“Content strategy is to copywritingas information architecture is to design.” Rachel Lovinger, content strategy director http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/content-strategy-the
“Like a gentleman in a ﬁnely crafted suit who wantsto burp you the alphabet, even if your website looksnice, no one will stick around to hear what you haveto say if you don’t craft something compelling.” Jason Santa Maria, graphic designer http://jasonsantamaria.com/articles/the-elements- of-content-strategy/
“I am a ﬁrm believer that content strategy is communication design.” Nicole Jones, content strategist http://swellcontent.tumblr.com/post/4072864686/ demystifying-content-strategy-part-i-the-term
“Content strategy is the moment when you realisethat you need to do some more thinking. If you thinkabout all the complexities associated with planningand creating and governing and editing content, theyraise all these questions that most organisationsaren’t really very well placed to answer.” Jonathan Kahn, web dev and content strategy advocate http://lucidplot.com/2011/02/03/content-strategy- ux-lightning/
“You are all in publishing!” Jeffrey Zeldman, king of the web http://www.zeldman.com/2011/03/15/web-design-is-publishing/
“Content strategy for the web is about bringingeditorial skill and methods into website planning. In order to create good content, you need a plan for how you’re going to get it and keep it coming.” Elizabeth McGuane, writer/editor/content strategist http://mappedblog.com/2010/10/04/fear-loathing- and-content-strategy/
That’s a broad range of answers.Content strategy is a broad ﬁeld.Practitioners tend to specialize.
Before we talk about how toevaluate quality, let’s look at some example sites and talk aboutwhether or not we think they offer good content.http://www.kickstarter.com/http://seattle.craigslist.org/http://www.tumblr.com/http://www.today.com/http://www.medscape.com/ (Thanks to everyone who took the survey and suggested sites.)
“Good content” is a relative term.You need to deﬁne “good” before you can fully evaluate your content.
What are your goals?What is your content supposed to achieve for you?
“There’s really only one central principle of goodcontent: it should be appropriate for yourbusiness, for your users, and for its context.Appropriate in its method of delivery, in its styleand structure, and above all in its substance.” Erin Kissane, content strategist The Elements of Content Strategy
Good content is:• Appropriate• Useful• User-centered• Clear• Consistent• Concise• Supported Erin Kissane again. Seriously, read her book.
How do you knowif your content is good? Inventory and audit.
Content strategy analysis, in a nutshell:1. What content do we have?2. What content do we need?3. Create or curate what’s missing.
How do you do a content inventory?Click each link on your site. Document what you ﬁnd.
Things often tracked in a content inventory: • Page ID/number • URL • Page Title • Parent • Page Description • Components • SEO Information (metadata, keywords) • Who owns that content.
The audit helps identify:• Content you have• Content you need• Content you should delete• Content that needs improvement
Another tool: Personas and user data. Do you know your audience? Do you know what content they want? Do you know what content appeals to them?(This is one of those areas that strongly overlaps with UX.)
And a big one, especially in discovery: WHY? Why do we need a blog? Why do we need a Twitter feed? Why aren’t we using a CMS? Etc.
Another tool: Message Architecture(documents key messages and supporting info)
Another tool: Editorial Style Guide (What’s our tone?Which dictionary do we consult? Do we use the serial comma?)
Another tool: Content Matrix(Detailed inventory of the content you have and where it will go. More info than the initial audit, but could be based on it.)
Another tool: Editorial Calendar What events drive when we publish?(Tweet twice a day? Update home page on product launches? Respond to holidays? Etc.)
Another tool: Content Type A breakdown of what needs to go on any kind of page. Both visible andinvisible content. Accompanies site map and wireframes.
There are more tools.Not every project requires every tool.
Major deliverable: The Content Brief (Answers the questions. Establishes a vision for the content. High-levelrecommendations. NOT speciﬁc copy.)
Governance!How content strategy plays out over time.
Consultants set up a planand get internal teams up and running.They may have recurringvisits for content upkeep.
In-house content strategists may have aharder time getting buy-in, but they’re there for the long haul.
To keep your content evergreen: Use the editorial calendar. Use a rolling audit.Track when content will need to be archived or updated. Budget time to get that done.
Content strategy is not a quick ﬁx. It’s a long process. One reason content is valuable is because it’smessy, and difﬁcult, and requires a lot of resources.
Example of a content superhero: http://www.criterion.com/Contrast with:http://www.somethingweird.com/http://www.shoutfactorystore.com/http://www.kino.com/http://www.wbshop.com/DVD/DVD,default,sc.html
I’m tired of yammering.I know you’ve got questions. Shoot!
Resources: I’ll post a bibliography and links and stuff on my blog: http://scarequot.es Come to a meetup with Content Strategy Seattle!Join the Google Group, or LinkedIn discussion groups. Follow smart people on Twitter.Content strategists are a friendly, helpful group. (I think it’s a job requirement.)
THANK YOUDon’t forget to ﬁll out the evaluation.