Breakdown the definition, word by word. Content= text, data, graphics, video, audio. Strategy= holistic plan for obtaining a specific goalCreation= what and why? Structure. Where will it come from? Who is responsible?Delivery= how will it get online, who will edit? What tools used?Governance= Who cares for it? What’s the plan for adding, archiving? Policies? Standards?
Involves content and people.
Mstoner after Confab: “Relieved” they were already doing content strategy. “And we didn’t call it “content strategy.” As a small team, we had to be pragmatic generalists rather than focused practitioners of a single element of content strategy.”
This is bigger than the web team. Involves senior leadership, IT, Comms, Academics, etcClearly linked with strategic plan
If you want more, here’s a good resource that links to many of the resources you’ve seen today
People with little or no experience creating official website content on your behalf.
If your boss has seen this and showed it to you, you probably need content strategy
Ian Alexander coined this term– find and forage
Everyone! “You probably need a content strategy”
WHY?? Why are you doing this? Why blog? Because everyone else is?Must connect user needs to business objectives. Can’t do that if you don’t know either of those.
We’ll talk first about context
Discuss this. Exercise to identify business objectives in higher ed. Who defines objectives? This is bigger than the web team. Involves senior leadership, IT, Comms, Academics, etcClearly linked with strategic plan
Modified later in process to reflect migration
Modified later in the process to include metadata for CMS migration
We have to get senior admins to understand why and what value it providesGovernance ensures it gets funded properly
We talked about the case for CS earlier
From a comment on Mark Greenfield’s blog post
Jeff Cram says “stop letting people use your CMS”CMSs are not one size fits allSometimes the best way to engage the community in content development is not to involve the webReference the possible ASC CMS model.
Requesters (These are the bosses who tell you to “get this up on the web”.)Providers (These are people closest to your product, service or audience who will likely run for the hills when you ask them to contribute website content!)Creators (This is anybody and everybody and rarely includes someone with professional communications training.)Reviewers/ approvers (These are usually the bosses who probably requested it in the first place. More likely than not, there is no reviewer at all. The untrained creator has total authority to do whatever she wants. It would be nice, however, if this function was served by a real editor with the authority to edit.)Publishers (These are the people with access to the CMS who are probably the creators, too. This is the one function that the organization usually provides some training and support for.)Community Managers (You likely have far more of these than you know.)
Piet Niederhausen- Content in Motion
You can think of your content much like Legos
Think about the granular parts of your content
Can happen with or without a CMS
It’s not just the pages
“Reveal, don’t repeat. Don’t blast key messages over and over. Instead, let content reveal and support different facets of the messages.” from Clout
We run the risk of creating too much content. It takes over if we never prune it. Creating more content isn’t the goal. Less can be more.
How do we go from a pile of Legos to a Volvo?
How do we do this? We can do it by carefully curating our content.
If you want people to believe you are great at something, you have to build the case by presenting evidence. A better strategy with better evidence presents a better case. It doesn’t happen by itself and can’t happen if you don’t have good content to curate.
A mixtape is thoughtful. Genius is an algorithm. Use caution in expecting your CMS to do this. Don’t overdo it with syndication or you could end up with a dynamic site of loosely related content that fails to tell your story.
Use your CMS to remove barriers, not to think for you.
Start with a master calendar: Holidays, Deadlines, EventsBuild the calendar to suit your needsConsider calendars by audience or content type
Start w/existing content. Identify gaps. Think story-building: if you learned this, now it makes sense for you need to know that.Helping depts. create editorial calendars pays great dividends (aligning the organization with messaging, giving them reminders for when to refresh content, helping to see connections and integration with social, etc.)
You have to plan for what you want to measure in your strategies and make sure you’re set-up to collect the right data.
How do you know if your strategies are working?
Triangulate your assesment. Usability testing alone is not enough.
Quantitative tells you what is happening, qualitative tells you why it’s happening. There’s a good chapter on this in the book Clout.
Usability vs. utilityUsability= the site is easy to useUtility= the site provides the information the user needs
Usability scenarios aren’t always real-world. You wouldn’t just pick the first camera and check-out.
What are people not finding?What are they searching for?
So you can create content your users want
Taking content strategy to the campus
Begin by aligning and educating people at all levels of the organization. Make sure people know your organization’s business objectives and audiences and how their objectives and audiences fit.Cover the overall brand and messaging strategy, content strategy and editorial strategy
Giving people a tool and no knowledge isn’t going to make your content better
You have been this for hundreds of years. Sometimes the best way to approach it if offline.
