content strategy makes content
useful, usable, and findable
● who creates content?
● what is the message?
● who is the audience?
● why do they care?
● how often is it updated?
● when does it go away?
● where does it live?
● how do people find it?
● how do we know it’s
● what does it all mean??
● governance models
● style guides
● page tables
● editorial oversight
● training materials
● metadata oversight
● SEO guidelines
● editorial calendars
through stuff like
I’m a nut for content strategy.
2008 hired as an instruction and reference librarian
2010 became our first website product manager
2011 completed a massive content audit, created editorial standards
2012 deleted 200 pages off our main website
2013 implemented new roles, responsibilities, and workflows for content
hired a full-time, temporary content strategist
2014 deleted another 100 pages off our main site,
created a permanent content strategist position
2015 oversaw new standards for LibGuides, database descriptions, and more
2016 appointed head of Web Design & User Experience (6 FTE team)
I like to talk and write about it.
2012 Presented poster, “Is Your Content Useful, Usable, and Findable? Developing a
Content Strategy for an Academic Library Website” at ALA Annual
Presented “Too Many Cooks in the Web Kitchen? A Successful Case of Herding
Cats to Improve the User Experience” at edUi
2013 Wrote “Developing a Content Strategy for an Academic Library Website” in the
Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship.
2014 Presented “Content Strategy in Action: Taming a 5,000 page Frankensite” at
2015 Presented “Content Strategy for Library Websites” at Designing for Digital and
Florida Library Webinars
Presented “Content Strategy” at Library Journal’s Digital UX online conference
Co-Wrote “How We Hired a Content Strategist (And Why You Should Too)” in
the Journal of Web Librarianship
2016 Presented, “There’s No Time for That! Content Strategy for Naysayers” at edUi
2017 Wrote, Writing Effectively in Print and On the Web: A Practical Guide for
● what is your role and
● why did you pick this
● what project do you have
in mind for today’s
Your turn. Tell someone
next to you:
get familiar with tools
learn from one another
practice, practice, practice
goals of this workshop
part 1: auditing
part 2: analyzing
part 3: strategizing
part 4: sustaining
today we’ll build a toolkit
● interrupt me
● recognize bad content, but be
respectful to people involved
● Tweet (#d4d17 @blakistonr)
● do what’s most useful for you
● have fun
part 1: audit
By getting a handle on what we currently
have, we can better plan how to manage
content now and into the future.
● Direct users to scholarly resources, library
hours, services, and more
● Promote the library’s place on campus,
highlighting library services, collections, and
events while also supporting fundraising
● Positively influence students’ opinions of the
library and the quality of education they are
● Positively influence the opinion of donors and
write a core strategy
statement for your site
“The University of Arizona Libraries website is
reliable, easy to use, and accurate.
It exemplifies the principles of user-centered
design, and users consistently and readily find what
It advances our goals of discovery, information
access, and quality customer service.”
review current processes
how does content happen?
Who creates new web pages, and how?
Who updates web pages?
Who deletes web pages?
identify who does what
Who is most invested in your content?
Who might help you champion content strategy?
Who might be your biggest skeptic?
identify who cares
What training is provided?
What are the expectations?
Is there a system of accountability?
What workflows exist?
Is there documentation?
identify processes in place
How many web pages were created in the past year?
How many pages were archived or deleted?
How often are web pages usually updated?
How is this information tracked?
find out what the content
lifecycle looks like
it’s now time...
what you are
going to do?
are you going
define the scope of what you
want to tackle
third party tools (e.g. LibGuides, Illiad)?
in scope out of scope
● main library website
● mobile website
● library hours
● staff directory
● social media channels
● Special Collections
● University Press
outline any assumptions
about roles, decision-making, communication
Are you assuming that…
● there will be a content review process?
● you’ll be deleting content?
● permissions related to content will change?
recognize any risks
to stakeholders, users, resourcing, and timeline
Strategize on how to
define current roles and
tinyurl.com/d4dcontent > Analysis activity
discuss in small groups
what did you come up with?
what will be your biggest challenges?
create a clearly defined role
for people who will be
good content managers...
● understand the goals
of the content
● write with clarity
● focus on the user
● learn from critique
● enjoy new challenges
● stay aware of policies, procedures, standards,
● ensure all content meets standards and follow
standards for new content
● review all content regularly, no less than once
every six months
● keep content inventory up-to-date
● participate in monthly content manager
● attend required trainings
● respond to feedback or requests
content manager expectations
things to avoid
● passive voice
● long sentences
● too many nouns in a row
● walls of text
● ALL CAPS, underlines, italics
boring headings, passive voice, policy-driven
policy-driven, over-complicated walls text
things to shoot for
● active voice
● plain language
● inverted pyramid (key messages first)
● skimmable, parallel headings
● tables for related content
● bullets for lists of items
● numbered lists for instructions
● plenty of white space
● one space after punctuation, not two!
workflow for creating a page
1. provider talks to
2. content manager talks
to content strategist
3. content strategist
5. content strategist
4. provider and manager
review the page
workflow for deleting a page
1. content manager
determines page should
2. content manager talks
3. content manager removes or
updates all internal links
5. publisher deletes page
4. content manager sends
deletion request to publisher
workflow for updating content
1. content manager
2. if significant, content
manager notifies content
3. content strategist
4. content manager
shares updates at
create a style guide
● voice & tone
● proper use of
lists, links, and
I use the library website to find answers to customer’s
reference questions, find contact information for other
library staff, and answer questions via email and chat.
user stories reflecting the content manager
create a basic style guide
❏ never underline
❏ never use ALL CAPS
❏ use “we” instead of “The Library”
❏ use “you” instead of “patrons”
❏ lowercase “interlibrary loan”
❏ other little things that bug you
focus on stuff with
the biggest impact
primary tasks, primary audience
pick your battles