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Getting unstuck: content strategy for the future

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Getting unstuck: content strategy for the future

Responsive. Adaptive. Mobile first. Cross-channel. We all want a web that’s more flexible, future-friendly, and ready for unknowns. There’s only one little flaw: our content is stuck in the past. Locked into inflexible pages and documents, our content is far from ready for today’s world of apps, APIs, read-later services, and responsive sites—much less for the coming one, where the web is embedded in everything from autos to appliances.

We can’t keep creating more content for each of these new devices and channels. We’d go nuts trying to manage and maintain all of it. Instead, we need content that does more for us: Content that can travel and shift while keeping its meaning and message intact. Content that’s trim, focused, and clear—for mobile users and for everyone else, too. Content that matters, wherever it’s being consumed.

Responsive. Adaptive. Mobile first. Cross-channel. We all want a web that’s more flexible, future-friendly, and ready for unknowns. There’s only one little flaw: our content is stuck in the past. Locked into inflexible pages and documents, our content is far from ready for today’s world of apps, APIs, read-later services, and responsive sites—much less for the coming one, where the web is embedded in everything from autos to appliances.

We can’t keep creating more content for each of these new devices and channels. We’d go nuts trying to manage and maintain all of it. Instead, we need content that does more for us: Content that can travel and shift while keeping its meaning and message intact. Content that’s trim, focused, and clear—for mobile users and for everyone else, too. Content that matters, wherever it’s being consumed.

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Getting unstuck: content strategy for the future

  1. web directions south 2012 GETTING UNSTUCK content strategy for the future Sara Wachter-Boettcher www.flickr.com/photos/spanner/1591803996/ @sara_ann_marie
  2. ‘‘ Every client, in my experience, has a content problem. Mark Boulton, just before lunch
  3. Suddenly, everybody’s talking ‘bout it.
  4. ‘‘ In traditional media, canvas dimensions are a known constraint. With digital, however, the canvas is an unknown... We need to build on what we do know: content. Chris Armstrong, “The Infinite Grid”
  5. But do we actually know our content?
  6. Good news! That’s what content strategy is all about.
  7. ‘‘ ✦ Defines how you’re going to use content to meet your business (or project) goals and satisfy your users’ needs ✦ Guides decisions about content throughout its lifecycle, from discovery to deletion ✦ Sets benchmarks against which to measure the success of your content Kristina Halvorson & Melissa Rach
  8. We’re auditing what we already have...
  9. And figuring out what we want to say... Message architecture example from Margot Bloomstein
  10. And making more realistic plans for getting it done... Page table example from Relly Annett-Baker
  11. and yet: IT’S STILL SO DAMN HARD, ISN’T IT?
  12. Inaccessible.
  13. Broken.
  14. Missing.
  15. Useless.
  16. Even launching a new homepage is hard.
  17. ‘‘ The Microsoft.com team built tools, guidelines, and processes to help localize everything from responsive images to responsive content into approximately 100 different markets... They adapted their CMS to allow Content Strategists to program content on the site. Nishant Kothary, “The Story of the New Microsoft.com”
  18. Why is content such a problem?
  19. we’re moving forward, BUT OUR CONTENT’S STILL STUCK.
  20. “just stick it up on the website” www.flickr.com/photos/wordridden/6125516150/
  21. We create content like this.
  22. We create content like this. CONTENT GOES HERE.
  23. So we can do this. www.flickr.com/photos/76029035@N02/6829344565
  24. So we can do this. CONTENT GOES HERE. www.flickr.com/photos/76029035@N02/6829344565
  25. But we end up with this.
  26. But we end up with this. CONTENT GOES HERE.
  27. it’ll only get worse By Eva-Lotta Lamm
  28. We can’t make more content for every new device and channel.
  29. It’s time we make our content do more.
  30. COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere Websites NPR’s Mobile Sites Central Storage API Apps CMS Third Parties
  31. content like water www.flickr.com/photos/briangaid/2909765394/
  32. Of course, content doesn’t just magically flow.
  33. It takes infrastructure.
  34. Which starts with content.
  35. Less like this.
  36. Less like this.
  37. And a little more like this.
  38. And a little more like this.
  39. then modeling how it all connects
  40. Some of you have probably been making data models forever. From Web Database Applications with PHP & MySQL by Hugh E. Williams and David Lane (O’Reilly, 2003)
  41. But it’s easy to forget that data is also content. what? huh? no idea!
  42. structure can’t be arbitrary www.melissaanddoug.com
  43. it needs to be human By Eva-Lotta Lamm
  44. This means revisiting our content...
  45. and finding patterns www.flickr.com/photos/darkfoxprime/4348506299/
  46. not just “pages” www.flickr.com/photos/peroshenka/408997641
  47. !=
  48. Finding patterns gives you content types.
  49. Event Listings Shows Blog Posts Articles Profiles Bios Help Modules Press Releases Directories Recipes Shows Product Listings News Briefs Research Papers ...etc. etc. etc.
  50. Content types help you create a content system.
  51. Start with a single type of content, like a recipe. What is it? What makes it a recipe?
  52. Then, how do our different content types fit together?
  53. systems give us options By Eva-Lotta Lamm
  54. We can’t manually manage how each bit of content looks.
  55. But every bit of structure gives you the option to make a rule.
  56. P

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