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Topic: Content Strategy

  • Your Content, Now Mobile

    by Karen McGrane · Issue 364 ·

    Making your content mobile-ready isn’t easy, but if you take the time now to examine your content and structure it for maximum flexibility and reuse, you’ll have stripped away all the bad, irrelevant bits, and be better prepared the next time a new gadget rolls around. This excerpt from Karen McGrane’s new book, Content Strategy for Mobile, will help you get started.

  • Being Real Builds Trust

    by Steph Hay · Issue 359 ·

    Tons of products and services are the best, easiest, simplest, smartest things ever. They also all increase profits, decrease costs, and save you time. And as a result, they all sound the same. These kinds of qualifiers overrun our content because we’re constantly looking around at what everyone else is doing, rather than being honest about who we are. But trust inspires confidence, and it’s confidence that compels decision-making. Steph Hay shows us how to win customers by being real with our content.

  • Content Modelling: A Master Skill

    by Rachel Lovinger · Issue 349 ·

    The content model is one of the most important content strategy tools at your disposal. It allows you to represent content in a way that translates the intention, stakeholder needs, and functional requirements from the user experience design into something that can be built by developers implementing a CMS. A good content model helps ensure that your content vision will become a reality. Lovinger explains how to craft a strong content model and use it to foster communication and align efforts between the UX design, editorial, and technical team members on your project.

  • Tinker, Tailor, Content Strategist

    by Rachel Lovinger · Issue 349 ·

    What does content strategy mastery look like? As in any field, it comes down to having master skills and knowing when to apply them. While there are different styles of content strategy (from an editorial and messaging focus to a technical and structural focus), the master content strategist must work with content from all angles: messaging architecture and messaging platforms; content missions and content management. Above all, she must advocate for multiple constituents, including end users, business users, stakeholders, and the content vision itself. Rachel Lovinger shares the skills that go into achieving CS mastery.

  • Future-Ready Content

    by Sara Wachter-Boettcher · Issue 345 ·

    The future is flexible, and we're bending with it. From responsive web design to futurefriend.ly thinking, we're moving quickly toward a web that's more fluid, less fixed, and more easily accessed on a multitude of devices. As we embrace this shift, we need to relinquish control of our content as well, setting it free from the boundaries of a traditional web page to flow as needed through varied displays and contexts. Most conversations about structured content dive headfirst into the technical bits: XML, DITA, microdata, RDF. But structure isn't just about metadata and markup; it's what that metadata and markup mean. Sara Wachter-Boettcher shares a framework for making smart decisions about our content's structure.

  • Audiences, Outcomes, and Determining User Needs

    by Corey Vilhauer · Issue 345 ·

    Every website needs an audience. And every audience needs a goal. Advocating for end-user needs is the very foundation of the user experience disciplines. We make websites for real people. Those real people are able to do real things. But how do we get to really know our audience and find out what these mystery users really want from our sites and applications? Learn to ensure that every piece of content on your site relates back to a specific, desired outcome , one that achieves business goals by serving the end user. Corey Vilhauer explains the threads that bind UX research to content strategy and project deliverables that deliver.

  • Fire Drills: Communications Strategy in a Crisis

    by Mandy Brown · Issue 336 ·

    Every site or service will fail eventually. An emergency communications strategy can get you through the crisis faster and reassure your users while you're putting out the fire. Learn to imagine, prioritize, and prepare for everything that can go wrong, assign roles in advance to get you through the crisis, and communicate effectively with your customers throughout the experience.

  • Web Governance: Becoming an Agent of Change

    by Jonathan Kahn · Issue 332 ·

    Shipping is easy, making real change is hard. To do meaningful web work, we need to educate clients on how their websites influence their business and the legal, regulatory, brand, and financial risks they face without strong web governance. Learn why web governance is important to us as web professionals and how to influence your clients to think carefully about how to align their websites to their business strategy.

  • Orbital Content

    by Cameron Koczon · Issue 326 ·

    Bookmarklet apps like Instapaper and Readability point to a future where content is no longer stuck in websites, but floats in orbit around users. And we’re halfway there. Content shifting lets a user take content from one context (e.g. your website) to another (e.g. Instapaper). Before content can be shifted, it must be correctly identified, uprooted from its source, and tied to a user. But content shifting, as powerful as it is, is only the beginning. Discover what’s possible when content is liberated.

  • A Checklist for Content Work

    by Erin Kissane · Issue 325 ·

    There’s really only one central principle of good content: it should be appropriate for your business, for your users, and for its context. Appropriate in its method of delivery, in its style and structure, and above all in its substance. As Erin Kissane explains, content strategy is the practice of determining what each of those things means for your project, and how to get there from where you are now. We are delighted to present an excerpt from Erin's new book, (and the third title from A Book Apart), The Elements of Content Strategy.

