Predicate | Our Capabilities: The Predicate Approach to Content Strategy


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Predicate | Our Capabilities: The Predicate Approach to Content Strategy

  1. 1. Capabilities AND CONTENT STRATEGY PRIMER Jeffrey MacIntyre v8.0 Predicate, LLC
  2. 2. Introductions I’m an independent content strategist in NYC. My background: editorial and management consulting. ‣ Jeff MacIntyre, Principal @jeffmacintyre
  3. 3. (Publishing is Pivotal) ‣ Everything I know about content strategy I learned from being a web editor.
  4. 4. (We’re All Management Consultants Now) Will you still respect us? Credit: Kunstverein, ffffound!
  5. 5. Predicate ... ‣ Works independently and directs project teams with clients; ‣ Partners with agencies; and ‣ Advises organizations on growing CS capabilities internally.
  6. 6. My Year of Content Strategy, 2008
  7. 7. Napkin Knol Notes on Content From body of knowledge to methodology.
  8. 8. The Rise of CONTENT STRATEGY
  9. 9. Remember the Good Old Days?
  10. 10. “Tragedy = comedy + time” Woody Allen
  11. 11. How the Content Strategist Still Sees (a Lot of) the Web.
  12. 12. “Design without content is decoration.” Jeffrey Zeldman
  13. 13. Louis Rosenfeld: Kill Redesign ‣ “Redesign must die” ‣ “Every large website is a complex Credit: “Redesign Must Die “, adaptive system.”
  14. 14. The Rationale for CONTENT STRATEGY
  15. 15. “Kill the ‘content phase’ and help the web grow up.” --Margot Bloomstein, Appropriate Inc.
  16. 16. Why? Part I A generation into the web, we still don’t do content right. It’s our open secret. And it shows. Credit: circa 1999
  17. 17. Why? Part II Old problems. No ownership or expertise. CMS. Archive. Postlaunch erosion. Lack of standards. New problems. Deeper and wider inventories. Richer offerings. Revenue models. SEO. Social. Multichannel. Partners. UGC. Technologies galore.
  18. 18. Introducing Content Strategy ‣ What? Product development for content. ‣ How? CSes, like product developers, sit between “product” and “plumbing”.
  19. 19. Big Need, Few Practitioners RFPs are requiring it. But content strategists are only ~1% of UX community. Courtesy A List Apart Web Design Survey 2009.
  20. 20. The CONTENT STRATEGY Body of Knowledge
  21. 21. Getting Oriented: CS is Multidisciplinary Credit: Richard Ingram At minimum, it’s adjacent to interaction design, development, copywriting, information architecture, business analysis and content management.
  22. 22. Getting Oriented: CS is a Lifecycle “Content Strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.” --Kristina Halvorson “If information architecture is the spatial design of information, I see content strategy as the temporal side of that same coin.” --Louis Rosenfeld
  23. 23. Old Testament ‣ The web is a publishing medium. ‣ Content is integral (to experience). ‣ Content producers = de facto publishers. ‣ To users, the web is awash in content. Site owners feel the floodwaters, too. So, sink or swim. Filter or be flooded.
  24. 24. New Testament ‣ Why? Because publishing is hard. Credit: Jessica Hagy Consider the masthead. ‣ Curation is king. The filter on the firehose as an editorial function.
  25. 25. “The Day 2 Problem” Postlaunch is a project phase. Nothing shines a light on the good faith agreement between client and consultant than thoughtful aftercare. Editorial strategy is about caring for content after launch day. Credit: Flickr Commons
  26. 26. “[G]etting better at publishing is the only way you’re going to get better at content.” Gerry McGovern Content Critical
  27. 27. “Content strategy is about publishing.” Erin Kissane,
  28. 28. Your website isn’t a magazine. But it should be.
  29. 29. Scoping A CONTENT STRATEGY
  30. 30. Start Simply: Cover the Bases ‣ Product ‣ Platform ‣ People
  31. 31. A Simple Content Strategy Philosophy ‣ Product (content) ‣ Platform (publishing) ‣ People (organization)
  32. 32. Our Methodology 1. Audit 2. Plan 3. Build 4. Grow content content editorial content audit strategy specification calendar content migration plan copy deck style guide inventory metadata content gap analysis schema development
  33. 33. The Tool Kit of a Content Strategy
  34. 34. Our Methodology 1. Audit content audit Discovery and diagnostics content to effectively scope inventory for a content strategy. gap analysis
  35. 35. Content Audit ‣ What: Qualitative analysis of existing offering. ‣ Why: Sets early direction. ‣ How: Like a creative brief, it begins to indicate your position on the offering--its constraints and potential. ‣ FYI: Your best scope tool. You can already be prioritizing your recommendations here.
