Monday, October 18, 2010

Important Traits for a Content Strategist

If you've never met a content strategist before, and you know very little about content strategy, how would you begin to hire some one to fill that roll?

This is an interesting question that a new post over on CMS Wire attempts to answer.

Their list:
  • Curiosity
  • Cross Communication Skills
  • Organizational Skills
  • Attention to Detail
  • Knowledge of Content Strategy Leaders
That's a pretty good list. In addition to cross communication skills I'd also add, an interest in basic Web technology. I'm not saying that you have to be a programmer, but if you don't have some idea of how all the parts work together, then spotting the specific content issues may be a problem.

Check out the whole article:
Five Traits to Look for When Hiring a Content Strategist

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Content Strategy Week At Johnny Holland Magazine

Johnny Holland Magazine is an open collective talking, sharing and finding answers about the interaction between people and products, systems or processes. This week they are all about content strategy and how content strategy solves problems.
Here are some content strategy articles that will drop during the week:

  • Monday: Problems with Owning and Organizing Content
  • Tuesday: Problems with Creating Consistent Content
  • Wednesday: Problems with Understanding Content
  • Thursday: Problems with Evaluating Content
  • Friday: Problems with Strategic Planning for Content
I'm looking forward to a lot of great conversation on top of the top-flight articles. Should be an interesting week!

Content Strategy Week At Johnny Holland Magazine

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Listening Should be a Huge Part of Your Content Strategy

All too often, Web consultants rush to drive clients to what's new or trendy without stopping to see what the market is really interested in.

Beyond, a new content consultancy in San Francisco is focusing on just that. They have methodology that focuses on listening to the customers first, figuring out what kinds of things they like to talk about, and THEN developing a content strategy that creates and delivers the desired kinds of conversations, where they like to have these conversations.

A Web site is not always the answer and neither is a blog or social media. Don't start with the delivery platform in mind. Find out what the market wants first.
"Next Fifteen Launches Beyond, A New Type of Digital Consultancy
According to Matt Iliffe, Creative director and founder of Type3, "The days of Web strategy are gone. It is now about creating a content strategy grounded in what people want to talk about and then making sure that that content is available anywhere, on any platform. In some cases that could be an owned property, but in other cases it might be a third-party community or media destination.

"Just because we are a digital consultancy doesn't mean we will recommend you spend thousands on building something. We all know if you build it, they don't always come," concluded Iliffe."
For more about Beyond go to

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Begin Web Design with Content Strategy

In his Lucid Plot blog, Jonathan Kahn makes some great points about content strategy and the Web design process.
"Embracing content strategy is about the web industry growing up. We’ve been happily distracting ourselves from the scary, messy reality of web strategy, governance, and content by focusing on tactics, features, and techniques. If we want to fix the broken user experiences that result, we need to make some difficult changes. If you’re up for that, you’ll prosper."
Check out the entire post.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Content Strategy Column in CMS Wire

As a content strategist, the people who implement and control your web content management system (WCMS) can be either your best friends or worst enemies. Anyone who had been through more than a few new site rollouts can attest to this. If the CMS is overly complex, hard to use, and buggy, it will make the content development phase of your project a nightmare.

So it's great news to see speaking directly to their audience about content strategy in a new, weekly column.

"Welcome to our new weekly column on Content Strategy. We will serve up a healthy dose of tips, tricks and tools related to content development, design, usability, search engine optimization and other content governance. This week we examine content for the sake of content and what makes it so darn important to the rest of what we do."

Take a look at what they are up to and help steer them in the right direction with good comments.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Atlanta Content Strategy Meetup - July Recap

Thanks to Kim Ware for sending this along.

Here's a bit of a recap for those who missed this month's Atlanta Content Strategy Meetup. July's meetup featured Joe Pulizzi, content marketing evangelist and founder of Junta42. Joe gave an inspiring, practical presentation on "Higher Purpose Content Marketing" that left us all with great ideas for improving the content in our blogs, websites, and even our tweets.

Colleen live-tweeted during Joe's presentation, so for a recap via Twitter, search #atlcs.

We also posted some photos on the ATLCS flickr photostream, so check those out as well.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Content Strategy for Blog Comments

A blog post from Newt Barrett got me thinking about the whole area of blog comments. Blogs are conversational by definition and design, so comments are an essential part of the formula. But all comments are not created equal. Let's face it, most comments are not even really comments, they are just lazy attempts at backlinking for SEO purposes. Your blog posts say a lot about who you are, and what you do. They establish your reputation. The same holds true for the comments you allow to be posted.

