The people who come to your website aren't interested in your content—they're interested in their task. They want to complete it quickly and easily, reading as little as possible. If you have a mature website, 90% of its content is probably useless. Worse than useless, it's annoying people and getting in the way.
Sadly, giving a website to a content professional is like giving a pub to an alcoholic. It's heartbreaking, isn't it? As writers who love words and big books, we have to remember that we are not the customer.
Gerry's presentation will discuss how to manage the tasks to make websites successful. He'll talk through his approach called Top Task Management. It will help you do two things:
1. Identify the top taks of your customers.
2. Measure how well these tasks are performing.
It's time to add task management to our content strategy repertoire.
by Melissa Rach
Now that content strategy is widely recognised as a "real thing", we'll be expected to establish a methodology—a set of rules that defines our industry. A documented process that separates real practitioners from imposters. One true gospel that makes it clear when content strategy is done right. Or wrong.
Yikes. Maybe we can have a secret handshake instead.
In a field as diverse as content strategy, a one-size-fits-all methodology isn't necessary, realistic, or even desirable. In this session, Melissa will discuss:
The concept of methodology,
Tips for creating your own methodology,
Techniques we can all share, and
How diverse methodologies will benefit us all.
A hierarchy of communication goals, cohesive multichannel experiences, long-term consistency... we all want these things. But actions speak louder than words—and as content strategists, we're in the business of both! What steps can you take to ensure your recommendations are always on brand—and that everyone understands what that means? Just as content without content strategy can delay a launch or undermine an otherwise lovely design, content strategy without a message architecture is a waste of your time and creativity.
In this session, Margot will coax you back from the content audit, style guidelines, and copywriting to first create a message architecture. As a strategic driver of content strategy and visual design, a message architecture will help you and your stakeholders rally around a common vision, ensure everyone is speaking the same language, and clarify what we really mean when we say content is "good"—all while avoiding political arguments that come down to personal preference.
What you’ll learn
1. How to convey abstract concepts without concrete terms (“make us sound... like MINI!”).
2. How to conduct a brand attributes exercise in a kickoff meeting.
3. How to use a message architecture to inform your content audit and up-sell new content types.
If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that businesses have problems with creating, managing, maintaining, and evaluating the effectiveness of their digital content.
Good news! That problem is only going to get worse.
Businesses that struggle to maintain their core website are now facing a dizzying array of new challenges. The hungry mouth of social media demands constant feeding. New mobile devices proliferate, and users expect apps tailored for each platform. Creaky and cumbersome content management technology struggles to keep up with the pace of publishing. And internal organisational structures, hiring practices, budgeting processes and incentive systems don't fit the realities of modern web teams.
We've got our work cut out for us as content strategists. Our efforts to build a community and gain attention for our practice have paid off. Now, the real fun—and the hard work—begins.
In this talk, Karen will outline some of the biggest challenges organisations face in dealing with their content—today, and over the next five years. She'll explain what matters most of our field, and what we can do as practitioners to fix the content problem.
Join Lisa as she discusses all the various permutations of "Web Governance" that you might ever care about. That's:
She'll also explain what types of governance-related change content strategists can expect to make in their organisations, and how to garner executive sponsorship for the heavy lifting.
by Eric Reiss
When you look at content strategy closely, you'll discover it runs through virtually every discipline—both online and off—from web development to service design to advertising. Once you understand the generic principles, you can apply content strategy anywhere you choose.
Eric will share his observations from over 20 years in the web industry that will shed some light on the interworkings of various web disciplines (including diagrams!).
Instead of positioning content strategy against other disciplines, let's use our talents to make it even better.
What you'll learn:
1. How content strategy overlaps with other disciplines.
2. How to apply content strategy in different environments.
by Erin Kissane
The app-internet? Mobile first? XML? Mobile device sales have surpassed those of desktop computers, but what does that really mean for our communication platforms? And is the web really dead? As content specialists, we are under ever greater pressure to create and justify long-term content publishing plans that embrace the new mobile world and meet financial goals. Erin looks at content choices (good and bad) made by real companies and breaks down the ideas to consider as you make—and sell—smart, sustainable online communication decisions.
What you'll learn:
1. The real data and case studies behind the "app-internet" trend.
2. Which changes in the web world are likely to have the greatest effect on our work, and how to make the most of them.
3. Field-tested arguments and guiding principles we can borrow from the people who brought us the modern web.
by Des Traynor
Call it a bubble, or the year investment got smart, 2011 marks the birth of hundreds of web applications all promising to be the Next Big Thing™. And content strategy should be part of it.
To ensure the growth and maturity of content strategy as a discipline, it must have a permanent role in software development, not as a closing phase or an isolated perspective, but as a significant contributor to the process. This contribution is two-fold: it should both create content for users to consume, and ensure that interfaces are designed for user generated content.
Supported by practical examples, we'll discuss where content strategists can make the difference between lifeless echo chambers, and thriving community websites; between confusing workflows, and fluid software.
What you'll learn:
1. How to speak the language of software development
2. How to implement content strategy processes into development ones
3. What makes for good content in applications that have little of it.
This is the big content strategy experiment: the story of one man's quest to map the farthest reaches of the discipline.
In the months leading up to CS Forum, Richard will engage the content strategy community in the creation of a diagram which will map the different paths we've taken to get here and, at the same time, shed some light on how our diverse skills and experiences can be applied to the modern web team.
In this presentation, Richard will present the final diagram and talk about the exciting, torturous, and satisfying community-driven process that led to it.
What you'll learn:
1. Where our skills and experiences can be applied within the modern web or project team.
2. How and where a content strategist can be useful to teams from other disciplines.
3. How difficult it is to reach large-scale consensus.
5th–7th September 2011