These can be more detailed for specific content types. Good idea to tie these to your wireframes so people can see them
Vague instructions: People don’t know what that means and they’ll just waste time trying to do that.Workshop: reformatting your garbage so it’s easier to scan
Content Strategy in Higher Education
Content Strategy<br />a field guide for higher education<br />J. Todd Bennett & Adam Forrand<br />
What we plan to cover today:<br />What is content strategy?<br />Why do you need it?<br />How do you do it?<br />
If you just spent $100k on a CMS and your website still stinks, you probably need content strategy<br />
If your CMS solved a technical problem, but created a human one, you probably need content strategy<br />
“You have dozens of users in CMS tool 101 training sessions with no idea why they are there, no familiarity with the publishing model and no incentive to learn how to keep their piece of content up to date which rarely needs to be updated anyway. This never ends well.”<br />Jeff Cram<br />
If you just spent $200k on a redesign and your website still stinks, you probably need content strategy.<br />
If you just spent $300k on a rebranding and your website still stinks, you probably need a content strategy.<br />Content College<br />Start here. Go far. <br />
If the inmates are running the asylum, you probably need a content strategy.<br />
Sound familiar?<br />This needs to go on the home page<br />We should be on YouTube<br />I need this brochure converted for the web<br />We need our new mission statement up<br />Let’s write a dozen articles next month<br />We need to launch a blog<br />Source: Halvorson<br />
Governance <br />A problem everywhere, but complicated in higher education by decentralization and academic freedom. <br />
“…senior administrators are disengaged from the web. <br />…And the lack of any formal operational model results in an inefficient use of resources and no real sense of the value and ROI the web provides. ”<br />Mark Greenfield<br />
Build the case for why the web matters<br /><ul><li>Use good data
Show efficiencies</li></ul>Help leadership understand what you’re doing and why so they’ll stop asking you to do stupid things. <br />Getting buy-in<br />
Hear more from Mark Greenfield on Highered Live:<br />http://higheredlive.com/2011-the-year-of-web-governance/<br />
“…why [is] the centralized-decentralized debate is so often presented as a dichotomy? Can’t our organizations respect both, in their appropriate roles?<br />…the concept of hierarchy … is sometimes confused with power inequality…centralization means power over others.”<br />- Jay Collier<br />
Role of the CMS<br />“If you don’t adapt technology to support your business process, your business process will adapt to your technology.”<br />Colleen Jones in Clout: the Art and Science of Influential Web Content<br />
Rethink roles<br /><ul><li>Requesters submit requests for web content
Do more with less</li></li></ul><li>Content Reuse: Cautions<br /><ul><li>Context reduces re-usability
Lack of context requires branding of the content itself
Decentralization requires consistency in structure and taxonomy</li></li></ul><li>Structured vs. Unstructured Content<br />
What is Structured Content?<br /><ul><li> A way of separating content from presentation
A way of creating & storing information based on a predefined set of rules
Content that can be parsed and formatted into just about any other structured (or unstructured) format</li></li></ul><li>What is the alternative? <br />Unstructured Content<br /><ul><li>Traditional HTML
Difficult to re-use content</li></li></ul><li>Content is the sum of its parts<br />
Use of Metadata<br />Information used to describe & categorize content<br />Album names<br />Artists<br />Song Titles<br />Album Artwork<br />Ratings<br />Last Played Date<br />Genre<br />Playlists<br />
Curation is a mix of both TIMELY and TIMELESS content<br />Erin Sceme, “Content Strategist as a Digital Curator”<br />http://www.alistapart.com/articles/content-strategist-as-digital-curator/<br />
Web analytics<br />Useful for measurement, but also for research<br />Do people do what they say they do?<br />Look for ways the behavioral data supports/refutes what you learned in other research<br />
Analytics can help you see…<br /><ul><li>Where users come from
The incidental publisher<br />incidental (adj):<br />1 : being likely to ensue as a chance or minor consequence<br />2 : occurring merely by chance or without intention or calculation<br />Merriam-Webster Dictionary<br />
How did they become publishers?<br /><ul><li>Without intention? They didn’t intend to become a publishers, did they?
Perhaps it happened by chance (low woman/man on the totem pole, newest employee in the department, they have an iPad).
And of course it’s a minor consequence (the last item on their job description calls this “other duties as assigned”).</li></li></ul><li>
How do you get the information out of the brains of people who know stuff and into the brains of people who can write web copy? <br />– Erin Kissane<br />
Use content templates <br /><ul><li> The page title
A short description of each chunk of content, including formats it can be in (paragraph, bulleted list, etc.)
Examples of each chunk of information, written by actual writers</li></li></ul><li>Developing Publishers<br /><ul><li>Teach them how to conduct simple audience research (i.e. talking to people).
Help them develop their own strategies that align with the institutional strategies.
Teach the role of measurement and build-in simple, understandable ways to measure the effectiveness of their sites.
Provide ongoing professional development. </li></li></ul><li>Developing Publishers<br />DON’T:<br /><ul><li>Use vague instructions like “keep your content fresh” and “promote interactivity”
Start and end your education with a “writing for the web” presentation or workshop</li></li></ul><li>Any questions?<br />
J. Todd Bennett<br />email@example.com<br />http://www.linkedin.com/in/jtoddbennett<br />@jtoddb on Twitter<br />Adam P. Forrand<br />firstname.lastname@example.org<br />http://www.linkedin.com/in/adamforrand<br />@4and on Twitter<br />