Is your content smart? How do you know? Well, it starts by how you define “smart.”
Content strategy is in large part concerned with how to make your content better, more relevant, reusable, findable, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. That’s why I was very interested to read a recent post by analytics strategist Seth Grimes about how to define smart content.
He posed that question to four elite content geeks (and I use the term lovingly and respectfully): Mirko Minnich, SVP, Product Technology Strategy at scientific and technical publisher Elsevier; Mark Stefik, a Research Fellow at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC); Natasha Fogel, an EVP at StrategyOne who leads Edelman’s Global Competitive Intelligence and Analytics team; and Dries Buytaert, co-founder and CTO at Acquia, who created the Drupal content-management system. He also draws insight from a Gilbane Group study.
Some takeaways…smart content should:
- be organized and structured
- use semantic technologies (not just taxonomies)
- be relevant
- be findable
- be useful
These are good starting points when creating or assessing any content and an easy way to make sure your content goes to the head of the class.
Read the full post here:
This post has absolutely nothing to do with content strategy — at least, unless we’re talking how to strategically deliver a verbal smackdown to a self-obsessed jackass in a coffee shop.
No, this post is just a bit of a rant.
This evening, I was working at a local Peet’s…checking email, reviewing copy, and generally just minding my own business. Meanwhile, at the table next to me, a guy is yakking away at full volume with his table companion; the exchange got heated several times, enough so that I’d warily glance over to see if my iced coffee was in any imminent danger from a gesticulating limb.
I suddenly realize I’ve forgotten to set a meeting time with someone. I pull out my phone and make a quick call to take care of that. Seriously, I might have been on the phone for two minutes, three at the outside.
As I go to hang up, I see my chatty neighbor glaring at me. I mean, GLARING. “If looks could kill” glaring.
“I’m sorry, is there a problem?” I ask.
“You should not be using your phone in here!” he barks at me. “No one wants to hear your conversation!”
I’m stunned. This is the guy who was practically pulling on his boxing gloves about ten minutes earlier. I should just roll my eyes and let this go, but it’s been a long day, and my fuse is short, so I engage.
“Are you kidding me? That was a two-minute call. I’ve been forced to listen to you since I sat down. Are you just annoyed because you couldn’t hear both ends of my conversation?” I respond. (Okay, so that was a snarky thing to say, but still.)
Whereupon he delivers a blistering verbal attack, during which he tells me I’m rude, that someday “you’ll learn better,” that no one should ever use a “god-damned cell phone” in a coffee shop, etc. etc. And I shoot back that I didn’t think coffee shops followed library etiquette, that a quick conversation on a phone is certainly no ruder than a loud harangue with a table companion, and that he’s actually being the rude one in this case since he’s now raising his voice and swearing at me.
Now, I’m the first to acknowledge that there is such a thing as an annoying cell-phone conversation. I’ve heard enough teenagers yapping with their BFFs about all manner of trivia, usually at top volume, not to accept that there are times you’d want to strangle a mobile user. But I submit that not all cell-phone use is created equal. Seriously. Is my two-minute call really worse than an in-person Jerry Springer presentation? Really?
Anyway, part of this may have been brought on by the fact that this guy was on the older side — probably nearing 60 — while I was sitting there with my Kindle, iPhone, and netbook. Maybe there’s an age etiquette/resentment thing happening, with him thinking I’m some upstart techie whippersnapper. Maybe he thought I shouldn’t sass back at my elders. Maybe he was just cranky. Who knows?
But all I know that is him chewing me loudly and out in public was probably one of the rudest things he could have done. Was using my phone an etiquette breach? Maybe. I’ll grant you that there’s a fine line. But it was all pretty much the pot calling the kettle black, don’t you think?
I think there’s often a misconception among people who don’t really “get” content strategy that what we do for a living is make recommendations about which content should go where, and how it should look on a web page.
Well, that’s part of it. But just a teensy, tiny part of it.
There’s a lot of heavy lifting, hammering, nailing, sawing, ripping off old shingles, rewiring circuits, and <insert your own construction reference here> that happens before those happy little recommendations. Which is why I was so glad to see Chris Moritz‘s recent post about developing the “pillars” that support a content strategy.
Chris ably breaks the process down into four main steps: determine the business goals and/or marketing tasks; pick the brains of the most customer-centric people in the organization to find out what customers really think and want; do your research; and plot out the commonalities and overlap areas from your first three steps, narrowed down to the top five.
I’m grossly oversimplifying here, and Chris’s post is well worth a thorough read. And then get building!
Read the full post here: