Content Strategy

Put the Work Before the Words

Scott Kubie

The definition of content strategy can be tough to nail down. But how important is it that everyone agrees on it? 

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How to Sell in Content Strategy

Kristina Halvorson

So many of us struggle to get buy-in for content strategy. What's the best way to convince your stakeholders it's really, truly important?

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Content Strategy and Responsive Design

Sean Tubridy

Not quite sure what responsive design is? Get the skinny, and learn how it can impact your content.

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Stakeholder Interviews: Engage the Octopus

Melissa Rach

Just like an octopus needs all eight arms to move forward, good web content needs help from people at all levels of the organization.

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Mining for (Source) Content Gold

Amy Little

As a writer or editor, it’s ideal to get solid content strategy and background information before you start creating content. But sometimes you need to fend for yourself.

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Do It Like a Librarian: Ranganathan for Content Strategists

Claire Rasmussen

Although academia and consulting can sometimes seem like different planets, content strategists and librarians have a lot in common—after all, we all love content.

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Know Your Context

Christine Anameier

We all know that you can’t create effective content without understanding your audience. But audience isn’t just about who—it’s also about when and why. (There’s also how, but that’s another blog post.) In other words, you need to understand the context for your content.

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Show Me the Content Strategy!

Julie Vollenweider

Asking to see a sample content strategy is a common request that’s often complex to address. But it’s not impossible.

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When You Know Your Content Is Bad

Tenessa Gemelke

Whether you’re in a decision-making position or not, it can be difficult to figure out how to use your powers for good to defeat bad content. Fear not! If you’ve been quietly suffering the knowledge—nay, the CERTAINTY—that your content stinks, here are a few ways to take steps in the right direction.

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Should You Complement Your Intranet With Knowledge From Employees?

Meghan Casey

Employee intranets have traditionally been owned and managed by technology, communications, or human resources. Today, there’s a trend toward employee intranets being owned by teams responsible for internal knowledge sharing or knowledge management.

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Auditing big sites doesn’t have to be taxing

Christine Anameier

Now that U.S. tax day has come and gone, we can focus our attention on big audits.

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No-poute routes: Ways to do content strategy on a budget

Melissa Rach

Small organization? Small budget? Don't get down in the mouth. A content strategy is still within reach. We'll show you how.

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Workflow That Works

Christine Benson

How many great ideas never get implemented or maintained because nobody ever bothered to figure out who would do the work? Or work was assigned to someone, but no one ever looked at the tasks that person was already doing?

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Workflow that flows

Christine Benson

A key to great content? Accurate planning, prioritization, and communication.

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Alignment: The Secret to a Successful Content Strategy

Melissa Rach

Learn why alignment and collaboration are secret weapons in the fight for successful content strategies.

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How Nonprofits Can Profit From Content Strategy

Tenessa Gemelke

Think your nonprofit doesn’t have the time or resources for content strategy? Here are some small steps that can make a big difference.

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Brown Paper Packages

Lee Thomas

The holidays are over, but there’s one more package to unwrap. (Don’t worry, it’s not socks.)

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With Content Strategy, There’s No One Right Way

Meghan Casey

There’s no one “right way” to do content strategy. But, we can build on what’s worked before by adapting and refining for the best possible result.

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Whoops! Cover Your Assets with Content Strategy

Emily Folstad

Content strategy can help you put your best face forward—and avoid embarrassing and potentially costly mistakes.

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Bad Words

Erin Kissane

Consuming content isn’t the same thing as consuming cake. So how should we be talking about the ways in which people interact with our content?

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Content and the Technology of Today

Julie Vollenweider

Choose your own adventure! Technology has changed the way we read. Will it change the way we do content strategy, too?

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Capturing That Back-to-School Feeling

Tenessa Gemelke

Do you love back-to-school time? Of course you do, you adorable nerd!

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What We Say and What We Mean

Lee Thomas

Surely, We Can Say What We Mean.

Agreed. Now stop calling me Shirley.

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Are You Really Collaborating?

Christine Benson

Most people in the CS community agree on the need for collaboration, but are you sure that’s what you’re doing?

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Let's get typical! Common strategy scenarios and results

Julie Vollenweider

Gracious stick figure illustrates common content strategy scenarios and results.

