Taking content strategy to people who already think they have one

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How the Guardian’s custom CMS & API helped take content strategy to a traditional publisher, presented at the 2011 Content Strategy Forum in London. Essay version available at http://www.currybet.net/cbet_blog/2011/09/csforum11-martin-belam.php

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Taking content strategy to people who already think they have one

  1. 1. “Taking content strategy to people who already think they have one" Martin Belam Content Strategy Forum, September 2011 Lead User Experience & Information Architect, The Guardian @currybet Essay version of this talk available at: bit.ly/q9tzJ5
  2. 2. I joined The Guardian full-time in 2009
  3. 3. This is best description I’ve ever seen of what I do
  4. 4. 1. Write newspaper 2. Print newspaper3. Wrap fish‘nchips in newspaper
  5. 5. 1. Write newspaper*****and sub-edit it, check it with legal, write the headlines,clear the rights for the images, make late changes, re-sub it, syndicate the best bits, and get the files packaged up 2. Print newspaper ***and send the front page to @suttonnick in advance ****and publish it all to the web 3. Wrap fish‘nchips in newspaper *remember to have sent the British Library a copy **and our own library
  6. 6. 1. Write newspaper*****and sub-edit it, check it with legal, write the headlines,clear the rights for the images, make late changes, re-sub it, syndicate the best bits, and get the files packaged up 2. Print newspaper ***and send the front page to @suttonnick in advance ****and publish it all to the web 3. Wrap fish‘nchips in newspaper *remember to have sent the British Library a copy **and our own library
  7. 7. Oh. Did I say “web”?
  8. 8. There are more and more platforms to come
  9. 9. Not all content works for all mediums
  10. 10. Getting it wrong sends the wrong signal
  11. 11. Our content now lasts longer than a day
  12. 12. And we are looking to extend that life cycle
  13. 13. You get some metadata and “furniture” in print
  14. 14. but there is so much peripheral digital content
  15. 15. Teams of people agonise over the words on the left
  16. 16. The words on the right? Not so much...
  17. 17. And to extend our range of content sources
  18. 18. We now have to manage other people’s content
  19. 19. Our CMS is some homebrew called “R2”
  20. 20. Workflow? Permissions? Meh.
  21. 21. Tags are magic!
  22. 22. Every article has tags to tell us... Publication Content type Contributor Section Tone Subject keywords
  23. 23. Tags govern where stories appear
  24. 24. And we can combine them (however unlikely)
  25. 25. We can segment content from our contributors
  26. 26. And we can sometimes get over-enthusiastic
  27. 27. We can “batch tag” and edit content
  28. 28. If tags are magic, then an API is wizardry
  29. 29. It is like a glorified advanced search. For machines.
  30. 30. ! Those of a nervous or non-technicaldisposition may wish to look away now
  31. 31. The Guardian API architecture (simplified) Solr Client Apps! Main Oracle libraries database instance R2 InCMS Copy
  32. 32. Create once. Publish everywhere.
  33. 33. Create once. Publish everywhere.(-ish)
  34. 34. We also use our website API on our website
  35. 35. And incorporate apps other people have made
  36. 36. The golden rule is “get the model right”Photo by TheIguana - http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035797337@N01/3012247640/
  37. 37. 1 Don’t patronise Every person and every organisation starts from somewhere.
  38. 38. 2 A portfolio of errors Show someone where other traditional publishers have failed, rather than simply criticise their own efforts.
  39. 39. 3 Don’t start with articles Demonstrate your worth by tackling all the bits of content that a traditional publisher won’t be thinking about.
  40. 40. 4 Never use ‘hipster ipsum’ Leave that to the UXers. The value you will bring is in dealing with content, so always highlight the content.
  41. 41. 5 Don’t forget your IA I heard a lot of talk yesterday about tasks, navigation and labels. Learn (and please improve) on prior art
  42. 42. 6 Build APIs Well, don’t build them. That bit is really hard. But persuade people why they need them, and then help them to get their content models right.
  43. 43. The future
  44. 44. Thank you.Tweet questions to @currybet

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