October 7, 2014 – It was a full house at this month’s SEMpdx event as we welcomed Facebook’s Jonathan Colman to Portland for a discussion on integrated content strategy.

Jonathan began by walking us through a complete picture of what exactly content strategy includes.  (Hint: It’s not just copyrighting.)  Content strategy includes everything from surface-level writing to editorial strategy to workflow design to information architecture and more.  It’s about the entire experience and requires skills in both systems and design.

In short, your content strategy is really more of a people strategy.  Good content strategists are masters of dealing with feelings as they find ways to support the things that people value.

Jonathan went on to share five key impacts of a strong content strategy:

  1. Voice and tone: Build a style guide for your organization to maintain the same voice and to know how to adapt the tone to users’ feelings.
  2. Inventory and audit: This process will help you identity what content you should remove so you can focus on improving the valuable content that remains. Screaming Frog and Moz are a couple of excellent tools to assist in website audits.
  3. Consistent templates: It’s not uncommon for audits to reveal multiple headers, slideshows and video players on a single website.  Resolve this issue with a set of consistent templates and encourage teams to communicate with each other.  Consistency will reduce your technical debt, allowing more of your budget to deliver real value.
  4. Metadata: This is the foundation of all content management, on-site search and faceted navigation.
  5. Content modeling: Figure out what content structure you want and build a system to support it.

As you apply these impacts into your strategy, you’ll likely notice that the line between content and design becomes blurry.  Don’t worry – that’s when you know you’re doing it right.

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