live here.
‣ FYI: Tread carefully. Content production is expensive,
but it’s an easy mistake. (UGC might be cheap, but glut is
glut.) ROI is tricky but key, requires an editorial strategy.
There is No End to
‣ Eﬀective content practice is all about continuity.
‣ The Stockholm Syndrome of Content Strategy:
How can we distinguish the blurry line between
projects and operations?
What’s needed: the “CS in Residence.”