Jumping into The Elements of Content Strategy

Cover of The Elements of Content Strategy Note: This post first appeared, in a slightly different form, here.

Content strategy. The planning, development, and management of content—written or in other media. It sounds like one in the long line of buzzwords that seem to assail us daily. And, in the eyes (and hands) of some, it is.

But content strategy is more than that. Content strategy can also be an indispensable tool for anyone who writes for a living — especially anyone who writes in the corporate sector. yes, that includes technical communicators.

Many people either don’t know what content strategy is, or they misunderstand what it’s all about. That’s where The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane comes in.

Let’s take a closer look at this book.

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The everyday tactics of content

by: Bill Albing

The technology we employ to manipulate and manage content is an important aspect of our work, because content is crucial in our role as communication professionals. For years, I have worked with content and the technology that delivers it to readers. I have seen automation of more of our work and I have worked with the changes that have transformed our work.

But I continue to wrangle with content, as Scott Abel says, and I continue to learn how to work with the tools of wrangling. I do not apologize for getting my hands dirty and sometimes getting rope burn trying to keep content organized and flowing. But I have, for the most part, been quite successful in working with content and the technology surrounding it. I am not a content strategist and I do not claim to manage the message in the vicissitudes of management.

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Content strategy for technical communicators: what happens to my doc plan?

by: Larry Kunz

The buzz about content strategy has never been louder. During the past few weeks we’ve been treated to a whole gamut of views about content strategy.

There was Tom Johnson’s characteristically thoughtful analysis of what content strategy is and is not. Rahel Bailie showed that content strategy isn’t just about web content. The staff at Johnny Holland gave us a week-long series on common issues surrounding content strategy. We even had a great conversation that started with an editorial error.

There’s no doubt that, as Tom said, content strategy is gaining momentum.

While there’s still discussion about how best to define content strategy, I think that most everyone agrees on a couple of key points:

  • A content strategy is, well, a strategy. A strategy, by definition, provides an overarching framework within which specific actions can be planned and executed. A strategy gives purpose to every action, but a strategy is more than just the sum of the actions. It’s not tactical: for example, it doesn’t dictate things like how a style sheet should be coded (although it might contain broad guidelines for how the styles should look).
  • A content strategy should be broad enough to encompass all kinds of content: content from all over the organization, as well as (increasingly) from the user community; and content that can be distributed in a variety of formats.

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