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Defining Our Profession, Defining Ourselves at CSForum14

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Content strategy is continuing to evolve as a discipline. Our evolution makes sense: we work with evolving technologies to enable communication in platforms and channels that didn't even exist when we …

Content strategy is continuing to evolve as a discipline. Our evolution makes sense: we work with evolving technologies to enable communication in platforms and channels that didn't even exist when we first started using the term. But as our discipline evolves, so too do the strengths individual practitioners offer and our clients expect, all under the label "content strategy." Is that a problem, or an opportunity? Can we grapple with our terminology to broaden the profession without losing its relevance? We do so much research, monitor, and understand our users. Now, let's draw on similar data about ourselves. Together, let's explore how we grow and promote our capabilities and the many ways we can help our colleagues, collaborators, and clients.

Presented at Content Strategy Forum, #csforum14, in Frankfurt, Germany, on July 2, 2014.

Published in: Marketing, Technology, Business
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  • 1. DEFINING OUR PROFESSION, DEFINING OURSELVES CS Forum 2014 #csforum14 July 2, 2014 Margot Bloomstein @mbloomstein
  • 2. Wiesloch Stadtapotheke Erste Tankstelle, cc Rudolf Stricker
  • 3. Wiesloch Stadtapotheke Erste Tankstelle, cc Rudolf Stricker 1888, Wiesloch City pharmacy
  • 4. City pharmacy = filling station Wiesloch Stadtapotheke Erste Tankstelle, cc Rudolf Stricker @mbloomstein | #csforum14 4
  • 5. 1909, Altoona America’s oldest gas station JohnnieandAngela.blogspot.com @mbloomstein | #csforum14 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 | #csforum14 8
  • 9. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 11
  • 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 | #csforum14 12
  • 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 | #csforum14 13
  • 12. Industries thrive through differentiation: both buyers and sellers benefit. What’s right for me? What’s right for right now? @mbloomstein | #csforum14 14
  • 13. Prospect: Financial services messaging, workflow, editorial training @mbloomstein | #csforum14 15
  • 14. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 16 Prospect: Financial services messaging, workflow, editorial training
  • 15. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 17 Prospect: Financial services messaging, workflow, editorial training for social media
  • 16. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 18 Prospect: Midmarket institutional investment messaging, workflow, editorial training for social media
  • 17. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 19 Prospect: Midmarket institutional investment messaging, workflow, editorial training for social media
  • 18. © Barbara Kruger @mbloomstein | #csforum14 20
  • 19. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 21 I help brands clarify their communication goals to develop, instill, and maintain appropriate content and editorial voice.
  • 20. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 22 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 | #csforum14 23 Content strategy plans for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable and brand-appropriate content. This is how I define content strategy.
  • 22. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 24 Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content. Kristina Halvorson, A List Apart 2009
  • 23. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 25 Content strategy is to copywriting as information architecture is to design. Rachel Lovinger, Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data
  • 24. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 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
  • 25. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 27 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 | #csforum14 28 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 | #csforum14 29 We are management consultants for external messaging and editorial workflow challenges. Ahava Liebtag (@ahaval), Aha Media Group
  • 28. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 30 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 | #csforum14 31 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 | #csforum14 32 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 | #csforum14 33
  • 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 | #csforum14 34
  • 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 | #csforum14 37
  • 36. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 38 But will we dilute the meaning?
  • 37. But will we dilute the meaning?
  • 38. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 40 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 | #csforum14 42 But what about the generalists?
  • 41. @mbloomstein | #csforum14 43 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 | #csforum14 44
  • 43. Clients, 1. Be precise: own your definition. 2. Get specific: narrow what you want. 3. Be honest—and encouraging. “No… and” @mbloomstein | #csforum14 45
  • 44. This is an opportunity for growth and specialization within our broad industry
  • 45. because how we define our industry is the sum of how we define ourselves.
  • 46. Margot Bloomstein @mbloomstein margot@appropriateinc.com slideshare.net/mbloomstein amzn.to/CSatWork © 2014 Appropriate, Inc.
  • 47. 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/
  • 48. © 2014 Appropriate, Inc. Margot Bloomstein @mbloomstein margot@appropriateinc.com slideshare.net/mbloomstein amzn.to/CSatWork

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