  36. 36. Content Inventory ‣ What: Detailed quantitative analysis of existing offering, AKA the ultimate discovery and budgeting tool. ‣ How: Be as exhaustive as resources allow. ‣ Why: Comprehensive understanding of offering’s potential. Sift gems from trash. Let the data do the talking. Pivot tables are great insurance for later. ‣ FYI: Don’t do manually. Use SiteOrbiter or DIY crawlers to index.
  37. 37. Gap/Competitive Analysis ‣ What: Highly targeted competitive analysis of specific digital properties or products/services. ‣ Why: It enables close study of brand/market competitors. Good for scope. ‣ How: Like a spreadsheet version of an audit. Can be very difficult to gather competitor data. ‣ FYI: Start studying veritcals of interest. These are rare today but will become commonplace as content strategy benchmarking grows.
  38. 38. Our Methodology 2. Plan content strategy Strategy development: migration plan the heart of a content strategy. metadata schema
  39. 39. Content Strategy ! ‣ What: The strategies and tactics to realize a new content offering at launch and beyond. ‣ How: Think “product strategy.” Develop lifecycles for every content type. From objectives to operations. ‣ Why: The indisputable centerpiece of any content strategy. Establishes terms of success.
  40. 40. Migration Plan ‣ What: A “plan for a plan.” A strategic framework and guidelines for migration. Rarely a workplan. ‣ Why: Scope! Schedule! Budget! Iceberg! ‣ How: Use your inventory and apply mix of bulk and manual workflows. ‣ FYI: David Hobbs’ Migration Handbook (
  41. 41. Metadata Schema ‣ What: A technical plan for supporting project objectives with metadata. ‣ Why: Because technical resources overlook nuances of the content requirements. And you’re the expert. ‣ How: Specify key content attributes + relationships. ‣ FYI: Critical to any dynamic content experience.
  42. 42. Our Methodology 3. Build content specification Detailed implementation, copy deck technical development and integration.
  43. 43. Content Specification ‣ What: An index of all content elements and their editorial and technical function. ‣ How: Cousin document to the Copy Deck. Map content reqs from wireframes and sitemap. ‣ FYI: Also a production plan to line-item associated at-launch inventory of content required by this doc.
  44. 44. Copy Deck ‣ What: Documents all user-facing content requirements. ‣ Why: Self explanatory (messaging strategy). ‣ How: Smartly sequenced. ‣ FYI: The standard issue web writing deliverable.
  45. 45. Our Methodology 4. Grow editorial calendar Editorial product development style guide and postlaunch content delivery. content development
  46. 46. Editorial Calendar ‣ What: All content activities (e.g., production and curation) documented and scheduled. ! ‣ Potential: The CMS of CS! A dashboard tool for planning, trafficking and measuring editorial flow. Great for generating metrics. ‣ How: Think web databases, forms, spreadsheets. ‣ FYI: A “Basecamp for editorial calendars” is inevitable. ( a social curation approach?)
  47. 47. Style Guide ‣ What: Editorial conventions documented. ‣ Potential: Detailed production guide for all content modules, intended for owners/authors. ‣ Why: Because your metadata strategy is nothing without execution. Governance is real here. ‣ FYI: Entirely unmerited bad rap. Not a “writers’ thing.” Think training!
  48. 48. Content Development Credit: Webbmedia Group ‣ What: Actual content production, limited time or ongoing. ‣ Why: If you do traditional editorial or branded content, you live here. ‣ FYI: Tread carefully. Content production is expensive, but it’s an easy mistake. (UGC might be cheap, but glut is glut.) ROI is tricky but key, requires an editorial strategy.
  49. 49. Content Strategy FYI ‣ CS, the Knol ‣ CS, the Google Group ‣ #contentstrategy on Twitter ‣ @jeffmacintyre and @PredicateLLC
  50. 50. Cui Bono?
  51. 51. The Big Idea: Ubiquitous Publishing Credit: Denis Pelli & Charles Bigelow,
  52. 52. Questions? Additional imagery courtesy Flickr Commons.
  53. 53. Appendix: The Payoff of Content Strategy
  54. 54. What’s In It for You? Content strategy is meaningful when... ‣ The potential of your deliverables is marred by poor execution, inconsistency & inaction ‣ New tools require process & org. change ‣ Measurement matters ‣ You need the big picture ‣ Governance & standards are incomplete ‣ It’s time to tune, not redesign
  55. 55. Where It Will Take You Instilling a new postlaunch pride: ‣ bolder measures of success ‣ enduring results for your clientele; lasting influence for your vision ‣ vanguard case studies