Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Attract Customers with Content

Here is a link to an interesting white paper on how to attract and retain customers with content. With a focus on valuable, relevant, solutions-oriented content this strategy will not only be important to customers, but will also be the kind of content that Google naturally loves.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What You Need is Called a Web Content Strategist

I see this kind of thing all the time in job postings for Web content professionals by agencies who still don't get the whole Content Strategy thing -

Seeking a Website Editor/Content Editor/Content Producer/Consultant

Here is some of the job description and requirements listing:

"This leading integrated agency is looking to take on a Website editor to work with one of their prestigious clients. You will be involved in managing the content strategy, structure and style of the project. You will be ensuring all content meets and upholds the tone for the site, developing and approving the site content and liaising with external 3rd parties. You must have at least 5 years relevant experience ideally within an agency environment, be a great team player and have the ability to edit and format a vast amount of content across a variety of formats."

It’s cool when agencies start to realize that what they need is someone who can not only write and edit content, but can also plan the content effort and consult with the client. But it’s a little frustrating to see even agency people struggle with how to describe the position. This is pretty much a dead-center Content Strategy gig and what they need is a Web Content Strategist.

OK, rant over, we will get there eventually. Everything takes time so I’ll keep plugging away. It did sound like a good job though and the pay was decent at $US 84,000.

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Content Strategy" vs. "content strategy"

I have a Google Alert RSS feed that sends me mentions of the phrase "content strategy" in the news and on blogs, etc. Just noticing that I see the term used in two, very different ways.

I see the term content strategy (no caps) used very loosely to mean the kinds of content that is being created for the reader/user/viewer. A TV station might refer to their content strategy as planning on showing more locally produced projects. Or a Web site creator might say that they have a content strategy that calls for mostly user-created content. This is a perfectly valid use of the term, but really not what I'm talking about in the context of this blog or my Web Content Strategy book.

Content Strategy (with caps) is usually used to describe the broader, professional practice of CS including:

  • Client consulting
  • Content reuse planning
  • Content development project plans
    Editorial Standards
  • Identifying and training content authors
    Assigning and reviewing submitted content
  • Technical planning for content delivery
    CMS issues
  • Content Governance
  • Editorial calendar
  • Content maintenance and archival plans

In my mind it's very similar to how I see "site architecture" vs. "information architecture." Site architecture is usually used to refer to the navigational structure of a Web site, the site's structural hierarchy. Whereas Information Architecture refers to the professional practice of IA including all the consulting, inventory creation, wireframe development, prototyping, and usability/user experience work that they do.

At one time, these two terms were used somewhat interchangeably, but as IA gained recognition as a broader practice, there has been more distinction between the terms. Content Strategy is not quite there yet, but as more rigor and discipline go into content planning and development (in response to late projects due to late content) progress will be made.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Great Content Strategy Slide Show

Kristina Halvorson, who runs the web content strategy consultancy Brain Traffic, developed a great slide show that fits perfectly with my ideas about why content strategy is important, and how it fits into the overall development process.

Take a look!

Content Strategy
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: content webwriting)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Study Shows U.S. Corporations Increasing the Use of a Social Media Content Strategy

Social Media in the Inc. 500: The First Longitudinal Study
Conducted By: Eric Mattson, Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research recently conducted one of the first statistically significant, longitudinal studies on the usage of social media in corporations as a major part of their online content strategy.

The new study compares corporate adoption of social media between 2007 and 2008 by the Inc. 500, a list of the fastest-growing private U.S. companies compiled annually by Inc. Magazine.

The study shows that these fast growing corporations are using social media, such as blogs, at and increasing rate.

See all the details here:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Content as "Compound Interest" is a Great Content Strategy

Lyndon Antcliff at is one of the few SEO guys that really "gets" content. Not the idea of tuning content to rank highly for a specific set of predefined keywords, that's old school SEO. New school is creating a content strategy that uses content like compound interest, it gains value over time because people are getting better and better at using Google.

Search engine watchers are reporting that people are using more two, three, and even four or five keyword phrases when they search. The idea that a smart SEO guy can think of all of these phrases ahead of time is getting more ludicrous by the day.

The long tail is finally hitting the search engine world and the only real SEO solution is what Google has wanted all along - just write a lot of great, original content. The more great content you have, the better the chances are that some of it will be relevant and rank highly for these new, longer, more detailed Google keyword searches.