  • Testing Content

    by Angela Colter · Issue 320 ·

    Whether the purpose of your site is to convince people to do something, to buy something, or simply to inform, testing only whether they can find information or complete transactions is a missed opportunity: Is the content appropriate for the audience? Can they read and understand what you’ve written? Angela Colter shows how to predict whether your content will work (without users) and test whether it does work (with users). While you can't test every sentence on your site, you don’t need to. Focus on tasks that are critical to your users and your business. Learn how to test the content to find out if and where your site falls short.

  • Strategic Content Management

    by Jonathan Kahn · Issue 313 ·

    Any web project more complex than a blog requires custom CMS design work. It’s tempting to use familiar tools and try to shoehorn content in—but we can’t select the appropriate tool until we’ve figured out the project’s specific needs. So what should a CMS give us, apart from a bunch of features? How can we choose and customize a CMS to fit a project’s needs? How can content strategy help us understand what those needs really are? And what happens a day, a week, or a year after we’ve installed and customized the CMS?

  • Infrequently Asked Questions of FAQs

    by R. Stephen Gracey · Issue 303 ·

    We take FAQs for granted as part of our sites’ content, but do they really work, or are they a band-aid for poor content? FAQ-hater R. Stephen Gracey explores the history and usability of FAQs. Learn how to collect, track, and analyze real user questions, sales inquiries, and support requests, and use the insights gained thereby to improve your site's content, not just to write a FAQ. Find out when FAQs are an appropriate part of your content strategy, and discover how to ensure that your FAQ is doing all it should to help your customers.

  • Words that Zing

    by Colleen Jones · Issue 300 ·

    When someone consults a website, there is a precious opportunity not only to provide useful information but also to influence their decision. To make the most of this opportune moment, we must ensure that the site says or does precisely the right thing at precisely the right time. Understanding the rhetorical concept of kairos can help us craft a context for the opportune moment and hit the mark with appropriately zingy text.

  • The Content Strategist as Digital Curator

    by Erin Scime · Issue 297 ·

    As the digital landscape becomes increasingly complex, and as businesses become ever more comfortable using the web to bring their product and audience closer, the techniques and principles of museum curatorship can inform how we create online experiences—particularly when we approach content. Erin Scime shows us how.

  • Beyond Goals: Site Search Analytics from the Bottom Up

    by Lou Rosenfeld · Issue 292 ·

    Top-down analytics are great for creating measurable goals you can use to benchmark and evaluate the performance of your content and designs. But bottom-up analysis teaches you something new and unexpected about your customers, something goal-driven analysis can't show you. Discover the kinds of information users want, and identify your site's most urgent mistakes.

  • Internal Site Search Analysis: Simple, Effective, Life Altering!

    by Avinash Kaushik · Issue 292 ·

    Your search and clickstream data is missing a key ingredient: customer intent. You have all the clicks, the pages people viewed, and where they bailed, but not why they came to the site. Your internal site-search data contains that missing ingredient: intent. Learn five ways to analyze your internal site-search data, data that's easy to get, to understand, and to act on.

  • Testing Search for Relevancy and Precision

    by John Ferrara · Issue 292 ·

    Despite the fact that site search often receives the most traffic, it’s also the place where the user experience designer bears the least influence. Few tools exist to appraise the quality of the search experience, much less strategize ways to improve it. But relevancy testing and precision testing offer hope. These are two tools you can use to analyze and improve the search user experience.

  • The Case for Content Strategy—Motown Style

    by Margot Bloomstein · Issue 290 ·

    Over the past year, the content strategy chatter has been building. Jeffrey MacIntyre gave us its raison d'être. Kristina Halvorson wrote the call to arms. Panels at SXSW, presentations at An Event Apart, and regional meetups continue to build the drum roll. But how do you start humming the content strategy tune to your own team and to your prospective clients? Listen up and heed Aretha Franklin. No, really.

  • Content Templates to the Rescue

    by Erin Kissane · Issue 287 ·

    As an industry, we’ve learned to plan our sites to achieve business goals and meet human needs while shipping on time and delivering compelling user experiences. Alas, despite all the sweat we pour into strategy sessions and GANTT charts, we still have to coax content out of our subject matter experts and get it onto every page of the site. This is where the strongest hearts grow frail, and even seasoned developers reach for Advil or something stronger. But help, in the form of content templates, is on the way. Seize the power.

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