A brain dump of how to assess a content strategy in a channel-oriented ecosystem.
Disclosure: I work at Informaat experience design (The Netherlands) ~ “Designing for omni-channel ecosystems not only deals with the interactive and visual elements of experiences, but also has a significant content dimension. In this post, the role, value and meaning of content in products, services and brand experiences are addressed. In this context, omni-channel content strategy is a mandatory precondition for excellent customer experiences and should be part of the customer experience excellence of organizations. For the purpose of analysis, we developed a maturity model with which we can assess the current state of omni-channel content strategies and for identifying steps towards excellent customer experiences in ecosystems with omni-channel services.”
Peter Bogaards a.k.a. /peterbogaards | @bogiezero ~ Informaat BiRDS ★
Finally, content is discussed by UX designers. Why does it take so long?
“We know that it’s not edgy to defend one of the most timeless pieces of advice in design, but we’re not doing it to grab attention. We simply believe that it’s far too easy to overlook content as a design fundamental when the bulk of work focuses on visual design elements.”
Jerry Cao, Kamil Zieba and Matt Ellis ~ FastCo.design ★
There comes a moment, UX professionals will start designing from-out the content.
“Content is everyone’s business. People in many different roles work toward shared project goals—whether they’re content strategists, UX designers, product managers, or Web developers. The outcome of both business-focused and user-centered goals is the user’s experience, and that user experience should have one thing at its heart: content. The more you can embed content strategy into every step of your design process, the better the user experience will be. It is essential both that content be useful and that its presentation be usable. After all, it’s the content that brings users to your Web site.”
Robert Mills a.k.a. /robertmills81 | @RobertMills ~ UXmatters ★
Social media definitely needs a content strategy, an omnichannel one.
“If the web industry had a Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, social platforms would be at the very top—the least essential thing. No one ever visited a website and said, “Well, I was not able to register, but they had a really nice blog and quite an impressive Instagram feed!” But social has its place—and it is tied to so much of the work we already do. Whether you are working to increase conversions, looking for an additional source of user research, or want to enforce a consistent brand, social media should be part of your toolbox.”
Ida Jackson a.k.a. /idajackson | @virrvarr & Ida Aalen a.k.a. /idaaa | @idaaa~ A List Apart ★
Yes, you can start small, very small. With a strategy for your nano-content.
“There are hundreds of things that you can do with your website if you break things down. Those big examples – NPR, Boston Globe, Marriott – these are awesome examples for understanding the complexity in content strategy. They’re fantastic for seeing how big things can get.But we can make things smaller as well. And, I want to be really clear—I know somebody that works with Marriott. They have the same internal issues that any small business does. Everybody has some kind of content issue that makes it hard to get stuff done. We all have that. The big companies, the small companies. Large universities, small universities. Non-profit, for profit.”
Cory Vilhauer a.k.a. /mrvilhauer | @mrvilhauer ~ Eating Elephant ★
Content as the cement of the digital and physical human experience.
“Omnichannel is not a fad. It’s not some buzzword that replaces multichannel (although many people in the digital industry throw it around that way). Omnichannel also does not have to consider every existing channel out there or all channels (Latin definitions of omni aside). It’s not something to throw up — no pun intended — and display as something that is the be-all, end-all solution for all things within multichannel publishing. Omnichannel presents a model for placing the consumer at the center of a brand experience. In contrast, multichannel considers more than one channel. There may be a strategy behind multichannel, but in its essence, the term means more than one channel.”
(Kevin P. Nicols a.k.a. @kpnichols) ★
Compass and navigation on a trip to the wonderfull land of King Content.
“Content strategy for an entire organization and across all channels is super complex and very steeped in business management and operations. For the purposes of this book, I focus on the three main project types I’ve encountered most: function, property, and subset.”
(Meghan Casey ~ A List Apart) ★
Then they have to become smart.
“We’re talking on and on about making content more intelligent these days – format-agnostic, self-describing with semantic metadata, and modular – for reuse, for omnichannel, for delivering the right content to the right user, etc. But what about search engines themselves?”
(Noz Urbina a.k.a. @nozurbina ~ Urbina consulting) ★
How strategic can a migration be?
“While fairly popular, ‘lift and shift’ is not a viable content strategy. It is a folly fueled by fear, limited resources, inexperience, and politics. There are better ways to ensure high-quality intranet content, and two award-winning designers offer their insights, proving that a bright attitude makes all the difference.”