Comment Content Strategy for Blog Owners

If you own or administer a blog, I don't have to tell you about how much time it takes to keep up with comments. It's easy to want to just ignore the whole thing, but comments can really bring life to your posts.

To Moderate or Not to Moderate - Whenever possible, I think moderation is essential. This is pure content curation (buzzword bingo!). When I scan a posts comments and see comments that are completely out of context, and obviously pushing a link to another site, it lowers my opinion of the entire blog. So yes, moderate your posts. If you have so many comments that you just can't do it (a high quality problem for sure) think about outsourcing. And don't forget to let technology help you. There are some really good WordPress plugins that do a great job in dealing with obvious spam comments (see below).

Moderate Consistently - You can't play favorites. Many of us have had the pleasure of dealing with returning visitors who seem to disagree with everything we say. If they are just plain vulgar and offensive, sure reject them every time. But presenting a valid argument should always be welcome. It's up to you as to whether you want to respond with a comment of your own or just let it go. But an hot argument can make for great content!

Write a Comment Policy - Once your blog starts to get a regular stream of traffic, you really should write a comment policy, similar to your privacy policy. (Yes, I know I don't have one yet, I'm just as strapped for time and lazy as everyone else - It's in the works). Your comment policy sets down the rules and expectations for both sides of the conversation. It can also be used to encourage comments, it you remove NoFollow tags from links in comments, let your readers know and let them know what kinds of links are OK.

Here are two short and simple examples from The Blog Herald and Obama's -

Mashable has a great list of comment-related plugins. These are my favorites - Akismet, Comment Timeout, BlogFollow, DoFollow, and AuthorHighlight.

Comment Content Strategy for Blog Commenters

For those leaving comments, you need to think about what it is you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes you just want to make a comment, sometimes you want to make a comment as a way of introducing yourself to the blog owner, and sometimes you really do want a link back to your site. All of these are fine, just know up front what you are trying to do.

For any kind of comment creation, the main rule is this - add something to the conversation.

Even nice comments that don't really add anything will likely be deleted. "Wow, great post. Keep it up," adds nothing to my life or the life of my readers. But add just a little bit of context and relevance, and I'll have no problem - "Good ideas. I'll add those thoughts to my current content strategy job search."

If you are including a link back to your site, a little more effort may be needed in order to pass the sniff test. Remember, the blog admin has a ton of comments to go through, make it obvious that there is value in your comment and you make it more likely that your comment will be approved.

Comments are a great way to start an online relationship with a blogger. But don't expect to become BFFs after one comment. However a series of well-thought-out comments is a great way to introduce yourself and maybe eventually get your sit listed in their blog roll.

Comments are Content

So comments are important content elements, and deserving of a content strategy of their own. If you are working as a content strategist for a client, consider adding a comment policy to your list of deliverables if they have a blog.

Think about how comments fit into your larger content strategy, define or understand the rules, then speak your mind and encourage others.

Has anyone written a comment policy? I'd love to hear what you think.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July Content Strategy Meetup!

Join us for a brief presentation and lots of interactive discussion with Joe Pulizzi.

Please SVP Here

This month's meeting is on July 13th.


75 Fifth Street NW
Suite 335
Atlanta, GA 30308

How to find us
"3rd floor of Centergy building"

Joe is a leading author, speaker and strategist for content marketing. He is first and foremost a content marketing evangelist, and founded content marketing client-vendor matching site Junta42 as well as Junta42's how-to sister site, the Content Marketing Institute. Joe is also co-author of the highly praised book Get Content Get Customers (McGraw-Hill), recognized as THE handbook for content marketing.

Please SVP Here

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nonprofits Need Content Strategy Too!

Are you interested in redefining the good life in a way that’s in line with the needs of people and planet? Do you want to guide people to an emerging, positive future that prioritizes sharing, community self-sufficiency, and well-being? Do you want to build a movement? This nonprofit neeeds you content strategy skills

Content Strategy Tasks to include:
Your main responsibility will be to build a community to support the operation of the magazine. You will use open source practices to achieve your goals. The goal of the community is to bring sharing as a lifestyle into the mainstream and create a useful how-to resource for those interested in sharing.

