A content strategy survey fit for a king

Portrait of King William I ('The Conqueror')

In 1085, nearly two decades on from famously wresting the English crown from Harold II, William I (‘the Conqueror’) began the greatest national audit ever undertaken in Europe.

Spurred on, it’s widely believed, by the threat of invasion from Denmark and Norway, William wanted to assess the potential amount of tax he could raise from his subjects and their assets. To do this he needed to establish how the value of the land and its assets had changed over time – before the Norman conquest [before 1066], what it was when he became king and as it was at the time of the survey. Several small groups of commissioners were appointed to question regional representatives from the thousands of settlements up and down the country on matters relating to the ownership of land and their amenities.

Such was its unprecedented scale, comprehensive nature and irreversible information, the English people would later refer to the survey as ‘Domesday’ (doomz-dey), after God’s final Day of Judgement, when every soul would be assessed and against which there could be no appeal. It also spawned a couple of nondescript books too, but they were just blatantly cashing in on its popularity by that point. Ahem.

A survey of (considerably) less biblical proportions

Whilst it’s true that I don’t share William’s worries of a Scandinavian party crossing the North Sea, nor can I call upon a faithful team of commissioners armed with parchment and ink, I too find myself enquiring about how a landscape, in this case the web content landscape, has changed over the years.

Bound by a shared desire to produce content that delivers results for the both the user and organisation, the discipline of content strategy shelters an incredibly diverse set of web professionals, each with their own talents, methods and tales of woe.

The kind of skills, training and experience required to craft influential content that accurately reflects an organisation’s key messages and values are very different from those needed to create structured content environments, or those needed to reveal patterns and relationships within content to help inform on the future direction of content efforts.

As I explained in an earlier post, I’m aiming to create a diagram that will attempt to map the different paths we have taken to reach the field of content strategy. So if you belong to this burgeoning collective of web content professionals then this survey (and I) would greatly benefit from your input. May it mark the start of your long-term participation in this fanciful experiment.

Setting the mood

Acutely aware that surveys aren’t all that much fun for anyone – you’ll be delighted to learn that this one does its utmost to bore through to previously untapped depths of hot air – I can at least try to provide you with the kind of peaceful and relaxed environment needed to complete this information gathering task. I implore you to dig out some earphones and pipe this wholly accidental masterpiece through them as you go. Trust me, it’ll help.

‘Still Alive’ from Portal, slowed down 800% by xihilisk.

And that’s it. If, for whatever reason or excuse, you can’t see the survey below, please @ me on Twitter or email me at hello {at} richardingram.co.uk and I’ll try to get back to you before you change your mind.


20 thoughts on “A content strategy survey fit for a king

  1. Melissa Breker

    I agree with the earlier comments regarding the music. I definitely relaxed and prepared to complete the survey.

    Nice one!


  2. Dave Beaudouin

    Thanks for taking this on, Richard:

    And good to meet you (too briefly) at Confab.


  3. Richard Ingram

    A huge thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to and comment on the survey this past month. Your answers were as delightfully varied and detailed as I hoped they’d be.

    The ball has just landed on my side of the court and I’ll attempt to swot it back very soon with some results that we can all take forward.

  4. Pingback: Content strategy survey results: part 1 | Richard Ingram | Shut the door on your way out, Cicero…

  5. Pingback: Content strategy survey results: part 2 | Richard Ingram | Shut the door on your way out, Cicero…

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