(Kara Pernice ~ Nielsen Norman Group) ★
Intelligent content or smart content?
“Content that is both digital and data-driven is poised then to be highly dynamic. This means that the content can be adapted quickly and efficiently to exactly suit the needs of different users. It is fundamentally responsive, which is much more than simply adapting to different viewing dimensions. Intelligent content that is genuinely dynamic can be programmatically adapted to reflect specific product versions, to incorporate customer-specific details, and to take into account a user’s location and even background. It can be adapted to work optimally in different formats, themselves produced automatically.”
(The Content Philosopher) ★
I’m more into smart content. Smart as in CIA (CPU, Internet, and API).
“In very simple terms (…) intelligent content is an approach. Intelligent content is the approach of thinking through the way we structure (organize) and manage content – so that it can be managed as a strategic asset.”
(Robert Rose a.k.a. @Robert_Rose ~ Content Marketing Institute) ★
Couldn’t have described it better.
“At the crossroad of journalism and entrepreneurship sits a new emerging profession, made up in good part by the skills of the classic journalist, in part by those of the researcher, of the librarian and of the new emerging content curator mixed in with those of the capable independent digital entrepreneur.”
(Robin Good a.k.a. @RobinGood ~ MasterNewMedia) ★
Keep remembering, the map is not the territory.
“An experience map is a large visual of the path a consumer takes — from beginning to end — with your product. The goal of this map is to get everyone on your team on the same page about the customer journey — so it is to be shared. In addition, the map must be an easy-to-understand, self-contained unit.”
(Demian Farnworth a.k.a. @demianfarnworth ~ copyblogger) ~ courtesy of @thomasmarzano
Nothing wrong with abstract words as long as the thinking behind it is clear.
“B2B sites and other sites with specialized content that targets professionals or enthusiasts should use their audiences’ jargon to communicate more precisely and professionally.”
(Jakob Nielsen ~ Nielsen Norman Group)
It’s COPE again, but now relate to strategic thinking.
“(…) the underlying ethos of content marketing and user-centric content strategy involves karma: The more real value you give to consumers, the more that will come back your way. The more we can make our content adaptive, the more we can realistically deliver tailored, high-value content without running out of budget, resources, or time. We didn’t invent content marketing because we’re such clever marketers. Content marketing came to be because our audiences simply stopped listening. And who can blame them? The new model is based on attention-for-value-added exchanges rather than blanket messages. It’s a sustainable strategic approach to communication. It sure beats the days of just trying to out-shout the competition.”
(Noz Urbina a.k.a. @nozurbina ~ Content Marketing Institute)
A relevant item of our FAQ.
“(…) the lack of strategy and integration is creating a new problem that continues to go ignored by many: poor user experiences and inconsumable content that never quite strikes that balance between business goals and user needs.”
(Jessica Negri ~ ethology)
Creating a model of the content world always must be systematic a.k.a. systems thinking.
“The most important thing anyone can do on a web project is find its nucleus. The core, that central piece of content around which everything orbits. Finding that reveals how all of the content fits together. It offers clarity to the relationships between the project’s content and the project’s vision, and will make your process far more successful.”
(Steve Fisher a.k.a. @hellofisher ~ Republic of Quality)
‘Do it right’ is a great design principle.
“Links that follow up on the user’s current interest encourage site exploration and reduce bounce rates. With the proper invitation, people will stay longer on your site.”
(Hoa Loranger ~ Nielsen Norman Group)
CX, the sum of design for UX and BX a.k.a. XD.
“Reflecting on my earlier work on brands as media companies, I realize that the word media was really a placeholder for experience. It’s not that every company should be a media company per se – but rather, that every company must become an experience company. Media is one kind of experience – but for many companies, the right kind of experience is not media, at least if we understand “media” to mean content. (…) I believe that every brand needs to get good at experience design and delivery. Those that are great at it tend to grow by exponential word of mouth – think of Google, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, or Earnest (a new lending company). When marketing becomes experience design, brands win.”
(John Batelle’s a.k.a. @johnbattelle ~ Search Blog)
Reuse was the holy grail of code, now of content.
“(…) reusing text where you would have been writing substantially the same text anyway is clearly the right thing to do. But taking all the various ways in which you might express an important idea and combining them into one expression is a bad idea. Your idea will have more impact and more reach if it is expressed in different ways and in different media for different audiences, different purposes, and different occasions.”
(Mark Baker a.k.a. @mbakeranalecta ~ Every Page Is Page One)