Beginner’s Guide to Content Strategy

I’m not sure I really agree with all of this, but there are some important points here that are very current in the industry …

If you or someone you know is getting ready to unleash content on the world, what guides the creation efforts?

At this point, visual design—design of the actual CMS itself—is irrelevant. Nobody should really discuss what the system will look like (expect, maybe, the visual thinkers in the room), but instead, the heart of the matter: what’s this all about? What content will this website deliver? Moreover, when will it deliver it?

And everyone wants to add their $0.02. It’s kind of like debating what content should be on the homepage. Which is another thing: what content should be on the homepage?

Egads. Content, you’ll find, is everywhere.

In this article, we’ll take a brief look at Content Strategy—that odd amalgamation of Web Savvy, Information Architecture and editorial process that adds up to something infinitely greater than the sum of its parts. You’ll learn when and where to apply strategy to your content endeavors and when you should simply raise your hand and start asking the important questions.

What is Content Strategy?

“Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content,” says Kristina Halvorson, author of the book Content Strategy for the Web.

“It plots an achievable roadmap for individuals and organizations to create and maintain content that audiences will actually care about. It provides specific, well-informed recommendations about how we’re going to get from where we are today (no content, or bad content, or too much content) to where we want to be (useful, usable content people will actually care about).”

Taking a step back, Louis Rosenfeld adds:

“If [Information Architecture] is the spatial side of information, I see content strategy as the temporal side of the same coin.” 

This abstraction is important: If Information Architecture helps us say “where” content lives, Content Strategy tells us decide “when” it lives. The combination, in due course, helps us as well as our clients understand “why” it’s there in the first place.

This quote from Louis carries extra significance because it’s based on actual experience. You see, Louis is the guy behind the UX publishing houseRosenfeld Media. His company makes real, honest-to-goodness books. You can hold them in your hand.

So if I had to guess, Louis knows quite a bit about Content Strategy—even though he might not identify someone well-versed in it—because Content Strategy is part and parcel to the publishing world.

DIGITAL PUBLISHING

The distance between print and the web, when it comes to a prudentpublication process, isn’t all that vast. In fact, if you think about all of the stuffrequired to publish books—authors, reviewers, technical editors, copy editors, publishers, graphic designers, distributors, etc.—you begin to see that their analogous roles on the web are just, by default, not designed into the process…at least, not when everyone and their mom can publish content.

Content Strategy is the way forward. It helps both clients and project teams understand what content is being produced, how it’s being produced, by whom, when, and why.”

Complete Beginner’s Guide to Content Strategy | UX Booth.

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