Think Info

Exploring the information space

CS Applied 2012-03-02

The below notes are the raw transcript of what I took down at Content Strategy Forum 2012, on 2 March 2012. These notes are not a verbatim transcript of what was said; they will often include my own inferences, extending the initial idea.

Developing a Global Voice for a Global Brand

Case study, eBay
DeAnn Wright (DW) and Angela Boodoo @angelaboodoo (AB)

  • How does your brand look, sound, feel, smell, taste? (DW)
  • Word affinity map: conceptual synonym / antonym lists. (DW)
  • Mood board: colours shapes, fonts that represent the key mood-words. (DW)
  • Find the right brand attribute for the right content type at the right time – it’s contextual. (DW)
  • Can tone of voice be truly global? How can it translate and localise? (AB)
  • You can’t support your brand if it’s all friendly until you hit the wall of legalese. (DW)
  • Content strategy is long-term KPIs; marketing is shorter-term. (AB)

Quickfire Q&A

Karen McGrane – @karenmcgrane (KM), Rahel Bailie – @rahelab (RB), Jim Romano (JR); Hosted by Scott Abel – @scottabel (SA)

  • Organisations have a responsibility to understand what a content strategist is before they hire one. (RB)
  • I have one [a content strategist]; now what do I do with it? (RB)
  • Content strategy elevator pitch: “This will help you make more money.” (KM)
  • Content strategy elevator pitch: “No content strategy. Missed sales target. No bonus. Your choice.” (RB)
  • If you are supposed to have cross-organisational impact, you need to sit outside any organisational silo. (RB)
  • Handing over responsibility of content strategy to clients: simple documentation; socialisation. (KM)
  • Certification is bullshit! (SA)
  • The act of certification does not guarantee quality; only training to have used the tools of the trade. (SA)
  • Content strategy is a process. It’s all-encompassing. No one person can be so diverse as to do it all. (Clare O’Brien – @clareob)

Content as a strategic tool

Case study – Content strategy 101 stream
Jane Honey – Channel 4

  • Think about what any of your own campaigns could mean for others… sponsorship opportunities.
  • Editorial is not only about content creation; it is also content promotion.
  • Keep the “ask” – what you expect your users to do – simple. Or they won’t.
  • Keep your message simple. Keep your message integrated – all in one place, not scattered across channels.
  • Focus on a simple message to get engagement and traction.
  • Content strategy: it’s not so much the strategy of content, it’s content as the strategy. (Sue Davis – @suedavis68)

Measuring the effectiveness: How to create a first-class content audit

Case study
DJ Francis – @MarketerBlog – Critical Mass

  • Patterns – the real output from a content audit
  • Content audit: assessment of existing content assets. Quantitative and Qualitative.
  • Warning: content audits are ugly. (And clients don’t care about the true dirt)
  • Listing “edit effort” as a part of an audit is a strong tool for subsequent planning – what does it take to fix
  • Clients put content behind a firewall because they think it is “valuable.” 99% of the time, they are wrong. Would be better for SEO.
  • An audit… is not limited to who you are auditing. Audit the competition too.
  • Audit quality – what is being produced and by whom. Does it match that the client thinks is their market focus?
  • Content audits need to become channel agnostic. Just like the content needs to be platform agnostic.

Content strategy 101

Karen McGrane – @karenmcgrane – Bond Art + Science

  • Apparently, the contents of the box is not part of the present-opening experience.
  • Nowadays, you can no longer say that one group “owns” the web site. Everyone has a stake in the game.
  • Your customers are telling you things (about your business). How do you deal with that? Your content strategist can help.
  • Technology has become ubiquitous; you can download just about anything instantly. But should you?
  • Any creative endeavour takes a large number of specialist people. Web sites are no different. Content’s a big part.
  • People grossly underestimate the time and effort it will take to create and manage their content.
  • Content strategy 101. If you don’t, it will be the 11th-hour shit-storm.
  • Having a CMS does not give you a web site. It gives you a CMS.
  • Why? “I think we should have a blog” is not a valid answer.
  • The 6Ws of content strategy are solvable problems. They just take someone answering the questions.
  • The content management tool do not manage content. It’s the people who do that.
  • Web CMS’s allow us to box all the old crap into the new system without getting rid of the rubbish.
  • Content strategist are bin-man. They sort through the garbage.
  • The web is an active form of media – it is interactive.
  • For every piece of content you have, you must have an answer to the question “why?” It must be an action.
  • What good is going to come to the world as a result of your content?
  • Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Content strategy 101.
  • In a well-run business, there shouldn’t be a distinction between what the user wants to do and how you make money.
  • Do my customers really like my products? Are they paying me for them?
  • Business defines strategy. Strategy is implemented with design + technology + content.
  • You can’t develop a content strategy without a core business strategy framework.
  • Content process: plan from business strategy, analyse what you have/need, create, maintain over time.
  • If you are going to create content, you need to know how you will deal with it in future before you start (or how can you know its value?).
  • Do you have the resources to maintain the content you are planning to create?
  • Align your publishing strategy with your business goals.
  • What business are we in, who are our constituents, how do we create value?
  • Branding is communicating what the business is really about. The ideology.
  • Content strategy: this is the big idea that needs to be in every message we put out.
  • You have a category in the nav. Great. Does the content support the action? (oops.)
  • A competitive audit… compare the content! (not just the features.)
  • Sometimes tasks (for mobile) are information tasks, not form-based features.
  • Just because a page isn’t important to most people, it may be vital to those who do visit it.
  • Most CMS evaluations consider everything except the experience of the users who will manage the content.
  • If you are in the business of creating content, your workflow optimisation is as important as the checkout flow optimisation.
  • So, you’ve already got all this content? Where is it?
  • The migration process starts now! (not 72 hours before go-live.)
  • I start doing a content inventory before I have even won the project (how else can I estimate it?)
  • How to audit a huge site? Think representative sampling as per opinion polls – reasonable statistical confidence.
  • The inventory lets you understand the story the site is trying to tell (or how badly it is telling it).
  • A content inventory robot won’t give you firsthand insights into the content itself.
  • How will tell your client that they need to trash 90% of their site? (It depends on the client.)
  • If you’ve gone through the process of making your content better to fit on the small screen… why not just use it on the desktop?
  • What is the process going to be to get ideas out of someone’s head onto your site?
  • I guarantee you: the content creation process will take longer than you expected.
  • The key of messaging architecture: create an idea that will be thought about/trigger action.
  • What is the one idea – the one message – that you have to get across on this page?
    • Call to action: What next?
    • Primary message: What? Why?
    • Secondary message: How? Who? Cost? etc.
  • You can annotate content with more than just “text” and “dynamic.”
  • “Let’s think about what it will look like.” WRONG. What message are we trying to get across?
  • A wireframe without the details of the source of the content is incomplete.
  • It’s really easy to draw a box that says related content. It’s much harder to relate the content.
  • You have to design with real content? So which is the “real” content? The other bits don’t look like it…
  • Content strategists need to inform designers. What might be there, what might not.
  • Prototyping… it needs to be done with the actual content for that scenario.
  • A task is not complete when the user gets to “the right page.” They need to read it and get the message too.
  • Governance: maintenance + value performance + performance analytics + ownership.
  • Content maintenance is not rocket science. But it’s not one-track either.
  • The best style guide is the one that’s going to get used by your client.
  • Old content doesn’t just fade away. IT MUST DIE!

See also

2 responses to “CS Applied 2012-03-02

  1. Pingback: Content Strategy Applied 2012 in review « Think Info

  2. Pingback: Content Strategy Applied 2012 – a roundup of reviews, notes and presentations | Firehead

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: