Content Strategists

May 16, 2010 at 10:21 pm 3 comments

Why does business writing have such a bad reputation? Not just the policy or procedural stuff either, even the new-age marketing blurbs are stale. The words you see on every second business website like “cost-effective end-to-end solutions” or “value-added services” tell you next to nothing, and what businesses need to remember is that for the trigger-happy internet consumer, the click of a mouse button is all it takes to leave.

To stand out as a business nowadays, especially on the internet, you must be different. And the best way to do that is to be yourself, or at least be as human as possible. Social networking has changed the way people “take in” what they read on the internet by almost allowing them to picture the people entering the content. Websites that are impersonal no longer engage the audience.

This is part of the reason we have seen the emergence of the “Content Strategist”. It’s not the easiest job role to define, but to put it simply it is the planning of content creation, delivery and its governance, which is no longer part of a web-designers role (if it ever was). The notion of content management has been around for a long time; creating, editing, approving, publishing and removing content. Content strategy however, as the name implies, takes a strategic view of this content and examines how the goals of the organisation are served by the content it produces.

The knowledge of how to manipulate search engines is crucial for a content strategist. On the very surface it’s as simple as knowing the words a potential customer would type into a search engine, and placing them on your website (or in a tagline), but it goes much further than that. You can make the most of Google advertisements on these searches, or have your website improve its search “rank” just by having links in the right places.

My initial reaction to finding out about Content Strategists was of relief. Someone had finally blended the technical writers with the marketing team, divisions that never seemed to previously coordinate with each other. Nowadays businesses are challenged to serve up content in increasingly innovative ways, and it is those whose focus has shifted from visually appealing graphics and words to how the content is actually delivered who are really prospering.

Part of the content delivery solution is the way that content is structured. For more information on this see the following links:

Information Mapping

–      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_mapping

–      http://www.infomap.com/

Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)

–      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_Information_Typing_Architecture

–      http://dita.xml.org/

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. china  |  June 4, 2010 at 5:41 am

    And the best way to do that is to be yourself, or at least be as human as possible.

    This is a great point and strikes me as very true. Given that, I find it a little ironic that I can’t see any indication of who is writing it. 🙂

    Even though identifying information has no effect on the information itself, the post feels less personal as content “produced by an organisation” than it would be if the author had a name. Human nature, I suppose?

    Anyway, good post. 🙂

    Reply
    • 2. James  |  July 21, 2010 at 9:05 pm

      It was meeeee! 😀

      Reply
  • 3. tacticsinnz  |  June 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Thank you, china, for your feedback. You make a valid point here. It is certainly something that the authors will take on board for future posts.

    Thanks for reading our blog.

    Reply

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