POINT OF view                                                  content                  content                           ...
POINT OF viewThe five key aspects                      CONTENT          TECHNOLOGY          PEOPLE           PROCESS      ...
POINT OF viewThis diagram presents our approach to the content lifecycle. It is closed-loop in nature. In mostsituations, ...
POINT OF view       CONCLUSION       Up until recent years, the value of content strategy has been marginalized, but marke...
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Content Strategy


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Getting the right content to the right user at the right time.

Point of View By Kevin P. Nichols, Director and Global Practice Lead for Content Strategy, SapientNitro

Published in: Business, Technology

Content Strategy

  1. 1. POINT OF view content content STRUCTURE MESSAGING CONTENT STRATEGY content PLANNINGContent StrategyBy Kevin P. Nichols, Director and Global Practice Lead for Content Strategy,SapientNitroDEFINITIONDepending on whom you ask, “content strategy” has different meanings. Some definitions focus oncontent structure; others focus on content messaging; while others focus on content planning. Whilethese definitions work, and certainly are valuable in their own right, each also lacks what we view ascritical components. To ensure that content strategy adds maximum business value, we at SapientNitroleverage a comprehensive, enterprise-wide and robust definition.We define content strategy as: getting the right content to the right user at the right time.Our approach focuses on surfacing relevant, rich, and effective content at the most opportune time toachieve an organization’s strategic goals. Content is the essence of the consumer experience for everytype of digital solution. When a business views content as something that is passively consumed, itmisses the opportunity to maximize its return on investment. But when a company positions contentas an active experience — the experience creating the customer journey — it becomes properlyrecognized as an asset that generates revenue, meaning, and relevance. And suddenly, businessleaders are more likely to respect content in a manner that it deserves. With our approach, contentis experience.THE VALUE OF CONTENT STRATEGYContent strategy, then, is all about leveraging content in strategic, measurable solutions to thrive in amulti-channel ecosystem. It provides a framework for successful content delivery. To do that, a contentstrategy must ensure that users can find and digest what they need when they want it. This happens byenabling the creation of content that is current, meaningful, consistent, and reusable across channels.In this context content strategy is comprised of both strategy and the tactical aspects to implement it.For consumers, content strategy delivers personalized and relevant content even as the digitalecosystem continues to evolve. Every consumer touch point must support the brand. To accomplishthis feat, the content strategy must deliver smart content that:• Is built with logic and intelligence to leverage the semantic web and enable a personalized user experience.• Considers the target. Whether content surfaces in a mobile device, social media site, website, widget, app, or internal company portal, content should be there for a strategic purpose.• Can be published and syndicated across systems and geographies. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2011
  2. 2. POINT OF viewThe five key aspects CONTENT TECHNOLOGY PEOPLE PROCESS GOVERNANCE1. Content is the experience that’s being conveyed. For effective messages, we must define the overall strategy, vision, and approach for surfacing content and provide branded editorial standards and best practices.2. Technology supports and delivers the types of content solutions we design.3. People are a critical part of the functioning content lifecycle. We need to clearly define the roles, responsibilities, and workflows that produce and manage content.4. Process is the system that creates, produces, and manages content.5. Governance oversees the other four areas. It helps create and maintain successful content strategy solutions overall.Isn’t content just text and images? No. Content is experience: both inactively and activelyconsumed. Content can be text, imagery, print, audio, video, social, and interactive applications.It is also the driving force behind these, meaning that metadata can also be content. It is anyinformation the consumer uses or encounters when interacting with the brand.A CONTENT STRATEGIST’S JOBContent strategists create meaningful, multi-channel user experiences by leveraging technology todevelop content solutions that anticipate and respond to user behavior. They work with the people who(i) invest in content, (ii) produce and maintain content, and (iii) consume and use content. They alsocreate the systems or applications that manage the content throughout the project, from the point ofdiscovery to rollout. In short, content strategists define the essential aspects of the content’s life andlifecycle. In this context, content strategy is enterprise in nature. STRATEGY - Determine content ownership - Create content recommendations - Define voice & tone and develop editorial guidelines - Prepare content DESIGN governance - Prepare staffing model recommendations - Develop taxonomy and ASSESSMENT nomenclature - Audit content - Design CMS customizations - Conduct stakeholder interviews - Develop content model - Analyze & validate content - Sketch an new workflows ecosystems - Prepare metadata strategy (sites, channels, social, partners) - Develop migration plan CONTENT - Develop content matrix and mapping LIFECYCLE - Determine editorial calendar CREATE MAINTAIN - Create assets - Advise client - Write copy deck - Plan for periodic auditing - Content into CMS - Use analytics to determine areas - Review for brand compliance & SEO of success and failure - Implement governance model - Adhere to editorial calendar & work flows IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2011
  3. 3. POINT OF viewThis diagram presents our approach to the content lifecycle. It is closed-loop in nature. In mostsituations, this is what the content lifecycle looks like: the acquisition, creation, development,maintenance, publication, and archiving of content.WHY IT’S CRUCIALIn the last year, a lot has been published about content strategy and information management.When we think about where the digital world is heading and the ever-increasing amount ofinformation available, brands must think strategically about what they do with their content.Brands that do this will rise to the top.To do this, brands must look at content as:1. A business asset. Understanding this fact and its implications is a strategic advantage.2. A living ecosystem. Active consideration of this perspective is critical to successful, responsible brand advocacy. Content is often nimble and can take on a life of its own. Customers can grow and evolve it as well.3. A measurement. Analytics and metrics are the powerhouses required to grow and curate intelligent content.4. A structure. Organization is key to scaling to new technologies and platforms, a trend that only becomes stronger in the digital and interactive worlds—especially when we look at the rate and amount of new technologies emerging.THE CONTENT STRATEGY BENEFITContent strategy impacts a business throughout its enterprise, all the way down to the bottomline. An effective content strategy does several key things:• Protects brand identity across channels;• Enables multi-channel content delivery and the ability to find that content;• Ensures consistency across consumer touch-points and brand experiences;• Optimizes content and the processes used to create and manage it;• Enhances and allows personalized user experiences; and,• Engages and grows its user base through the effective use of social media.But what do clients really want? Return on investment. A smart content strategy increasesrevenue by converting prospects into customers. It drives down business costs with real,measurable ROI, which is mainly achieved through:• Optimized content creation and maintenance processes;• Automated, integrated processes across channels and platforms;• Decreased content localization and translation costs;• Increased accuracy of targeted, meaningful content; and• Reduced litigation due to errors. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2011
  4. 4. POINT OF view CONCLUSION Up until recent years, the value of content strategy has been marginalized, but marketing and technology teams are starting to understand its benefit to consumers and the bottom line. Unfortunately, while many projects have a definitive content strategy component, it often doesn’t get utilized until well into the project, as unforeseen issues or risks surface. At SapientNitro, we continue to increase awareness of content strategy’s value. We work with each of our clients to design solutions that will maximize return on investment in one of their most important assets: their content. ABOUT THE Author Kevin P. Nichols is Director and Global Practice Lead for Content Strategy at SapientNitro. He has over seventeen years of experience. A Harvard graduate, he executed his capabilities in the Sabre Foundation before traveling to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he was Webmaster for Physicians for Human Rights. He went on to Sapient Corporation as a UX Lead for global brands on Web and CMS projects. Kevin played a key role in launching MIT’s OpenCourseWare project, and as a Senior Consultant at Molecular, he led UX teams for global brands. He went on to become an independent consultant at Kevin P Nichols’ consulting, before returning to Sapient as a Director of   Content Strategy. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2011