Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Content strategy resources

Too many websites get built without a clear focus. Or once they're handed over for ongoing management, whatever focus there was gets lost in the day-to-day grind. Content strategy isn't necessarily easy, but it's a key contributor to an effective, lean and focused website.

Content is the most valuable part of your website. It's the hardest working part. It's what gets most attention from your website visitors. It's what builds the brand; it's what makes the sale; it's what keeps you from answering the same query in person over and over again.

And yet it's what we - university website owners - often give the least attention to. It's what we are reticent to plan in a coherent way and manage effectively on an ongoing basis.

A few introductory articles, including how to do content strategy and some resources to help...

Complete beginner's guide to content strategy - article by Andrew Maier for - A good overview with lots of links to related information.

Why you need a content strategist - article by Relly Annett-Baker - an entertaining article in which Relly sells what she does, and at the same time helps you see what you could be doing. I attended a workshop run by Relly a few weeks ago in which she (almost!) made this dry subject entertaining.

Key Ingredients for Content Strategy - article by Marisa Peacock for - a helpful discussion of Marisa's thoughts on content strategy. Her ingredients are audience, content and engagement. For each she covers the questions you should be asking, and recommends resources and further reading.

Doing a Content Inventory - article by Jeffrey Veen for Adaptive Path - practical advice on how to review your content, including a spreadsheet template to download

Taking a content inventory - blog post by Donna Spencer - in which she covers why and how she carries out an inventory.

A map-based approach to a content inventory - article by Patrick C. Walsh
- I don't know quite how effective this would be - the spreadsheet approach works better for my brain - but for more visual thinkers this may be better. Plus, the underground stencil download for Visio looks cool.

I read 'Content Strategy for the Web' by Kristina Halvorson a few months back. As much as anything, it makes a case for the discipline's existence. It's an interesting read and references some writers and experts I respect.

While I think it's a good read for managers of large, information-driven websites in some ways I don't quite see content strategy as anything more than one important aspect of an information architect's role.

Content Strategy for the Web - promotional website, including a free chapter to download

My previous post on Kristina Halvorson's book and articles

UPDATE (June 2011): Content strategy - the "how to" book

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