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Content Strategy Can Save Us All From Slobdom

Meghan Casey

Once on the fast-track to slobdom, this lady has become an organizer … of clothes and content. And I owe it all to content strategy.

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The Value of Content, Part 2: Nobody’s Perfect

Melissa Rach

Get 7 tips for making your content measurement plan perfectly … imperfect.

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Online endeavors need a spare tire

Clinton Forry

Your car isn’t the only thing that should come equipped with a spare tire. Make sure you’ve got one for your content, too.

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CS is (Still) Not (Only) UX … and Why It Matters

Erin Kissane

UX is awesome. CS is wonderful. The fact that they don't perfectly overlap is a beautiful thing.

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Give Content Strategy a Fighting Chance

Meghan Casey

No stakeholder alignment. No content strategy. Get the people at the table committed to the content cause.

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The Inside Job: Getting Started

Christine Benson

Initiating content strategy projects inside an organization can be daunting. Here are a few tips to kickstart the process.

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How to Board a Moving Train

Tenessa Gemelke

What can hoboes teach you about becoming a content strategist? Plenty.

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Give Your CS Project Sponsors the Royal Treatment

Melissa Rach

It’s not “the wedding of the century,” but to your project sponsor, a content strategy project is a big— and often stressful—deal. So, show your sponsors some love.

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Is Your Metadata Miles Away from Complete?

Clinton Forry

Duplicate content and inaccurate or incomplete metadata creates a poor user experience. And sends me into a JAZZ RAGE.

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Keep Your Content from Falling into Disrepair

Emily Folstad

Just like home ownership, great content requires owners who care. But how do you get content owners invested in making great content?

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Governance Grows Up

Erin Kissane

Content governance is always a beast—especially when it comes to ongoing contributions from subject-matter experts. But it may finally be creeping into the heart of organizations.

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Communication Tips from Client Services

Christine Benson

I learn a thing or two about effective communication from our catchphrase-loving VP of client services.

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A-ha: Content Strategists Never Stop Learning

Meghan Casey

Brain Traffic content strategists are no exception. Find out what four of us have learned or discovered recently.

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Brain Traffic Lands the Quad!

Melissa Rach

Watch out Evgeni Plushenko, Brain Traffic can land a quad. See our infographic describing the four key components of content strategy.

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Content Strategy Is Not User Experience

Erin Kissane

Up is down! Black is white! Marketers and data nerds living together!

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Shrink to Fit

Lee Thomas

Your web content looks really good in those jeans.

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I Content Strategize, Therefore I Am

Melissa Rach

What’s the meaning of content? We’ll tell you what we think with the help of some drunken philosophers.

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Can Your Content Strategy Handle the Truth About Governance?

Meghan Casey

Without governance, your content strategy has no teeth. And a content strategy without teeth may as well not exist.

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Tidings of Content & Calm

Lee Thomas

Less really is more. Ralphie double-dog-dares you to read this post.

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Own Your Content. And Keep Grizzly Bears at Bay.

Clinton Forry

Without mindful ownership and all that goes with it, your content—and business goals–could be in serious danger.

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You Have Problems

Kristina Halvorson

I know. Web content hurts. But I have good news: there's a cure.

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Improving Your Content’s Signal-to-Noise Ratio

Christine Anameier

Even good content can be "noise." Here are a few tips on how to cut out the static.

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Content Strategy Can Help. Literally.

Christine Benson

Customers expect a help section to have helpful content. Make sure you don’t disappoint.

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The "Queen" school of content strategy

Melissa Rach

Start seeing content strategy everywhere. Even in epic rock bands.

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Content Battle of the Year

Clinton Forry

Kristina Halvorson and Joe Pulizzi face off on content, strategy, and marketing in our very first podcast.

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Curation Nation

Kristina Halvorson

To curate or not to curate? Or is curation even a thing in the first place?

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Maintaining Your Non-Text Content

Clinton Forry

We’re all for enhancing the user experience with non-text content, but only if there’s a solid maintenance plan in place.

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How Bad Content Ruined My Vacation

Emily Folstad

Ever wondered whether poorly planned content actually affects real people in real life? It does. Just ask my family.

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You’re hired: Outsourcing content work

Julie Vollenweider

Take a look at when, how and why it makes sense to tackle a copy project internally, or job it out.

