Content strategy

Be upfront when you can’t meet user needs

Lorien Kaye

As content designers we’re always trying to meet our users’ needs in the best and clearest way possible. That’s the very essence of our job. So what do we do if someone comes to our content with a need we just can’t meet?

We’ve faced this problem working with a few clients lately, especially in government where law and regulations come into play.

The TLDR version: be upfront.

Headless CMS: An unbiased introduction for content people

Angus Gordon

If you work in content, you’ve probably heard of headless content management systems. Perhaps there’s a vendor giving your organisation the hard sell on a headless CMS right now. Perhaps you have a developer in your team who waxes lyrical about how much easier and more fun their job would be if you went headless. Or perhaps you’ve simply come across this strange term in your reading and wondered if it’s something you’re supposed to know about.

And then there was content design

Susan Cowan

So why content design? 

Let’s go back to the beginning. It’s a story that starts as long ago as 1999. I headed into the web space with a new copy of ‘Information Architecture for the WWW’ under my arm, and started work on some IA projects with a bit of lean user research added. Over the next few years I came to realise that, without content, IA was simply empty boxes and arrows (a favourite IA website at the time). In an attempt to redress this I found myself writing a lot of different types of content but always in a rushed and ad hoc way.

So much to learn, so little time.

Susan Cowan

Many lists of required reading for content strategists have been posted over the years (thank you). Those of us who’ve been practising content strategy for a long time have voraciously consumed these books and quickly incorporated what we’ve learnt into our processes.

But there’s so much more to read to keep up with best practice in our discipline or just to get timely tips for making our jobs easier and our clients’ outcomes better.

Content strategy vs content marketing: A fight to the death?

Angus Gordon

If you hang around with content strategists, it won’t be long before you hear someone complain about content marketing. There’s a feeling out there that content marketers have taken over the term “content strategy” without really understanding what it means. This tweet from content strategist Dan Craddock is not unusual:

Content modelling: What, why and how

Angus Gordon

In the past few years, content modelling and structured content have been much talked about in the content strategy world. But in fact, these aren’t new ideas. Content modelling is based on the venerable database administration practice of data modelling, while the term “structured content” has a long history in technical communications. So why have content strategists jumped on board? What’s made structured content sexy all of a sudden?

Our talk at DrupalCon Sydney

Angus Gordon

Angus and Rikki had a wonderful time at DrupalCon Sydney - meeting new people, learning about all the great things happening in Drupal, and sunning ourselves by the beach in Coogee!

Our talk "Content strategists and developers: We need each other!" was very well received. It even gets a shoutout from Drupal luminary Jeff Eaton is his podcast summarising the conference (listen to the whole thing, but we come in around the 27:45 mark).

Intuitive intranets: The newbie test

Angus Gordon

We all agree (hopefully) that websites should be intuitive. But what do we actually mean?

For most public-facing websites, the meaning of “intuitive” is pretty simple – in theory, if not in practice.

For example, if you’re building an online shop, you want to create a site structure, navigation scheme and labelling system that will help your potential customers find the products and information they’re looking for with as little guesswork as possible. (It’s Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think” principle.)

Content strategy for the rest of us: Tools for smaller websites

Angus Gordon

Just because you don’t have a big website, that doesn’t mean you don’t need content strategy.

Content strategy has been around for years, but it seems to have hit critical mass recently. People who build and maintain websites have started to realise that, for all our progress in making websites more usable and awesome, most of the written content on those websites is still really, really bad. Content strategy is a discipline that tries to fix this. It’s important because, after all, content is the main reason why people visit websites.

Website admins deserve better!

Angus Gordon

Earlier this week, Susan and I attended a fascinating talk about content strategy by Karen McGrane. You can read more about the talk - and content strategy in general - at our friend John Ryan's blog.

While the talk was aimed at user experience professionals, a lot of it was also relevant to website owners and administrators. In particular, one of Karen's points struck me so much that I had to take a photo: