The Case for Including Content Strategy in CMS Builds

If you’re a content strategist, you have likely heard a lot about the importance of being part of designing and customizing content management systems. But if you’re a developer, you may not have the same perspective.

On a recent project, I witnessed this firsthand. While I made a point of creating content templates, identifying content types, and designing governance practices with an eventual CMS customization in mind, the (external) development team was not prepared for the same level of collaboration. They looked at my deliverables as options, and when my ideas didn’t fit, rather than open a discussion they unilaterally made decisions. Unfortunately, the result was a CMS that didn’t fit the content needs or the editorial team’s abilities.

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Building a Structured Author Experience

At this year’s CS Forum in Melbourne, Rachel Lovinger gave a brilliant talk about 10 (well, 8) things she has learned in 10 years as a content strategist. It inspired me to consider what we know as content strategists, as compared to what our users (particularly the editorials teams) know.

Rachel stressed the importance of author experience, explaining how necessary structured content is, in order to have easily findable, and thus usable content. She went over the basics of structured content, reminding us that it needs to:

  • Be stored separately from any display infrmation
  • Have content types identified
  • Be stored in discrete, manageable chunks

All of this is very important to us, as content strategists. But I suddenly remembered a client who told me how frustrated she was to work with Oracle, where she needed to build “links” and “assets” that could then be pulled into “sections” that could then be pulled into “pages.”

Our authors don’t care if their content is structured. Continue Reading


Live from JBoye: Who Put Their Technology in My Content Strategy?

Who Put Their Technology in My Content Strategy?, by Meghan Walsh

jboyeContent strategists job can also include tech planning, partner relationship management, business requirements, cross-program alignment… it’s a lot. We’re creating content that is personalized, and then we need to distribute it.

Meghan looks through both the practitioner lens and as the strategy and planning role, focusing on the technology, not the operations.

“The content strategist is the critical voice in content technology planning, selection and design.” Continue Reading


Live from Congility: Workflow that Works under Pressure

Workflow that Works under Pressure, by Jeff Eaton

Congility2014Content is everything for some organizations

  • Content as the product – organizations produce content
  • Lots of it, consistently
  • It’s dynamic
  • It’s often time-sensitive
  • Jeff has a lot of feelings about this.

We adapt to the tools we’re giving

  • Jeff had a friend with a “potato” button on the microwave
  • When the microwave got old, only the “potato” button worked
  • They adapted to cook other things in increments of “potato”
  • Our clients do this with our CMSs when they don’t have the tools they need

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TYPO3 Neos

It’s been over a year since Karen McGrane began presenting on “Adapting Ourselves to Adaptive Content,” and her message has been heard far and wide. For many content strategists, “create once, publish everywhere” is an abstract idea which is made manageable through the lens of “how can we manipulate our CMS to best allow a inline editing with previews that accurately represent our responsive design and adaptive content?” But even once content strategists begin to think in terms of content for multiple uses, many are forced to leave their clients with a multi-device strategy and a CMS that doesn’t reflect the mentality.

neosRasmus Skjoldan is working on the solution. Rasmus and the Neos team at TYPO3 are attempting to create a CMS with multiple, customizable previews, to help users visualize content across multiple devices and browsers. Not only is this a new technical challenge, but the team needs to consider the user experience. Clients using Neos will ideally find the CMS reinforces the multi-device strategy content strategists have been touting. Done wrong, the CMS will do nothing but confuse the already tangled web of adaptive content. Continue Reading