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www.flickr.com/photos/dandeluca/3083945050/
FLEXIBLE
CONTENT
future-ready
organizations
stc summit / atlanta / may 6, 2013
requires
sara wachter-boettcher
@sara_ann_marie
‘‘Every client, in my experience, has a
content problem.
Mark Boulton, Web Directions South 2012
Mobile is making the web (finally)
talk about it.
‘‘In traditional media, canvas dimensions are
a known constraint. With digital, however,
the canvas is an unknown...
We need to build on what we do know:
content.
Chris Armstrong, “The Infinite Grid”
But do we actually know our content?
That’s what content strategy is all about.
‘‘A repeatable system that governs the
management of content throughout the
entire lifecycle.
Rahel Bailie, Just Before Lunch
✦ Defines how content will support
both users and business
✦ Sets priorities, standards, and
benchmarks for success
✦ Creates a framework for decision-
making
✦ Establishes shared vision for content
across teams or departments
It might mean auditing your content.
Defining what you should sound like.
Message architecture example
from Margot Bloomstein
Or creating
systematic plans
for writing and
collecting it...
Page table example from
Relly Annett-Baker
and yet:
IT’S STILL SO
DANG HARD,
ISN’T IT?
Inaccessible.
Broken.
Missing.
Useless.
Even launching a responsive
homepage is hard.
‘‘
The Microsoft.com team built tools,
guidelines, and processes to help localize
everything from responsive images to
responsive content into approximately
100 different markets... They adapted
their CMS to allow Content Strategists to
program content on the site.
Nishant Kothary,
“The Story of the New Microsoft.com”
This is why mobile is such a problem.
we’re moving forward,
BUT OUR
CONTENT’S
STILL STUCK.
on the website”
“just stick it up
www.flickr.com/photos/wordridden/6125516150/
We create content like this.
CONTENT
GOES HERE.
So we can do this.
www.flickr.com/photos/76029035@N02/6829344565
CONTENT
GOES
HERE.
But we end up with this.
CONTENT
GOES
HERE.
it’ll only get
By Eva-Lotta Lamm
worse
We can’t make more content for every
new device and channel.
We have the tools to make content
do more.
NPR’s
Central
CMS
Storage API
Websites
Mobile Sites
Apps
Third Parties
COPE: Create Once,
Publish Everywhere
content like
water
www.flickr.com/photos/briangaid/2909765394/
Of course, content doesn’t just
magically flow.
It takes infrastructure.
Which starts with content.
Less like this.
And a little more like this.
how it all connects
then modeling
Data models have
been around
forever (well, a
few decades at
least).
From Web Database Applications with PHP & MySQL
by Hugh E. Williams and David Lane (O’Reilly, 2003)
what?
no
idea!
huh?
But it’s easy to forget that data is
also content.
www.melissaanddoug.com
be arbitrary
structure can’t
By Eva-Lotta Lamm
be human
it needs to
This means revisiting our content...
www.flickr.com/photos/darkfoxprime/4348506299/
patterns
and finding
www.flickr.com/photos/peroshenka/408997641
not just “pages”
Finding patterns gives you
content types.
...etc. etc. etc.
Event Listings
Shows
Blog Posts
Articles
Profiles
Bios
Help Modules
Press Releases
Directories
Recipes
Shows
Product Listings
News Briefs
Research Papers
Content types help you create a
content system.
Start with a
single type of
content, like a recipe.
What is it? What makes
it a recipe?
Then, how do our
different content types
fit together?
systems give
us options
By Eva-Lotta Lamm
‘‘Adaptive content automatically adjusts to
different environments and device
capabilities... [It] can be displayed in any
desired order, made to respond to specific
customer interactions, changed based on
location, and integrated with content from
other sources.
Ann Rockley
We can’t manually manage how
each bit of content looks.
But every bit of structure gives us
the option to make a rule.
If a recipe is in the app,
then include the ratings
before the ingredients.
Display the headline and
summary of the most recent
article in the travel category.
structure sets
content free
By Eva-Lotta Lamm
Getting there isn’t easy.
our content’s stuck
BECAUSE
WE ARE
STUCK.
it’s people,
not just tech
3CHALLENGES
FOR OUR
ORGANIZATIONS
mentality
1. mass-production
People keep creating content
the same way they always
have: big WYSIWYG blobs,
Word docs, and PDFs.
THE PROBLEM
WYSIWYG or
WYSIWTF?
THE REAL PROBLEM
Content-producing roles aren’t
tied to business goals and
vision—so those working in
them have no reason to change.
www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemunicipalarchives/2710933334
that’s not my job! i just
keep the production
line moving.
A BETTER WAY
Content strategy bridges the
gap between executive vision
and daily execution—not just
for a project, but over time.
teams
2. compartmentalized
The organization is divided
into departments that don’t
communicate—or, even worse,
are hostile to one another.
THE PROBLEM
protect the
fiefdom!
www.flickr.com/photos/domhill/7190797128/
Government is notorious for this.
This is duplicative and inefficient. Not
to mention confusing as hell.
Departments that are always
focused on themselves are not
thinking about their customers.
THE REAL PROBLEM
www.flickr.com/photos/red_devil/4728500604
the underpants
problem
‘‘Customers don't know—and don't care to
know—how government is organized. So
why make them go from agency [website]
to agency [website] to get the full picture of
what gov't has to offer on any subject?
Participant, National Dialogue on
Improving Government Websites
Transcend silos with cross-
department teams focused on
tackling a single issue. Empower
them to spread new ideas.
A BETTER WAY
www.flickr.com/photos/expertinfantry/5416964813
control
3. obsession with
Stakeholders don’t get digital—
they want to see everything
fixed in place, like print, before
approving it.
THE PROBLEM
terrifies them
user control
The organization isn’t built for
change—and suddenly, things
are changing fast. Rather than
adapt, it’s trying to stop the shift.
THE REAL PROBLEM
keep moving
but things
It’s not just dealing with mobile.
It’s becoming an organization
that’s adept at change.
A BETTER WAY
good news!
WE CAN DO
SOMETHING
ABOUT THIS
excited bunch
we’re an
LIFE magazine archives
It’s time we share that passion with the
whole organization.
3WAYS
TO WORK
DIFFERENTLY
Make mobile an entry
point, not the end point.
1
‘‘Use mobile as a wedge to create a better
experience for ALL users.
Karen McGrane
True for changing organizations, too.
break down doors
use mobile to
www.flickr.com/photos/justin-march/3720489344/
Don’t sell solutions.
Invest more deeply.
2
save the day
we don’t
You can’t be your organization’s
savior.
You can’t be your organization’s
mastermind.
teamwork
it’s hard, messy
www.flickr.com/photos/trondheim_byarkiv/4773880876
Do less.
Facilitate more.
3
After the breakpoints are established...
Or the API is launched...
The content still needs work.
to fish
teach ‘em
Find the people your work affects,
and incorporate them from the start.
know it all
we can’t
everyone along
but we can help
THANK YOU
Flickr images used via CC-Attribution license unless otherwise noted.
Illustrations used with the permission of Eva-Lotta Lamm.
Save 25% on Content Everywhere with
the code SWB:
rfld.me/content-everywhere
sarawb.com // @sara_ann_marie

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