Content Strategist Overview

The role of a Content Strategist would start with understanding the Business goals and objectives of the client, asking clarifying questions about what the company hopes to accomplish with their website.

They would begin as an auditor evaluating the effectiveness of the current site

They would move to an evaluation and analysis stage and identify problems, weaknesses or inconsistencies.

Makes Everyone More Efficient…Even Clients

This role is the “oil” between the gears that are necessary to build an effective web solution. This person simplifies the process of creating a website by keeping a clear focus on the company’s goals and objectives, and making sure  that communication channels are clear between the different disciplines.

By defining these needs in as much specificity as possible, it gives very clear direction for everyone down the line. It set’s the proper expectation from the beginning and thus, makes clients much happier with the result.

Measurable Goals

When metrics are defined from the beginning, it’s easy to see when you hit the mark, and when you miss. Adjustments can be made that are informed by the data, and results can be quantified.

Ongoing Maintenance

This role would also be where a case would be made for constant fresh content. We’re not building brochure websites. The savvy clients know that the web is a dynamic and fickle medium, and can be rendered irrelevant very quickly. Compelling Content Strategy turns project clients into retainer clients.

Why content strategy?

Content is EVERYTHING!

Content is everything from text, images and video, to the color choice, button placement, and navbar location. The role of the content strategist is to evaluate the success of a site based on the business goals as defined by the client.

Driven by Business Goals

Content strategy sets out to determine the best way to accomplish goals. This presumes that the website has a clearly stated, and focused purpose that can provide us with the ability to measure success, and learn from shortcomings. Every decision regarding content/design/cms/IA/UI/UX is filtered through the grid of the business goals. This insures that the website is focused and effective.

Measurable Results

Because each decision is driven by business goals, we can set up metrics to determine if it’s actually working and make adjustments accordingly. With measurable results, a website suddenly becomes a more effective tool, a thus a better investment.

What does the strategist do?

Audit

If there is an existing website, evaluate the quality and effectiveness of that content. This would include reviewing each page on the site, reading all of the content and grading it all based on business goals. If google analytics is available this is could be very helpful in evaluating the quality of the page based on page visits and bounce rates.

Recommendation

Once the initial evaluation is complete, the content strategist would make recommendations to improve, remove, or rearrange content to be more effective at meeting business goals.

Implementation

The implementation of these recommendations would be carried out by the appropriate person whether they be a copy writer, editor, photographer, developer, etc.

Ongoing Maintenance

The role of the content strategist is to set things in motion that will keep the site relevant over time. An important aspect of this role at the outset would be to explain that the strategy that is being created is not a one time thing. It will recommend and a plan for the creation and maintenance of fresh relevant content on an ongoing basis.

What skills does a strategist need?

The content strategist must have a clear understanding of how all elements of content interact together. That includes:

Copy – define relevant topics, determine the right voice for the copy, headlines, & taglines. Define primary and secondary messaging based on business goals.

Design – Define the feel of the site based on business goals. (The moodboard is a primary tool to help us define this in the beginning)

Imagery (photo, video, infographic, iconography, illustrations)

CMS (recommendations for a cms solution as well as determining when to use specific page templates, and plugins, managing both the admin side and the user-facing side of the site)

Information Architecture(IA) – Create a sitemap. Primary, secondary, tertiary navigation (determine which are necessary and where they might go)

SEO & Digital Marketing –  (including the metadata, keyword choice, and site structure to support easy access to site crawlers, and a sensible approach for users i.e. pretty urls)

UI/UX – define how the user will find what they’re looking for, how do we guide them to the specified conversion point and convince them to make the decision (i.e. download the pdf, purchase the product, or fill out the form). Define user life cycle (e.g. learn, try, buy, maintain) Identify channels and plot within life cycle.

I”m not sure how Jeffrey Zeldman feels about it, but the name “Godfather of the Web”  is so fitting. I found this in some old files and wanted to make sure I didn’t forget. Simple and profound…

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This year, I had the privilege of attending WebVisons here in Portland, Or. Conferences are great times to connect with other like-minded people, and hear about trends in your industry. WebVisions is a unique conference in that it doesn’t focus on a particular technology, but addresses the cultural impact of the web on all of us. The internet is expanding into more areas in our lives and that is not going to change any time soon.

