Live from ConfabEU: Content/Communication (Keynote)

Content/Communication, by Kristina Halvorson

logo-small“Content strategy should be shifting the way we think about content within our organizations.” -Kristina Halvorson

Kristina began talking about content strategy in 2008

  • Became a thought leader, and therefore a consultant
  • As a consultant, helped clients understand what they needed
  • She noticed people were looking depressed
  • Wanted to tackle content strategy in a way that helped people rather than making things worse


The content core strategy:

  • What will this content do for us?
  • What’s the meat of the content?
  • What are the stories and messages of the content?
  • How do we build content so that machines can recognize and manage the content?
  • How do we build content so that people can use the content?
  • People are the source of all our content – we cannot separate the two.
  • What are our standards and guidelines?
  • Who in the organization gets to say yes or no?

Hypothesis: When we have actions, it makes people excited and not depressed!

  • We need to audit the content
  • We need to rework the IA

Reality: …but sometimes clients here “we need to x” as “your company is broken/you’re way behind/you’re doing a bad job.”

The five foundational elements to help clients without making them depressed:

  • Principles
    • Something that internally motivates us to do things we believe to be right.
    • As opposed to rules, which externally motivate.
    • Principles should be simple and to the point. They will translate across an organization.
    • Principles unite us in our day to day work.
  • Strategy
    • If you don’t work out how to eat, you’ll end up sitting waiting for fish to jump in your mouth. If you’re a bear.
    • It’s very important to prioritize and make choices – you can’t do everything.
    • Strategy is the guard rails that stops us from driving off the road.
    • We can really hit a wall when we’re told “that’s not our strategy.” Which we need to respond to by asking “why?”
    • Strategy keeps us accountable. We need to help it to be articulated.
  • Process
    • Some organizations commit to a process without asking “why are we doing this?”
    • Do not make your process your God.
    • Process should ideally help us to move together.
  • Roles
    • RACI model is great for task-based work.
      • R: Who is responsible for completing a task?
      • A: Who is accountable for the work’s success?
      • C: Who must be consulted before work can be signed-off on?
      • I: Who must be kept informed along the way?
    • Make sure everyone’s aligned on terminology.
    • Keep the whole team on the same timeline.
  • Perceptions
    • We can help everyone to see from the same perspective.
    • Everyone explains things differently.
    • If we’re unclear, we can go back to the start.
    • Ask “why” – ask everyone frequently.
    • Ensure there is clarity. If you are unclear about what’s being said, ask!!

The field of content strategy is evolving so rapidly that no one person can stay on top of it. Take a step back – remember we are perpetually catching up. The best thing we can do is keep asking questions.

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