Content Strategy for Everyone

The title of my presentation at TCUK this week was Content Strategy for Everyone. I wasn’t the only person mentioning content strategy – one other speaker pondered about whether it is just for the web, but that’s a question I am willing to give a very firm answer to: of course content strategy isn’t just for the web.
Here are the slides, followed by some notes and explanations:

Slide 7: The content you create – the content everyone in your organisation creates – is a valuable business asset, for the reasons shown here.
Slide 10: The concerns raised by Ann Rockley have been echoed (or answered, perhaps) in recent trends.
Slides 12 and 13: I wanted to stress the contrast between CM and CS. CS involves working out what your end goal is, how you are going to get there, and what you do once you’re there. That’s why it requires thought and planning before you start.
Slide 14: This may be a bit over the top, but I wanted to explain exactly what I meant when I claimed that CS can be a holistic approach to all the communication in an organisation.
Slides 19, 20, and 21: These are the myths that Content Management – or rather the belief, which calls itself Content Management, that buying a huge database system will solve all your content problems – perpetrates against good content. It is our duty as technical communicators to stand up for content and for our own professionalism and dispel those myths!
Slide 22: If you haven’t read this book yet, buy it now!
Slides 23 and 24: Steps in the imagined, and the real, content production life cycle.
Slide 26: Sometimes you’ll carry out a content audit, and find you really have just a pile of junk. What do you do then?
Slide 28: Sometimes you’ll have a big mess, but you know that with a bit of effort and teamwork the pieces will fit together (like Lego bricks – sorry). You just need teamwork (Slide 29)
Slide 31: Some small or medium size businesses have particular problems.
Slides 33 and 34: These rather crude graphs illustrate two pet theories of mine. The first is that there is a direct correlation between price and length of sales cycle, and the second is that there is an inverse correlation between price and length of sales cycle on the one hand, and the probability that the buyers of a product are also the users of the product. (I have been told that correlation graphs should actually be straight lines – I apologise for my lack of mathematical rigour. Must do better.)
Slide 35: If the buyers aren’t the users, then, you have to cater for two distinct audiences. At least two, maybe more. That’s something else your strategy needs to take into consideration.
Slides 41 and 42: Sometimes you may feel that you’re stuck in a barren wilderness when it comes to dealing with the diverse strands of your organisation’s content, but with a holistic content strategy you’ll be able to create a well-laid out garden that tourist will flock to see.
I hope you found the presentation interesting. I look forward to reading your comments.

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7 Responses to Content Strategy for Everyone

  1. Larry Kunz says:

    David, these slides are great, and I very much appreciate your sharing them.

    Can you please elaborate on what you meant with the first myth? The one that says content exists. I wasn’t at TCUK so I didn’t hear what you had to say about this. But it seems self-evident to me that content DOES exist. It exists all over, in fact — often hidden between cracks and under rocks — and part of the content strategist’s job is to find this content, impose order on it (if it’s relevant), or find a way to get rid of it (if it’s not). Thanks!

    • David Farbey says:

      Hi Larry
      I’m glad you like the slides!
      Sometimes content does exist somewhere, as you say. Bu the “myth” is that the right content for your site or your publication must already exist, so there’s no need to allocate people or time to creating the right content.

  2. What a great summary of the current CS conversations out there! Coincidentally, I just had a long call with (my hero) Ann Rockley today for the first time…prepare for world domination. 🙂 Thanks for banging the CS drum!

    • David Farbey says:

      Hi Kristina
      Thanks so much for your comments. I tried to explain the difference between CM and CS – and I do know that Ann Rockley never advocated that “buying a big software system will solve all your problems” although lots of people (mistakenly) think she did!
      (You see I just want to make sure I am on the right side when you and Ann do take over the world!)

  3. Thanks for sharing this David. I especially liked your graphs on the price/sales cycle correlations. So true. Something to remember to stress when talking content strategy with tech comms clients.

  4. Michael Mooney says:

    Is it right for me to be amused that viewing your slides requires a version of Flash which my company’s choice of browser doesn’t support? I guess I’ve answered my question, “Do we need a content strategy?”

    Looking forward to viewing the slides at home.

  5. Hi David,

    My opinion is clear: yes, content strategy is desperately needed!

    I cannot overemphasize the importance of having a CS in place, before starting a CM project, unless you hope your CMS shall tell you what you want to do and why. (I’m a bit oldfashioned maybe and prefer the pilot to be in control of the autopilot.)

    Based on the assumption, that there are such things like individual project demands (as a result of content strategy), we developed a model driven CMS ( that is flexible and adaptable.

    Such a system is clearly most helpful when you know what you want it to do for you. So keep CS running and I’ll be a supporter.


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