Content strategy’s well-trodden paths

Back in the spring, when I first sowed the seeds of this open project, I had no idea how things would play out. I really shouldn’t have been so worried.

Let me begin by extending a huge and sincere thanks to everyone who played their part in this, particularly those who responded to the survey, encouraged others to do so, and remained patient as I worked out what to do with the results, and to the attendees of CS Forum 2011 who offered such kind words following my sole destroying (you had to be there) attempt to squeeze the last six months into 20 minutes. I can’t deny it’s been fun.

Though the finished diagram is by no means perfect, I can say with a measure of confidence that not only are these the six commonest paths today’s practising content strategists have taken to reach the discipline, but that they demonstrate the extent of our varied skills and approaches. It only serves to emphasise how much we need to continue sharing a little of what we’ve picked up along the way.

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Content strategy survey results: part 5

Despite failing to dangle a carrot of any real significance, a fair number of you kindly responded to my survey of web content professionals earlier this year. I’ve since prodded the resulting spreadsheet a number of times with a stick to see what moved, before detailing my findings in a series of posts. So far, I’ve revealed who and where we all are, where we work and where our talents lie, which tasks we’re more likely to take on and how closely we believe our educational backgrounds have impacted on our careers. Now, in what marks the final post of this series, I reveal what we were up to in our careers five and ten years ago and the extent to which we believe these points in time have impacted on our work today.

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Content strategy survey results: part 4

Earlier this year, I managed to coax a few of you web content professionals into responding to a survey. Since then, in a series of staggered posts, I’ve used the results from that survey to reveal a little more about who and where we all are, where we work and where our talents lie and which tasks we’re more likely to take on. Now, we’re going to find out about our educational backgrounds, and in particular how closely we believe it impacts on the work we do today.

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Content strategy survey results: part 3

Since, many moons ago now, I conducted a survey of web content professionals I’ve gotten around to displaying the results for gender, age and location as well as revealing where we work and where our talents lie. Now, using a novel combination of see-saws, coloured blocks and gravity, I reveal which tasks content strategists are more likely to take on or, in some cases, get landed with. How do these results compare with the work you do?

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Content strategy survey results: part 2

Between April and May web content professionals from six continents were surveyed about their life, work and education. In part 1 of this series I used a colourful array of charts and maps to display the results for gender, age and location. Now, not so hot on its heels, here’s part 2 which attempts to shed some light on the working lives of today’s content strategists.

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Help shape my next diagram

As a final flourish to my last post, in which I shone a little light on the process I followed to create ‘Partners for the content strategist’, I whimsically floated the idea of getting the wider online content community (I’m sure there’s a better term than that) involved in the conception and development of a similar diagram. On reflection, I realised this wasn’t such a bad idea at all.

Often, what moves me to pick up a pen and doodle is the need to solve a problem using pictures, or its to help stimulate my brain to reveal unrealised and surprising connections and relationships, often between people and tasks. The trouble is, I’m all too aware that the finished diagrams only offer a single viewpoint – that of my own. I think I’d be interested to see now what we can conjure up together as a community. I know the end result will be all the richer as a result of your input.

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‘Partners’ diagram: my workings out

Because my diagrams are almost always born out of a desire to solve a problem or align certain things in my own mind I’m more than aware that a diagram such as ‘Partners for the content strategist’ is unlikely to sit comfortably with everyone. So, to help you understand why I came to certain conclusions and shed a little light on my process, I thought I’d show you my workings out.

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Diagram: Partners for the content strategist

When every facet, subset, and silo is boiled down the task of understanding how an organisation can be effective with their content is, in essence, what content strategy is all about: everything we do is driven and measured by it.

Working out why and how an organisation’s content needs to change cannot be achieved without three key considerations: the status and potential of the content itself, the platform that supports its delivery, and the people involved in its creation. The potentially dizzying amount of skills and responsibilities this requires means the content strategist must seek out all the available knowledge within an organisation, capture it, and use it effectively. Clear communication, a respect for each other’s skills and time, and a shared common goal can help forge the working partnerships that make such changes possible.

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