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What Do We Mean When We Talk About Content Strategy?

This presentation looks at the rising demand for content strategy through the experiences of the Ann Arbor-based digital agency Enlighten.

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What Do We Mean When We Talk About Content Strategy?

  1. 1. What do we mean when we talk about content strategy? Internet User Experience ‘10 – July 26, 2010 Ami Walsh
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  3. 3. Content strategy emerged as a field of practice fifteen years ago to help manage content creation, publication and governance for large websites.
  4. 4. “ Content strategy is brand new and we’ve been doing it for 15 years .” 27 …560…2350… * Refrain at Chicago Web Content 2010 conference.
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  7. 7. When building large websites, we planned for the design, creation and maintenance of content as part of our Define Phase. Different team members (strategists, IAs, writers, engineers, PMs) played the role of content strategist.
  8. 8. Advertising media and social media introduced new content planning complexities. The demand for content strategy explodes as more and more organizations transition from building simple marketing websites to more complex ones and online advertising takes off. Content increasingly seen as a “critical business asset.” The phrase “content is a critical business asset” is attributable to Halvorson.
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  10. 10. “ You may not have heard of them yet, but you will. They're called Content Strategists, and they're fast becoming the most in-demand advisers for Web sites and corporate customers looking for a way to evolve into content makers and curators.” -- Fast Company
  11. 11. Content strategy is evolving quickly to keep up with changes in technology. We must continue to do what we’ve done in the past and add services to address new challenges.
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  13. 13. There are many ways to organize a content strategy practice, from models focused on large marketing websites (Halvorson) to those targeted to publishing and editorial enterprises (MacIntyre), curation (Scime) and usability (McGrane).
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  17. 17. To determine your set of core services, ask two key questions: 1) Where is the greatest business opportunity? 2) Where is the greatest risk?
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  19. 19. 1. Strategic Brief: Necessary for validating all strategic inputs captured during discovery (either provided directly by clients or defined by your strategy team).
  20. 20. 2. Messaging Framework: Necessary for prioritizing brand attributes and creating a strategic messaging hierarchy.
  21. 21. 3. Existing Content Inventory & Audit: Most important activity for scoping. At minimum do a spot check and collect core sample.
  22. 22. 4. SEO Strategy: Most critical activity to improve low-cost lead generation.
  23. 23. 5. Campaign Integration Planning: Most important activity for building integrated digital campaigns. Increasingly important as the digital landscape gets more fragmented.
  24. 24. 6. High-Level Feature Set Definition: Most important activity for ensuring that the prioritized list of content features and functionality meet defined business objectives and user needs.
  25. 25. 7. Channel Content Mapping: New social media channels pose same content mapping challenges as a CMS. Need to apply same rigorous planning to new digital spaces.
  26. 26. 8. Master Calendar: Critical for managing the planning, sharing, monitoring and continuous creation of content in today’s publishing environment.
  27. 27. 9. Conversation Monitoring & Management: Necessary for continuously improving the value of content and ensuring it remains relevant to customer conversations.
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  29. 29. Content strategy is a multidisciplinary effort. Determine whether your organization has the need for one or more dedicated content strategists or whether different individuals will play the lead role on a project by project basis. These individuals oversee the core set of services on every project (even if they are not personally responsible for creating all of them), ensuring that the plans are integrated and clearly communicated to the project team.
  30. 30. We recommend that your core set of content strategy services happen on every project, even if only a checklist to validate answers to key questions (what, who, where, when, how, why). Your core set of content strategy services is not an exhaustive list but highlights what’s most consistently needed across all your project work. You will expand or contract what you and your team does on a project by project basis.
  31. 31. Illustration credit: A List Apart. Photo credit:
  32. 32. Establishing a content strategy practice will help you to consistently create more beautiful content and structures to house that content. Architect Peter Zumthor: Kunsthaus, Bregenz, Switzerland (left); Saint Benedict Chapel, Sumvitg, Switzerland (right)
  33. 33. Let’s Talk Ami Walsh :: Senior Content Strategist Enlighten :: 3027 Miller Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 Presentation on slideshare::