Defining Our Profession, Defining Ourselves at CSSummit14

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What’s in a name—and does it constrain or empower us? As “content strategy” evolves as an industry, so too do the areas of expertise individual practitioners offer and our clients expect. Is that a problem, or an opportunity? Can we grapple with our terminology to broaden the profession without losing its relevance? And do we run the risk of diluting the meaning? We’ll discuss the responsibility and opportunity in how we define our industry and the areas of specialty it can comprise.

Presented at Environments for Humans Content Strategy Summit, #CSSummit, August 19, 2014.

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Defining Our Profession, Defining Ourselves at CSSummit14

  1. DEFINING OUR PROFESSION, DEFINING OURSELVES Content Strategy Summit 2014 #CSSummit August 19, 2014 Margot Bloomstein @mbloomstein
  2. Wiesloch Stadtapotheke Erste Tankstelle, cc Rudolf Stricker
  3. Wiesloch Stadtapotheke Erste Tankstelle, cc Rudolf Stricker 1888, Wiesloch, Germany City pharmacy
  4. City pharmacy = filling station Wiesloch Stadtapotheke Erste Tankstelle, cc Rudolf Stricker @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 4
  5. 1909, Altoona, Pennsylvania America’s oldest gas station JohnnieandAngela.blogspot.com @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 5
  6. 1913 Road maps & tire service JohnnieandAngela.blogspot.com
  7. Road maps & tire service Full service Attended pumps Self service Air pumps Squeegees
  8. cc flicker.com/photos/baggis Is this a gas station? @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 8
  9. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 12
  10. “A retail business providing the public a convenient location to quickly purchase a wide array of food, gasoline, and services” NACS, the National Association of Convenience & Fuel Retailing @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 13
  11. “2400 square feet of packaged consumer items. Today, there are different types of stores: mini stores under canopies, expanded food service, in-store seating.” @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 14
  12. Industries thrive through differentiation: both buyers and sellers benefit. What’s right for me? What’s right for right now? @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 15
  13. Prospect: Financial services messaging, workflow, editorial training @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 16
  14. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 17 Prospect: Financial services messaging, workflow, editorial training
  15. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 18 Prospect: Financial services messaging, workflow, editorial training for social media
  16. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 19 Prospect: Midmarket institutional investment messaging, workflow, editorial training for social media
  17. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 20 Prospect: Midmarket institutional investment messaging, workflow, editorial training for social media
  18. © Barbara Kruger @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 21
  19. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 22 I help brands clarify their communication goals to develop, instill, and maintain appropriate content and editorial voice.
  20. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 23 Content strategy plans for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable and brand-appropriate content. This is how I define content strategy.
  21. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 24 Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content. Kristina Halvorson, A List Apart 2009
  22. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 25 Content strategy is to copywriting as information architecture is to design. Rachel Lovinger, Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data
  23. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 26 I work on how content is organized and structured. […] I translate designs into what needs to be built in the CMS to make the content for the site work the way it's supposed to. Rachel Lovinger (@rlovinger), Razorfish
  24. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 27 Content strategy within our practice is less editorial and more strategic. It helps us determine what and how content will help solve business and web goals. Corey Vilhauer (@MrVilhauer), Blend Interactive
  25. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 28 I'm a content strategist, which is a fancy way of saying ‘a writer who also has design and marketing skills.’ Tiffani Jones-Brown (@ticjones), Pinterest
  26. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 29 I'm a content strategist. This means I help clients and companies figure out how, when, and why to talk to their audiences. Keri Maijala (@clamhead)
  27. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 30 We are management consultants for external messaging and editorial workflow challenges. Ahava Liebtag (@ahaval), Aha Media Group
  28. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 31 I am often a ‘fulcrum’ between disciplines. I spend at least half my time focusing on business and cultural change, before thinking about content. Elizabeth McGuane, @emcguane
  29. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 32 A content strategist is like a business analyst for your content. We look at how content is currently helping (or hindering) your business and develop a strategy to make it work better. Sally Bagshaw, @snappysentences
  30. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 33 The analysis and planning to develop a repeatable system that governs the management of content throughout the entire content lifecycle. Rahel Anne Bailie, @rahelab, The Language of Content Strategy
  31. Industries thrive through differentiation: both practitioners and clients benefit @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 34
  32. Industries thrive through differentiation: both practitioners and clients benefit but only when we precisely, narrowly define both what we do and need and encourage diverse specificity @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 35
  33. • Drive the development and organization of content that is useful, compelling and meaningful on our site, all social media platforms, and distributed content • Create user flows, information hierarchies, wireframes, and content strategy • Maintain fluency in industry terminology and develop our “voice” within it • Determine content requirements, inventory existing content, identify gaps, evaluate possible sources for additional material, and manage the process of getting that content into production • Maintain current content audit • Creatively look for opportunities to improve content, consumer experience, and SEO performance • Manage editorial calendar to proactively keep content useful and up to date • Train internal and freelance copywriters; develop any necessary training programs • Develop analytics, conduct consumer and usability testing to help improve the UX • Lead projects with the PR and marcomm team to support campaigns and launches • Work with brand architecture and terminology to guide product organization and internal customer service content and training • Drive the architecture of and improvements to the internal product CMS • Occasionally write or edit content, particularly metadata, titles, alt text and edit general content to optimize for natural search
  34. • Drive the development and organization of content that is useful, compelling and meaningful on our site, all social media platforms, and distributed content • Create user flows, information hierarchies, wireframes, and content strategy • Maintain fluency in industry terminology and develop our “voice” within it • Determine content requirements, inventory existing content, identify gaps, evaluate possible sources for additional material, and manage the process of getting that content into production • Maintain current content audit • Creatively look for opportunities to improve content, consumer experience, and SEO performance • Manage editorial calendar to proactively keep content useful and up to date • Train internal and freelance copywriters; develop any necessary training programs • Develop analytics, conduct consumer and usability testing to help improve the UX • Lead projects with the PR and marcomm team to support campaigns and launches • Work with brand architecture and terminology to guide product organization and internal customer service content and training • Drive the architecture of and improvements to the internal product CMS • Occasionally write or edit content, particularly metadata, titles, alt text and edit general content to optimize for natural search
  35. Without clear differentiation, hiring (and selling) is frustrating, training and rework is expensive, and “content strategy” gets a bad name. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 38
  36. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 39 But will we dilute the meaning?
  37. But will we dilute the meaning?
  38. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 41 But will we dilute the meaning? We’ll free the meaning to communicate what we do or need with greater precision.
  39. “ ”I’m a designer
  40. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 43 But what about the generalists?
  41. @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 44 But what about the generalists? Follow your passion— and work to better define the work.
  42. Content strategists, 1. Be precise: own your definition. 2. Get specific: narrow what you want. 3. Be honest—and encouraging. “No… and” @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 45
  43. Corporations and marketing departments who want to hire content strategists @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 46
  44. “Clients” @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 47
  45. Clients 1. Be precise: own your definition. 2. Get specific: narrow what you want. 3. Be honest—and encouraging. “No… and” @mbloomstein | #CSSummit 48
  46. This is an opportunity for growth and specialization within our broad industry
  47. because how we define our industry is the sum of how we define ourselves.
  48. THANK YOU!Margot Bloomstein @mbloomstein margot@appropriateinc.com slideshare.net/mbloomstein amzn.to/CSatWork © 2014 Appropriate, Inc. http://appropriateinc.com/ideas/growing-t-shaped-content-strategist/ http://www.slideshare.net/jcolman/content-strategy-for-marketers-smx-advanced-2013 http://www.clevegibbon.com/2011/08/what-do-content-strategists-do/
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