The Content Strategy Rap

Vanilla Ice in his rapper heyday

Ah, sweet inspiration...

One of the best parts of attending Confab last week in Minneapolis was having the opportunity to meet, in person, all the fabulously talented content strategists I’ve been connecting with on Twitter and through various content groups. To my delight, they are as smart in person as they are online — and a funny, talented, irreverent bunch to boot.

One evening saw us downing cocktails (including the brilliantly named Lorem Sipsum) and admitting a secret, shared affinity for Vanilla Ice…whereupon we started ad-libbing content-themed lyrics to the seminal hip-hop masterpiece “Ice Ice Baby.”

Buzzing on caffeine and enabled by a four-hour flight delay, I made use of my trip home to write a complete version. With apologies to Mr. Ice, and a thank-you to Margot Bloomstein, Erin Kissane, and Leen Jones for the alcohol-fueled inspiration, I present to you a content strategist’s rap:


(sung to the tune of “Ice Ice Baby,” by Vanilla Ice)

All right, stop! Collaborate and listen
We are here on a content mission
Content grabs a hold of us tightly
Analyzed and revised, daily and nightly

Will it ever stop? Yo, we don’t know
You think it’s good — but it blows
To the extreme, we gotta edit and handle
All your attempts to write are a scandal

Damn! All those conference rooms
Are killing my brain like a poisonous mushroom
Deadly, when I got no taxonomy
No workflow and the client’s all over me

Love it, can’t leave it, with content I’ll stay
I’m a content strategist and I don’t play
If there is a problem yo I’ll solve it
Check out my site plan as I evolve it

Nice nice baby…my content’s nice nice baby (repeat 2x)

Now that everyone’s jumping
Through stakeholder hoops, we gotta do something
Quick to the point, to the point no faking
Usable content is better than bacon

Bad formats hurt my head, like a cymbal
I go crazy when content’s not nimble
Or semantic, with no RDF, yo
Is that good? Nah, I have to say no

Rollin’, on Web 2.0
The tags aren’t right, we need SEO.
The boss is on standby, gotta make one more try
Did it work? Yeah, it was real fly

Kept on pursuing to the next goal
Social media is how we’re gonna roll
Facebook and Twitter, yo, let’s continue to
APIs — apps on every phone!

Content’s hot and we are the genies
Turning Hyundais into Lamborghinis
Jealous ‘cause our content is fine
We are a 10 and at best you’re a 9

Look at all those chumps on the walls
Wanna-be strategists who have no *alls
Web stats are ringing our bells
Traffic’s up, and we can tell

That users are finding stuff real fast
Our new IA is kicking some ass
Over and over, the sales funnel’s packed
Tons of conversions that we can track

Consumers on the scene, you know what I mean
What we’re doing is a strategist’s dream
If there is a problem, yo we’ll solve it
Check out our site plan as we evolve it


Take heed, ‘cause I’m a strategy poet
I’m always on the scene just in case you didn’t know it
My plans, so clever, smart and sound
So strong they kick holes in the ground

We clean up your chemical spills
Caused by all of your content ills
Conducting an audit
That’s a hell of a concept

We do it well, so you wanna stick with this
We come to your aid, slice your content up with a razor blade
So fast, everybody says damn
With so much data we should charge by the gram

Keep our composure when it’s time to produce
All our findings, reports, and the data we used
If there is a problem yo we’ll solve it
Check out our site plan while we evolve it

Nice, nice, baby…our content’s nice nice baby (repeat to fade)

What does a Chief Content Officer do, anyway?

Job description for Chief Content Officer

What does a CCO do? Read this (if you dare).

Within marketing and content strategy circles, we’re starting to see a new job title: Chief Content Officer. While CCOs have existed in the past, they’ve usually been found in traditional media or PR. These days, CCOs are springing up in the corporate world — for example, Netflix and HTC both have one — heck, it’s even the title of the Content Marketing Institute’s quarterly publication (which is well worth the read, by the way.)

And yeah, I’m hopping on that bandwagon and billing myself as the Chief Content Officer for my own consulting business.

Which begs the question: What, exactly, is the job description for a CCO?

Glad you asked, because so did content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi. In fact, he crowdsourced an incredibly detailed, on-the-money roundup of the skills, talents, experience, and responsibilities a CCO should have.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Chief Content Officer (CCO) oversees all marketing content initiatives, both internal and external, across multiple platforms and formats to drive sales, engagement, retention, leads and positive customer behavior.

This individual is an expert in all things related to content and channel optimization, brand consistency, segmentation and localization, analytics and meaningful measurement.

The position collaborates with the departments of public relations, communications, marketing, customer service, IT and human resources to help define both the brand story and the story as interpreted by the customer.

Ultimately, the job of the CCO is to think like a publisher/journalist, leading the development of content initiatives in all forms to drive new and current business.

It’s a fantastic compilation and offers a great starting off point for conversations with your current management, or as you position yourself for a more senior content-strategist role. (For a PDF version, click the image above.)


Is Your Website Getting Too Much Traffic?

Image of a large crowd in a stadium.

A big crowd -- but is it the right audience?

Is your website getting a lot of traffic? Yes? Good for you.

On second thought…is it, really? Good for you, I mean.

There’s long been a school of thought that with websites, traffic is everything. But that’s not really true, is it? If all that volume isn’t getting you leads, or conversions, or whatever it is you measure success by, what good is it doing you?

One of the first things I tell my clients is, “You need to figure out who your audience should be.”  If your business model is selling widgets to wholesalers, but your traffic volume is primarily from individual consumers who are looking for cheap widgets, it means your content isn’t hitting the right marks.

Here’s my rule:

Create content for the audience you want.

And this often means you’re going to lose some traffic. But it’s likely that traffic wouldn’t have done you any good, anyway.

Gerry McGovern really captured this in a recent post. In “The Accidental Website Visitor,” McGovern notes that 50 percent (or more!) of traffic coming to a typical website is from the accidental visitor — that is, someone who isn’t the target audience, and who’s unlikely to find what he or she is looking for on that site.  That’s not a good user experience; nor it is reflective of a good content strategy.

But we’re often adherents to what McGovern calls the “Cult of Volume,” which believes that more traffic is better. And that just isn’t true. Notes McGovern:

Volume is a deeply negative metric for web success. No other metric encourages worst practice more than measuring success based on number of visitors.

Exactly so. It’s time for some deprogramming, folks. Your website shouldn’t be judged by its volume of visitors, any more than it should be judged by its number of pages. It should be about getting the right message to the right people so they can take action — action that benefits both them and you.

As a case study, McGovern describes a specialist government health website that was supposed to be reaching medical researchers looking for grants. Instead, it attracted lots of casual consumers looking for information about health issues. Not surprisingly, customer-satisfaction survey results were abysmal. What did they do?

“To stop attracting accidental visitors the web team stripped out general health phrases from their content and deleted a whole bunch of pages, keeping only the pages that were directly related to medical research grants. They de-search engine optimized. They used more technical, scientific terms which were perfectly understandable to their medical research audience. Over time their traffic dropped by 80 percent, while their customer satisfaction rose dramatically.

They had a smaller website and that allowed them to better manage it and have more up to date, higher quality content. Medical researchers were much happier. Those looking for general health information were much happier because they weren’t ending up on the wrong website.”

That doesn’t surprise me at all, since I’ve seen my clients enjoy the same type of results once they narrow their focus. You might lose some traffic, but you make it up in qualified prospects, better conversion, and greater visitor satisfaction. Call it the Cult of the Happy Customer.

Now there’s a cult worth belonging to.

Image courtesy Kevin Briody via Flickr under a Creative Commons license