Online Organizer (40%) -Develop strategies that increase engagement in cause & catalyze action -Develop a community to create and promote the magazine -Create content and distribution partnerships with key sites -Grow the magazine’s social media community, RSS feed, and e-mail list -Foster intelligent dialog on the site -Develop earned revenue model & establish new distribution channels

Editor (40%) -Develop content strategies that bring our point of view into the mainstream -Shape the site into a useful resource for those interested in sharing -Manage the day-to-day production of a provocative, high quality stream of content -Scan media for relevant stories to respond to or republish on Shareable -Assign, edit & develop important pieces -Manage editorial budget and all administration related to editorial functions -Optimize editorial based ongoing analysis of traffic -Engage key project stakeholders on editorial issues with project director

Writer (20%): -Write key thought pieces to round out the magazine’s point of view -Regularly contribute posts that track projects, current events & people in the movement

About the candidate:
-At least one year online community management experience
-At least two years professional experience as editor and writer
-At least a Bachelors degree in English, Journalism, or related field
-A demonstrated interest in our topic area
-An experienced blogger, social media user, and multimedia content producer
-Ability to prioritize and deliver on deadline
-Excellent attention to detail
-Demonstrated thought leadership
-Experience addressing a young adult audience
-Self-starter used to a startup environment

Reports to: Project Director

About the organization: CommonSource is a Tides Center project that promotes sharing as empowering lifestyle & high impact social change strategy. Shareable Magazine is CommonSource’s first program. Learn more about the magazine at

Compensation Competitive nonprofit salary & full benefits

Follow These Instructions To Apply: Please send an e-mail to with the following: -APPLICANT: COMMUNITY & CONTENT STRATEGIST in the subject line
-A brief cover letter in the body of the e-mail no more than three paragraphs long
-E-mail should be more than one page when printed out
-Below your signature include the following:
-one link to an online resume
-Up to three links to sample articles most like those on
-And one sentence about salary requirements

CommonSource, a project of Tides Center, is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage and seek applications from women, people of color, including bilingual and bicultural individuals, as well as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Applicants shall not be discriminated against because of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, medical condition (cancer-related) or conditions Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and AIDS-related conditions (ARC). Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.

Compensation: Competitive nonprofit salary & full benefits
Telecommuting is ok.
This is at a non-profit organization.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Great Content Strategy Job in San Francisco

Awasu Design in San Francisco is looking for a talented Content Strategist to help round out their service offerings. They are a top-flight, user-centered consultancy with a strong reputation, good clients, and a great work atmosphere.

They currently advertise these offerings:
  • Information Architecture
  • Interaction Design
  • Visual Design
  • Usability
See anything missing from that list? Help them add Content Strategy and content development to that list of capabilities.

Great job, great clients, great city... seems worth checking out.

Here's more information about the Content Strategist job listing

Monday, April 19, 2010

An Interesting Content Manifesto

A tweet from @avantgame (Jane McGonigal - game designer, PhD. researcher, futurist) really struck a chord with me about Web content. With a few small tweaks it makes a good manifesto.

Here is her original tweet:
"Looking at an email query, I realized tonight: I don't make games ABOUT things. I make games IN ORDER TO do things. To achieve goals."
Content Manifesto: Don't create content ABOUT something. Create content IN ORDER TO DO something. To achieve goals. All content should be in service of a goal. If not, cut it.

For some projects this might even be a good field to capture in the content matrix - Page Goal. What are you trying to accomplish with the content on this page? Write it down and get agreement.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Agency Survey Regarding Content Strategy - Good News!

A few weeks ago, Eat Media (a top content-focused Web agency) sent out a survey to Web agencies and design shops. They wanted to get a feel for what they know and how they feel about the whole "content strategy" thing.

Well the results are in and there is a lot of good news there for content strategists. Here are a few nuggets:
  • 82% selected content strategy as a current need, followed by ongoing content development at 65%
  • 29% have content strategists/content developers on staff. 35% use a mix of freelance/contract and in-house talent. 31% use a third-party vendor or contract strategists.

So the work is out there! Check out the link for all the details.

Complete 2010 Content Strategy Survey Results

Friday, April 2, 2010

Content Strategy in the News - April 2, 2010

Atlanta Content Strategy Meetup Next Wed. April 7

Don't miss next week's content strategy meetup—"Content Analysis: From Inventory to Insight" Wednesday, April 7 at Roundbox Global.

Understanding your content needs is the critical first step in your content strategy. Sure, it begins with a content inventory in a big spreadsheet. But that's not where it should end. How do you dig deeper? How deep should you dig? What insights might you discover? Using plenty of practical examples, Colleen Jones will reveal the important elements of content strategy and content analysis.

