What, Why, When
A short history of content strategy
A few definitions…
The main goal of content strategy is to use words and data
to create unambiguous content that supports
meaningful, interactive experiences. Rachel
Lovinger, “Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data.”
Boxes & Arrows, 2007.
Content strategy is about how we get the right content to
the right people at the right time. Kevin P.
Nichols, “Enterprise Content Strategy Practitioners’ Guide.”
Content strategy is the practice of planning for the
creation, delivery and governance of useful, usable
content. Kristina Halvorson, Content Strategy for the
Our house view 2013…
Content Strategy is the systematic, thoughtful
approach to surfacing the most
relevant, effective, and appropriate content at
the most opportune time, to the appropriate
user, for the purpose of achieving a
company’s strategic business objectives.
Simply, content strategy is…
A practice or discipline
A systematic way of approaching content
development, creation, management and
Why content strategy?
Volume (of content) and complexity (of the digital
Companies are producing more and more content, often
with no sense of:
How much they have
Where it is
Who’s taking care of it
How effective it is at meeting business and audience
goals (if they even know what these are)
What’s the difference?
If copywriting is about the words on the
page, content strategy is about everything that goes
into getting them there and why they need to be
there in the first place.
Content strategists and UX practitioners care about
some of the same things, but from a slightly
different perspective. If UX is concerned with the
presentation layer, content strategy is concerned
with the content beneath that presentation level that
makes that UX vision a reality.
Content should not be an afterthought.
Content strategy work falls into two buckets
1. Tactical. This type of work covers the
practical, operational aspects of
producing, managing and governing content. This
work includes things like defining template
requirements for a CMS
implementation, producing content matrix files to
capture page-level copy, and content migration
and production planning.
2. Strategic. This type of work (obviously!) covers
the more strategic aspects related to content and
content production. It tends to be more analytical
and forward thinking in nature and includes things
like content auditing and competitive
assessments. Strategic work plans for content that
speaks to your target audience.
Content strategists ask clients questions like…
What content do you have?
Where is it?
Is it enough or do you need more?
Is it effective?
Does it distinguish you from your competitors?How?
They do things like…
Inventories and audits (“This is what you
Make recommendations (“This is what you
need / need to do with what you already have.”)
Plan (“This is how to do what you need to do.”)
User experience, content experience
Content strategy bridges the gap between the
theoretical work of the UX practitioner and the real
world of content by:
• Making sure content exists to support all design
• Making sure that the design elements support
content goals and priorities (strategic)
Structured content and responsive design
• Content strategists makes the theoretical real
• Content strategists facilitate, support and compliment the work
of the UX practitioner
• Content strategists specialize in different areas
• The more complex the digital world becomes, the more content
strategy and UX have to work together to make the vision a
Content strategy at Sapient
Kevin Nichols (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Director & Global Content Strategy Lead (Boston)
Julie Christie (email@example.com)
Manager, Content Strategy (London)