Here are my slides from the presentation that I did for my co-workers… as great as it would be for us all to have gone, someone has to be working while I’m off learning all the cool new things.

You’re logo is not your brand! This may come as a surprise to you. After all, when you think of Nike you naturally think of their famous swoosh.

Many clients come in because they want a logo that represents everything that they are as a company, everything they do, and don’t forget to include their favorite colors and meaningful symbols! They ultimately want a logo that communicates their entire brand, but quite frankly, that’s not what a logo is supposed to do, even if it were possible.

Branding to a company is like a reputation to a person.

Although you may find yourself attracted to a person for any number of reasons, deep connections are based on shared values, interest, and authenticity. The same is true about your company. Deep  lasting connections are made when customers and clients share values with you. That being the case, the better you define your values, act on them, and communicate about them, the deeper the connection.


 

How Do You Do It?

1. Act on what you say you value.

We all know that talk is cheap and there’s nothing more disappointing then feeling duped into a relationship only to find out that things were not actually what were stated. I think we’re almost used to this reality, and look at most product claims with a bit of skepticism (or we should). Isn’t it refreshing when you come across a company that follows through with what they say they stand for?

2. Be transparent.

Your product/service is not for everyone. Just admit it up front and you’ll have the respect from both sides from the start. Usually if I hear someone tell me that their product is “not for me” it makes me more curious about it. In that sense, it’s both good marketing, and good branding.

3. Use REAL testimonials.

Today’s consumers are savvy, and skeptical. If you have a phony testimonial, chances are, it will be recognized for what it is and ignored.  It’s better just to leave it out. Authentic testimonials, however, can turn a skeptic into a paying customer, so take the time to ask for them!

4. Address your environmental impact.

No matter which side of the debate you’re on, caring for our environment is important. Not every product out there can be certified “green”, but showing how you address the issue of responsible disposal, giving back to the environment in other ways, or making efforts to reduce environmental impact all need to be talked about openly.

5. Address your audience on their terms.

It’s easy, especially for smaller companies, to talk about themselves in terms that they understand, without regard for their audience. Have a neutral third party read over your marketing and PR materials and listen to their feedback. What are you explaining in detail that no one cares about? What are you assuming everyone else knows because you live with it day-in and day-out?


 

Some Examples of Values-Based Branding

TOMS Shoes

It’s so simple, “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.”

Target

You won’t find the same brand value connection with Target, that you do with TOMS, but click here to see how the big boys do social responsibility.

BP

Being in the oil and gas industry, BP has a looming challenge to win our respect. Between the gulf oil crisis, stripping the planet of fossil fuels, and using political leverage for their own profit, we have many reasons to dislike “Big Oil.” On the other hand, most of us need it to get to work everyday.  Click here to read about what BP is doing to win us back.


 

So, Then What’s a Logo Supposed To Do?

A logo is a memory hook. A simple mark that sticks in peoples’ mind giving them something to attach all of your brand values to. It can’t be your brand, but it can be the thing that brings it to mind. As a customer/client experiences your company, their memories get burned onto the logo, and the logo begins to represent everything you are to them. Ever see a Starbucks logo and suddenly realize you are craving coffee? The logo itself didn’t give you that sense, it simply reminded you (and in turn your body!) of past experiences, which have very real and often visceral memories.

Consider what experiences have been pinned to your logo. If you are in the process of creating a new logo, aim for a symbol that will easily carry the emotions and memories you hope to convey through your brand experience.

originally posted at http://elliottdesign.us/blog/truth-branding/ and was reposted with permission.

I’m mostly just playing around with a little javascript here, but merging it with another one of my hobbies.

This is where the magic happens. You can fully control the shot from here.
The grouphead on the pre-millennium model is 49mm, so your shots will be a little smaller then on a commercial machine.

under construction… dig it?

under construction

 

When it come to the web, change is the norm. If your website is not under construction, you’ve got some catching up to do.