Contextual Content Strategy

Image by Daniel Eizans via Flickr

So I often get, just what is a Content Strategist?

Lots of people in the industry say things like this…

Content strategists shape editorial & system content planning from initial strategy and solutions to implementation and post-launch optimization. As a growing part of our UX department, content strategy is a linchpin to the large-scale sites we typically design. This isn’t about cookie cutter solutions. Content strategists are required to attack problems creatively across the lifecycle of the project.  (Got it from here)

Or sometimes they say stuff like this…

Content Strategists are capable of producing deliverables independently but work closely with the interaction design, visual design and technology team members to ensure alignment and to provide input. Shaping ideas based on user and business insights and being sensitive to both the brand and the client’s internal capabilities is a must.  (Got it from here)

I think its funny when they say stuff like this…

Senior-level content strategists are expected to grow relationships with clients, presenting their conclusions in a clear and concise manner. They love unraveling tough problems and inspiring clients to think about their content in fresh new ways.  (Got it from here again. Yeah, I know I’m lazy.)

So I know you are asking yourself. What does all this mean? Here’s my take on it. Content Strategists look over EVERYTHING that relates to the website and the content that goes in it. Yup, I said that word again, I said CONTENT, but I’ll come back to that.

Okay, okay we don’t usually get to worked up over code and such stuff.  We probably aren’t going to get into heated arguments over developing in Ruby on Rails over Seaside but we do care how the information on the site is organized. We care if a feature is cool but if it has no purpose that fits with the vision and strategy of the website then Houston we have a problem. Yup, I know engineers, coder’s everyone likes to see things their way. Our job as Content Strategists to make sure all the good stuff is on the site and all the stuff that doesn’t need to be there isn’t.  Is it easy? Nope. Is it fun? Sometimes. Do I love it? Absolutely!

Okay but what about the whole Content thing. I mean its a nice generic word but what do we mean by it? Sure It can be be words. Words, words, words, or in other words blah, blah, blah. Anyone can write words but who can write a novel? Who can write a good novel? Who can write a GREAT novel?  Ahhh! Thats the ticket.

The fact is that it can applies to all sorts of things. Things like video, like photographs, like poetry, widgets, web games, music and even more.  We look at tables, links, the voice of the writing, meta data, the information architecture, the UX and more.  We do it so it all makes sense and it fits the goals of the project. However good Content Strategists like us don’t stop there. We keep working to ensure that as new content comes up we can be confident that it will find a good home without problem.

Is this all we do? Nope. Is this all that Content Strategists do? Nope. Is it enough for you to sleep well tonight? Yup. Don’t worry. We’re here for you.