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Content Strategy for the Web
 

Content Strategy for the Web

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School of Visual Concepts Summer 2011

School of Visual Concepts Summer 2011
Workshop: 7/20/11
Content Strategy for the Web with James Callan

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    Content Strategy for the Web Content Strategy for the Web Presentation Transcript

    • A Crash Course in Content Strategy A workshop at the School of Visual Concepts October 21, 2011 Your host: James CallanSunday, October 23, 2011
    • (This workshop stands on the blog posts and books of giants.)Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • What websites do you visit often? Why do you visit them?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • People don’t visit your site for a great user experience.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • People don’t visit your site to see amazing design.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • They want your content.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • (Note: user experience, design, and the other things that make up your website are also important. This isn’t a contest.)Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Content is not a nice-to-have. Content is not an add on. It’s a business asset. It has value.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Because ... it brings you customers, wins you fans, builds you an audiences, and earns you money.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • It’s also a lot of work, if you want to do it well.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • So you should get it right. Enter content strategy.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Jeopardy! without content:Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Jeopardy! without content strategy:Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Jeopardy! with content strategy (as it should be)Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • No content: It’s Alex and a blue screen.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • With content: It’s a suitable arena for humanity’s last stand against our machine overlords.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • What is content strategy?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • First word: What is content?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “In the web industry, anything that conveys meaningful information to humans is called ‘content.’” Erin Kissane, content strategist The Elements of Content StrategySunday, October 23, 2011
    • “Content is contextualized data.” Rahel Bailie, content strategist “A Practical Definition of Content”Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “Content is anything an organization or individual creates and shares to tell their story.” Ann Handley Head of Content at MarketingProfsSunday, October 23, 2011
    • illustrations images tweets help articles navigation words error messages photos audio slideshows interface copy podcasts Facebook posts blog posts comments cartoons video white papers infographics Twitter accountsSunday, October 23, 2011
    • (It’s not just words.)Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Word two: What is strategy?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • It’s a plan for getting stuff done in order to achieve a goal.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “Wikipedia’s strategy was creating a set of rules that got people to generate more than 18 million articles.” Erika Hall Co-founder & Director of Strategy at Mule Design Studio From her Confab presentation.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Put ’em together: What is content strategy?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “You are all in publishing!” Jeffrey Zeldman, king of the web http://www.zeldman.com/2011/03/15/web-design-is-publishing/Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “Content strategy for the web is about bringing editorial 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/Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “Content strategy is to copywriting as information architecture is to design.” Rachel Lovinger, content strategy director http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/content-strategy-theSunday, October 23, 2011
    • “Like a gentleman in a finely crafted suit who wants to burp you the alphabet, even if your website looks nice, no one will stick around to hear what you have to say if you don’t craft something compelling.” Jason Santa Maria, graphic designer http://jasonsantamaria.com/articles/the-elements- of-content-strategy/Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “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-termSunday, October 23, 2011
    • “Content is story. Content strategy is storytelling.” Prateek Sarkar Director, Creative Services Walt Disney Parks and ResortsSunday, October 23, 2011
    • That’s a broad range of answers. Content strategy is a broad field. Practitioners come at it from different perspectives, and tend to specialize.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Where do content strategists come from? From “Apes of Wrath,” a Warner Bros. short.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Is content strategy UX?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Without content strategy, the whole game breaks down.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • You can’t create a great user experience around bad content.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • There’s overlap. But they’re not the same thing.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “Content strategy helps organizations use content to achieve their business goals.” Melissa Rach, VP of Content Strategy at Brain TrafficSunday, October 23, 2011
    • “(God help a business if UX isn’t one of their business goals, but helping the user isn’t an inherent part of content strategy).” Melissa Rach, VP of Content Strategy at Brain TrafficSunday, October 23, 2011
    • It’s not only user experience.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Is content strategy marketing? (Marketers have been very excited to talk content strategy!)Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Sure, a good content strategy helps persuade people buy your stuff.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • It’s not only user experience. It’s not only marketing.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • It’s also data modeling. And product design. And change management. And social media. And editorial. And content management. And information architecture. And content development. And other stuff.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Different content strategists have different specialties.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • The benchmark definition:Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.” Kristina Halvorson, Content Strategy for the WebSunday, October 23, 2011
    • Creation: Who’s providing your content?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Publication: How are you getting your content to users?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Governance: When do you add, update, and archive content?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Useful: How does this content benefit you? How does it benefit your user?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Usable: Can people find, consume, and act on your content?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • What makes good content?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “Good content” is in the eye of the beholder.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • What are your goals? What is your content supposed to achieve for you?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “There’s really only one central principle of good content: it should be appropriate for your business, for your users, and for its context. Appropriate in its method of delivery, in its style and structure, and above all in its substance.” Erin Kissane, content strategist The Elements of Content StrategySunday, October 23, 2011
    • Good content is: • Appropriate • Useful • User-centered • Clear • Consistent • Concise • Supported Erin Kissane again. Seriously, read her book.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • How do you know if your content is good? Inventory and audit.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Inventory: What content do we have?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Audit: What content do we need?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • The content inventorySunday, October 23, 2011
