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.

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