I&#x2019;ve been working as a titled content strategist for about 5 years and been in professional services and interactive media for 10.
The editors of A List Apart asked Kristina Halvorson and I to introduce the field of content strategy to its readers about a year and a half ago.
The rest is history--but let&#x2019;s have a quick refresher.
To the content strategist, the history of content online is essentially a history of shovelware.
Unwritten: don&#x2019;t treat content as an afterthought in your web projects.
What&#x2019;s the role of content strategy--intelligent, structured content--and editorial strategy in advancing from prototype to product? What about packaging, producing and selling it?
How will digital publishers expand their current editorial properties in a way that maintains (and broadens) their relevance online?
They&#x2019;ll look to something called editorial strategy. And so will anyone looking to effectively engage users with ongoing content production.
He has said similarly that &#x201C;treating content as a high-value asset requires a publishing approach&#x201D;.
It&#x2019;s true. And it&#x2019;s a good subject for the next time we get together.
Every problem with content is about being effective, relevant and remarkable with content.
The same is true of publishing.
Content strategy, like information science, is descended from publishing.
Content strategy is a form of product development. We are situated between PRODUCT and plumbing.
EDITORIAL STRATEGY The strategy and tactics underpinning a digital property&#x2019;s content offering at launch and beyond.
It is a product strategy for establishing the right mix of at-launch content production and aggregation for all content types, including directional postlaunch recommendations. This document informs the Content Specification.
STYLE GUIDE* and EDITORIAL CALENDAR* are cousin deliverables aimed at operationalizing content activities. The Style Guide is a detailed production guide for all content modules intended for content owners and authors. The editorial calendar is dashboard tool for planning, tracking and measuring content production, delivery and related analytics.
The former, often paired with creative design specifications (e.g., image sizes), consolidates house editorial standards as they relate to the new platform. This can include detailed workflows and standardized processes, a governance model for various content types and even walkthroughs and training related to new tools and process improvements. At its most extensive, this document can double as a metadata schema or asset management guidelines.
The latter, combined with a programming matrix, acts as a management tool for rationalizing content production requirements for editorial management and for aligning content activities (in multiple channels) to business and brand priorities through a unified framework.
The Day 2
Jeﬀrey MacIntyre CHI*Atlanta 2009
Predicate, LLC Atlanta Content Strategy
I’m an independent content strategist in
NYC. My practice focuses on
editorial product strategy.
‣ Jeﬀ MacIntyre, Principal
How the Content Strategist
Still Sees (a Lot of) the Web.
‣ “Redesign must die”
‣ “Every large website
is a complex
adaptive system.” Credit: “Redesign Must Die” , louisrosenfeld.com
The Content Strategy Gospel
‣ The web is a publishing medium.
‣ Content is integral (to experience).
‣ Content producers = de facto publishers.
‣ To users, the web is awash in content.
Site owners feel the ﬂoodwaters, too.
So, sink or swim. Filter or be ﬂooded.
Content Strategy as
“The Day 2 Problem”
Postlaunch is a
Nothing shines a light on the good
faith agreement between client and
consultant than thoughtful aftercare.
Editorial strategy is about caring for
content after launch day. Credit: Flickr Commons
Do You Have One?
Editorial strategy is ...
‣ a set editorial mix Credit: Jessica Hagy
‣ scheduled release of ongoing content
‣ packaged as a bundle of like content
‣ supported through masthead workﬂow
‣ guided by a product strategy
Deﬁning Editorial Content
What is it? A publishing asset.
‣ Repeatable and repeatedly
published content in a
recognizable form (article, podcast,
etc.) and packaged (e.g., edited) for
‣ Made valuable to an audience by:
being innovative; through subject
matter expertise or authority; by
voice or other brand attributes.
Example: Slate’s “Today’s Papers”
12 years ago, Slate.com pioneered a daily
form of content aggregation for news
It evolved from novel
convenience to meta-digest
to spin-oﬀs to modular, near-
Key Debates in Editorial Strategy
‣ Free v. paid (rev. models: licensing, etc.)
‣ Production model: factory v. atelier
‣ Curation v. aggregation
‣ Original content: longform/shortform
‣ Editorial mix: stock & ﬂow
Editorial Strategy FYI Credit: Jonathan Maziarz, eatmedia.net
Credit: Clinton Forry, content-ment.com
Credit: Jason Santa Maria, SVA presentation
Credit: Luke Hayman, Pentagram.com
Credit: Adam Taplin,
Content Strategy Google Group Credit: Robin Sloan, snarkmarket.com
Credit: Prasanna Lal Das,
prasannalaldas.blogspot.com Credit: Muriel Vandermeulen,