    • The cornerstone of any successful content strategy! How do you do a content inventory? Click each link on your site. Document what you find.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Things often tracked in a content inventory: • Page ID/number • URL • Page Title • Parent • Page Description • Components • SEO Information (metadata, keywords) • Who inside the organization owns that content.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • The inventory is quantitative. What’s on the site?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Followup: the content audit. That’s qualitative: How good is what you’ve got?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Basic audit: ROT analysis. Look for content that’s: Redundant Outdated or TrivialSunday, October 23, 2011
    • More thorough audits can track all kinds of qualities. Is content on brand? Is it clear? Is it meeting customer needs? Is it in a usable format? (There are many possible measures.)Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • EXERCISE #1: Let’s evaluate some website content.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Step one: Let’s do user analysis on ourselves.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Say you’re visiting a pizza place’s website. What content would be useful and usable?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Business goals: Ideally, we’d talk to the business owner. If you owned a pizza place, what goals would you have for the website?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • SPLIT INTO TEAMS OF TWO I’ll give each team a pizza restaurant’s website. Your job: Perform a quick inventory. What content is on the site?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • And a quick analysis: Is it useful and usable, based on our goals? Is any content redundant, outdated, or trivial?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • WORTH CONSIDERING: Does the content work on mobile? Are they linking to Facebook or Twitter or Yelp, and if so, are those up to date?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Spend a half hour on your analysis. Then prepare a quick overview: How’s the site’s content? What needs fixing?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Present: • Three adjectives that describe the pizza joint’s voice. What makes it distinct? • Three recommendations for how content (new, deleted, changed) could improve the site.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • And we’re back.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • So we’ve identified problems. Now what?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Remember the nutshell: 1. What content do we have? 2. What content do we need? 3. Fill the gap: edit, create & curate.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Erin Kissane’s even shorter breakdown: 1. Evaluate. 2. Design. 3. Execute.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • One thing to keep in mind: Content strategy is a process. It’s a cycle. It never really ends.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Content strategy is a web design discipline. Content experts should be involved from the beginning of a web design project. (Some would argue “content first.”)Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • It’s not a perfect world, of course, so that doesn’t always happen.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “The end goal is not great content. It’s a great thing.” Erika Hall Co-founder & Director of Strategy at Mule Design Studio From her Confab presentation.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • More evaluation tools:Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Stakeholder interviewsSunday, October 23, 2011
    • Talk to everyone involved with the content, preferably one-on-one, about what they need and want from the site’s content.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • The goal is to get an idea of how content works within the organization.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • ASK QUESTIONS. (Go with the classics: who, what, when, where, why, and how.)Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Who’s supplying the content? Who is the target audience? Who’s maintaining the content?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • What content do we need?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • When will we publish?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Where will we publish? (Our site, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • How will all of this get done?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • 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.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Once you’re done evaluating, it’s time to design. Some tools you might use to do so:Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Message Architecture What are your key messages? How are you delivering them? Does your audience believe you?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Your message architecture is independent of form. It’s not a tagline, or a mission statement, or a video. It’s communication goals. Specific terminology.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • illustrations images tweets help articles navigation words error messages photos audio slideshows interface copy podcasts Facebook posts blog posts comments cartoons video white papers infographics Twitter accountsSunday, October 23, 2011
    • Editorial Style Guide What’s our tone? Which dictionary do we consult? Do we use the serial comma?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Editorial process Who’s creating our content? How do we decide it’s good enough? How do we evaluate its effectiveness?Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Content Template (a.k.a. Page Table) What needs to go on each kind of page? Includes both visible and invisible content. Accompanies site map and wireframes. Communication bridge between subject matter experts and writers.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Content Template (example #1) http://intentionaldesign.ca/2011/02/22/writing-templates/Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Content Template (example #2) The Elements of Content StrategySunday, October 23, 2011
    • Content Template (example #2, continued) The Elements of Content StrategySunday, October 23, 2011
    • Editorial Calendar How do we decide when to publish? (Tweet twice a day? Update home page when new products launch? Respond to holidays? Respond to news events? How quickly? Etc.)Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • There are more tools. content matrices content modeling accessibility guidelines SEO analysis taxonomy personas competitive analysis wireframesSunday, October 23, 2011
    • Not every project requires every tool.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Also, not every project is a site-wide redesign. Content strategy works on a project-by-project basis.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • ONE MORE THING ... Governance! How content strategy plays out over time.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • “If IA is the spatial side of information, I see content strategy as the temporal side of the same coin.” Louis Rosenfeld, information architect & publisherSunday, October 23, 2011
    • “When I look at where most websites fail, it’s in managing their content over time.” Karen McGrane, Managing Partner, Bond Art + ScienceSunday, October 23, 2011
    • Consultants and agencies: People want to hear from you! Yay, buy-in! But you don’t get to be there for the long haul.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • In-house: Buy in can be a major challenge! But you know the brand and business goals, and you are there for the long haul.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Content strategy is not a quick fix. It’s a long process. One reason content is valuable is because it’s messy, and difficult, and requires a lot of resources.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • To keep your content working: Track when content will need to be archived or updated. Use the editorial calendar. Use a rolling audit. Budget time to get that done.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Introducing:Vanessa Casavant, in- house content strategist for AdoptUSKids.Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • I’m tired of yammering. I know you’ve got questions. Shoot!Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • Resources: I’ll post a bibliography and links and stuff on my blog: http://scarequot.es Come to a meetup with Content Strategy Seattle! http://www.meetup.com/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.)Sunday, October 23, 2011
    • THANK YOU Remember to fill out your evaluation. Don’t forget to write. james@scarequot.es http://scarequot.es Twitter: @scarequotesSunday, October 23, 2011