Live from CSForum: Opening Keynote

Opening Keynote, by Kristina Halvorson

We come to content strategy from many different paths, but we do have some things in common.

Kristina began in 2004. She was a web copywriter, and she remembers watching her first usability test and seeing people interacting with, usinglooking for content. This is when people would do content last, with no budget, after doing everything else.

“It’s not that I can’t crank out content, but I have questions.”

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What are audience goals?
  • What are success metrics?
  • Why have decisions been made?
  • What is the purpose of these content modules?
  • Who is the content intended for?
  • Am I supposed to use outdated content?
  • What’s going to happen to this content after it’s up?

She thought about it, and determined she needed to be a content strategist. She didn’t just create content, she thought about it strategically. When she say Rachel Lovinger’s article “Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data” a lightbulb went off: other people are talking about this!

You’re all curious. You’re interested in shaping content that you can work with and develop and maintain.

Brain traffic designed the content strategy quad to answer the questions we have about content, which our organizations need. But that was designed with an eye for websites, and now we’re doing content strategy for far more than just sites. We need content strategy for all the gaps that need to be bridged.

But Kristina started by identifying problems, and when you leave a client having said “here are your problems,” they feel even worse. They think we’re saying they’re dumb, or failing.

Foundational things to remember:

  • Principles internally motivate us to do things that seem good and right.
  • Strategy is the path we take, given constraints and context, to bring us to our goals.
  • Process is the format that helps you serve your needs and fulfil your strategy – it’s not a God, and there’s no one perfect one.
  • Roles depend on projects, context, and personal expertise. They can change from one situation to another, but they give us a place.
  • Perception is the language we speak. We need to speak each other’s languages.

We are all playing catch up. We are all still learning. Let’s move forward and keep moving together! We can all be more awesome.

Marli Mesibov

Marli is a content strategist with a passion for the user experience. Her work spans websites, web applications, and mobile. Marli is the VP of Content Strategy at the UX design agency Mad*Pow, where she helps healthcare, finance, and educational organizations communicate with their audiences. Marli is a frequent conference speaker, and has spoken at conferences including Content Strategy Forum and LavaCon. She can also be found on Twitter, where she shares thoughts on content strategy, literature, and Muppets.

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