About the Presenter:

Colleen is the Principal of Content Science, a boutique content strategy consultancy. As an enthusiastic pioneer in user experience, Colleen has guided strategic initiatives for large brands such as InterContinental Hotels Group, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and Cingular Wireless (now AT&T). She also participated in the landmark Content Strategy Consortium at IA Summit 2009. Jones is Chair of CHI*Atlanta, organizer of Atlanta Content Strategy, and a notable author.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

SXSW 2010 and Content Strategy

Once again, I'm off this week to Austin, TX for the South by Southwest Interactive Festival. It's my favorite conference of the year and there is always a surprise or three.

For the first time, content strategy is being featured in a large number of presentations, so that's got to be good news. I'm going to attend as many as I can and hopefully I'll have a recap here afterwards. So if you are going to be at SXSW this year, keep an eye out for me and say hello if we pass in the halls :)

I'll also be at the first Austin Content Strategy Meetup on Sunday March 14th @ Lustre Pearl at 7 p.m.
Stop by, have a beer, meet some cool people, and talk content strategy - hey, all the cool kids are doing it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Content Strategy IS the Next Big Thing

Great blog post from Kristina Halvorson that tracks Google searches for "social media" against searches for "content strategy." Exciting and well-documented conclusions that content strategy is indeed the next big thing.
"That said, web projects are a terrific place to see content strategy in action. At the project level, we see almost immediately how content strategy’s tools and methods can literally transform how we consider and care for our content, how they can streamline processes and conserve resources. We can quickly measure our customers’ reactions to finally getting useful, usable, engaging, actionable content." - Halvorson

Adding content strategy to your process as a Web publisher is hard, messy, and time intensive. BUT it may also be the last big win in terms of increasing your site's effectiveness. Lord knows that we have tweaked the heck out of everything else. Dealing with your content issues is just about the only thing left to tackle.

Check out the post! (Be sure to read the comments, good stuff there too)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Take the Survey!

Just finished taking the A List Apart survey for people who make websites. Help A List Apart form a picture of the ways web design is practiced around the globe. They hope that making this data available will have a positive effect on best practices and employment, and will enhance public understanding of, and respect for, our profession.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Re-edited Version of the E-book Now Available

It took a little longer than I thought (thanks to MS Word issues) but the re-edited version of the e-book is now up on the download page.

There is no new content in this version, just a few changes thanks to a great (and third) copy edit. Fixed some typos and a few formatting errors.

The new PDF is on the original download page, if you can't find the email with the URL, use the email link in my profile here to send me a note with your name and I'll get back to you.

Thanks to everyone who helped!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Atlanta Content Strategy Meetup this Thursday, Jan 21

Don't miss this Thursday's meetup—"Content Strategy: What's In It for You?" at 6:30 PM at Ignition Alley.

Meetup RSVP Here

Drawing cues from this year's heightened focus on content strategy, Margot Bloomstein will address how content strategy differs from just copywriting and how you can incorporate insights from this aspect of interaction design into your next project. Discover how the questions a content strategist brings to the table can enrich your deliverables, learn how your collaboration can benefit your end users, and discuss ways to reframe the RFP to upsell content strategy in your next pitch and bring a new partner into the project.

If you're a designer, IA, search engine marketer, or any type of social media or web strategy consultant, learn how insight to content strategy can rock your work from a new angle.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Available Again on Amazon

The Web Content Strategist's Bible was unavailable for a few days while I was having it re-edited to get rid of a few typos and formatting issues. But everything has been taken care of and it is back up and available for purchase.

Gotta love the speed of electronic publishing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Web Content Strategist's Bible - Update

Well it's a new year and a good time for housekeeping. The biggest problem in writing a book for writers and editors is that no typo or error goes unnoticed. Thanks to all of you who took the time to write me about errors and formatting issues! I'm not being sarcastic, really thank you, I would hate for anything to detract from the message of the book.

But the best way to thank you guys is to take the time to actually fix the problems. So I sent the book out to a super copy editor (if you need a copy editor, let me know and I'll put you in touch) and cleaned up everything we could find.

I'm in the process of reviewing blue lines and proofs so the book will not be available on Amazon for a few days while I work through this process. Ah the joys of being a publisher :)

The corrected online PDF version will go live in a day or two. I'll post here when the files are changed.

Thanks for your patience, the printed book will be available again in just a few days.

Monday, January 4, 2010

STC Summit 2010 to Feature a Content Strategy Progression

The 2010 STC Summit will have a number of content strategy components. Rahel Bailie has posted a nice summary of the Content Strategy progression that lists the sessions and presenters .

As a metadata geek, I'm particularly interested in Rachel Lovinger's session on The Role of Metadata in Content Strategy.