Content-tious Strategy

by Jeffrey MacIntyre

28 Reader Comments

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  1. As someone who started in this business 8 years ago with the title Content Strategist/Information Architect, I have only recently declared independence from IA with a desire to continue my career more exclusively as a Content Strategist.  One of the reasons I hesitated making the jump to CS only, was the fact that almost no employers understood the role or if they did, could separate it from being or under the purview of IA. 

    Today, I am a strong CS, not only due to my background in IA, but also due to other experiences including working in television production, writing, and working in marketing.  All have also had a major influence in the work I do in this area.

    I also have joined professional organizations related to UxD and IA searching for fellow compatriots in CS, but have yet to find or be able to connect with other CS person.  What do you say to a CS Meetup Group in the NYC area?

    Thanks for your great article – I don’t feel quite so alone…

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  2. @ Christi R.: Content strategy work is indeed about specific and often tactical deliverables, and I’ve considered formulating a follow-up piece to start talking brass tacks, identifying the things content strategists are frequently asked to produce. Regardless, I think you can find some indications at the knol: “http://knol.google.com/k/jeffrey-macintyre/content-strategy/”:url

    @ Lisa Trager: There’s movement afoot to help the content specialist community come together and I think a formal association is only a matter of time and proper planning. Check out the upcoming day-long symposium on content strategy at the March ‘09 IA Summit: “http://iasummit.org/2009/program/consortium/”:url . As to a group, there’ve been suggestions of everything from a Twitter hashtag to Facebook group and I think it only fair that a proper Darwinian winnowing of the options present itself. In other words, what’s the CS-appropriate communications vehicle of choice, and how can we use to best integrate our existing blogging, tweeting, whatever—so that we’re not just creating another silo and timesink, but instead opening a genuine keyhole onto this emerging community? The answer ain’t academic: it’s actually integral to what we do in devising effective, efficient online interactions. So something is in the cards and if you follow Brain Traffic’s blog (“http://braintraffic.typepad.com/”:url) I’m sure the news will be posted there.

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  3. After reading this article and the comments, I remain unconvinced that content strategists are more than editors by another name. The suggestion that editors will apply print models inappropriately assumes that this is the universal (or at least typical) background of an editor.

    I had been working in web publishing for more than six years before I realised that most of my work was editing — not just writing and copy editing content for spelling, grammar, house style and readability, but also identifying gaps and finding writers to fill them, organising user testing, tweaking navigation labels and structure, creating metadata and more. I then undertook a Graduate Diploma in Editing and Publishing and discovered that editors also liaise with printers, typographers, designers and marketing/sales staff and manage end-to-end projects.

    In Gerry McGovern’s 2002 Content critical, he identifies the job of managing editor who is:
    “… responsible for the timeliness and quality of the website’s content, and for the quality and efficiency of the editorial process.

    “They oversee the website’s overall editorial strategy and policies, approval policies, and content commission and acquisition processes. The managing editor also gives progress reports and analysis on the website to the organisation. … The two most important responsibilities of the managing editor are to motivate authors to create quality content, and to understand the readers’ needs…. Specific responsibilities of the managing editor include … managing content … managing the editorial process … managing the staff … championing the reader … championing the website … monitoring, reviewing and reporting.”

    Sounds like a ‘content strategist’ to me!

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  4. In devising a strategy we need to have a set of objectives (measurable) and goals (lofty) to attain. Then the content is data made up to be palatable to the audience in one fashion or another.  So what we have in a content strategist is a person who dresses up content that achieves a set of specific measurable objective en route to a goal.  I am marketer but I think about content all the time, so I think about the end user all the time and how my content needs to connect with them. Easy enough.  But where it gets difficult is in keeping it concise (traditional editorial is now too long), make it visible to search engines, and still convey reach for the objective (conversion).  All this and Content Strategy is not even part of my job description… Yet.

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  5. We work with two large sites each having 63Million+ pages and without some structure or content strategy things can get out of hand very quickly

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  6. …for your contribution in helping this emerging field gel in the minds of web professionals! Where I work, our team realizes more and more that no matter what your business goals may be, Content is King. Content is at the heart of the context, value and substance your users are seeking. If you are TRULY a user-centric web developer, then your content has to have the time, attention and expertise your users deserve. It’s just smart business.

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  7. Well, content is a King, but there are other important criterias to boots traffic

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  8. I believe that relevant content in a pre-completed design leads to a can of worms.  Therefore, I came up with an actual interesting dummy text generator for designers, developers, and writers to utilize.  http://www.sumlip.com

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