Help! We (Think We) Need to Hire a Content Strategist

Managers beginning active searches for content specialists frequently have little understanding of what their companies need beyond a title, cautions Jennifer Bassett. Hiring managers at agencies, brands, and startups would do well to hire based on the type of work they want to focus on. And if they’re not sure what type of work that is, talking with a real live content strategist is an excellent place to start.

Resurrecting Dead Personas

You spent a lot of time and money putting a human face on your market research. You created a dream-user and pledged to design with this persona in mind. But something happened. Now, your user persona is dying a lingering death. Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek explains that user personas—those darlings of user-centered design—require care and feeding to remain vital, and valid.

Help One of Our Own: Carolyn Wood

Selfless editor and colleague Carolyn Wood has run into a medical emergency and needs the community’s help. Over the years, she has given us immense gifts without ever asking for anything in return. Let’s pull together and give back.

Aligning Content Work with Agile Processes

Times (and job titles, and platforms) have changed. Agile has the potential to liberate content strategists from obsolete ways of working, and developers and designers can help. Brendan Murray identifies four key areas—iteration, product, people, and communication—where designers and devs can find common ground with their content counterparts and usher them into to an agile world. The open and collaborative approach of modern agile development is a framework within which content work can refine itself, test, and learn.

Back to the Future in 2016

Practicing kickflips. Standing still. Drawing. Learning JavaScript (finally). Messing around with Arduino. Reading and writing books. Jumping into CSS Grid Layout. Sunbathing with cats. We asked some of our smartest friends in the web design and development communities what new focuses they planned to bring to their lives and work in 2016. Their answers fell into four categories—design, insight, tools, and work—but one idea cropped up over and over: sometimes you need to take a step back in order to move forward.

Write What You Know (Now)

We talk ourselves out of writing (or at least out of publishing) in all kinds of ways: It states the obvious. There’s no conclusion. No one will read it. Someone might read it! Well, so what? You never know how much that seemingly insignificant story of yours may be appreciated in the future—it could be one of a handful of search hits on an obscure issue; it could be a reminder of how you used to work 15 years ago; it could help people get to know you better; and best of all, it can definitely help you gain confidence in communicating. So give yourself permission to write what you know so far, because you’re the only one stopping you.

Reclaiming Social: Content Strategy for Social Media

When we talk about content, we mean all the content: words, pictures, videos, the whole shebang. And—surprise, surprise—that includes social media. Too often neglected or left to the mercy of Klout, social media accounts need the same care, strategic planning, and governance as the rest of your digital properties. Ida Aalen and Ida Jackson explain how content strategy is just the tool to dust off your accounts, regain control, and start producing better social media content today.

Writing to Think

It’s true, writing about your work can be tough. Putting your thoughts out there for everyone to see—and comment on—can be intimidating. But, as Susan Robertson shows, it’s a great way to clarify your thinking on tough problems, and can lead to new opportunities in the process.

Managing Your Content Management System

Because every site has unique needs, no two content management systems should ever be alike. When implementing and customizing a new CMS, writes Rory Douglas, give your users only as much freedom as they need—but not enough to mess things up. They’ll love you for it.

2015 Summer Reading Issue

The dog days are upon us—but instead of giving up in the summer swelter, take heart! We’ve got an extra-special reading list of bright, insightful brainfood. ALA’s third annual summer reader explores what’s been on the web industry’s mind lately, from accessibility to performance, from CSS techniques to web type, from mentorship to more collaborative approaches. It’s a list as cool and fancy as a watermelon-basil popsicle. Yeah, that does sound good, doesn’t it? Kick back, chill out, and get to reading.