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Don’t Put Content in your Users' Blind Spot

Angie King

Simply putting content on a page doesn't guarantee your users will find it.

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Avoid This Common Error

Meghan Casey

Guess what? Error messages are content. That means they require the same attention as any other words on your site.

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Clients Say the Darndest Things: How to Deal with Bad Feedback

Elizabeth Saloka

Your writing is magic. Their feedback is tragic.

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News Flash: Social media won't fix your content problem

Kristina Halvorson

Promising social media widgets will make your corporate website relevant isn't just irresponsible. It's wrong.

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Lost in Translation

Katie Riddle

What you should consider before your content goes global

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Content strategy is, in fact, the next big thing

Kristina Halvorson

In January of 2009, I started telling people that content strategy would be the next big focus for organizations worldwide. I even went so far as to say, “Content strategy will soon be getting more attention than social media.”

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Anatomy of a web content document

Amy Wallace

Knowing how to format a web content document—or simply how to read it—is a crucial step in successful content creation.

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Sorting through the digital debris

Christine Anameier

Treatments or a cure for the common cold could be out there, but it would be hard to tell from a Google search.

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Four free podcasts: Curation Best Practices

Kristina Halvorson

Listen in as Kristina talks content curation with IBM.com Editor-in-Chief, James Mathewson.

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Content Strategy: More that a Bunch of Tactics

Kristina Halvorson

Content strategy isn’t a bunch of tactics. It’s a plan. Let’s talk about content strategy as a way of doing business, a way of looking at our content not as a commodity but as a valuable business asset, worthy of our strategic consideration.

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Members vs. guests: how to label users on authenticated sites

Angie King

They say it's best to call a spade a spade. So why not call your members by name?

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Content People Care About: Find your Orphaned Baby Bear

Meghan Casey

You don’t need a cuddly orphaned baby bear to create content people care about. But you do need one of those strategy thingamajigs.

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Don’t Gamble with Automatic Feedback Copy

Angie King

Think users won’t be affected by bad automatic feedback copy? Don’t bet on it.

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“Hand-Crafted Content” vs. the Machine: Betting on the People

Kristina Halvorson

When it comes to content creation, bet on people, not algorithms.

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Ask Yourself: Will Anyone Care About This Content?

Christine Benson

Will this information add to the experience? What if you just got rid of it?

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A Little Label Love Goes a Long Way

Christine Benson

Remember: content (rather than design) can show brand and personality.

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Rupert Murdoch vs. the "Content Kleptomaniacs" and "Plagiarists" (See: Google)

Kristina Halvorson

When the religion of the Web is that you can find anything you want, from anywhere, at any time, Murdoch's plan is straight-up blasphemous.

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Be your own content expert

Amy Little

Want to create better web content? Take a lesson from someone who knows about good user experience—you.

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Web Developers and SEO: Contentiousness and Common Goals

Kristina Halvorson

Finding common ground: the content.

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Content User Experience

Christine Benson

Check out this example of content user experience. You know, content. Like, in the happy sense.

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Just fill in the blank?

Meghan Casey

Content strategy--thinking done by real, live humans--makes sure your content hits the mark.

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The Value of Content, Part 1: Adam Smith never expected this

Melissa Rach

Brace yourselves, content folks. We're going to talk economics. I promise there will be no math involved.

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For content problems, technology is not the thing

Kristina Halvorson

Don't try selecting a tool until you really understand what you're trying to build, and for whom. Start with your content strategy.

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Speed-dating your source content in 4 easy steps

Angie King

Learn how to weed out the duds (filler information) from the studs (meaty content that addresses users' needs) with our handy-dandy speed-dating tips.

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5 Tips on Working with a Style Guide

Elizabeth Saloka

Don't let your style guide derail your sane train. Bone up on these tried-and-true tips.

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Put a Lid on Canned Copy

Meghan Casey

Canned content is low on nutritional value.

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Attention information architects: That IS your job

Christine Benson

For a really great website, give your web writers a roadmap.

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You’re So Not Welcome.

Erin Anderson

How do you help your user feel at home on your site without actually telling her to, uh, feel at home on your site?

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"About Us" doesn't have to be all "Ugh."

Julie Vollenweider

Rather than using the "About Us" section of a site like a congratulatory press release, consider approaching it like a magazine’s Editor's Letter. And a little like a middle schooler.

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What should you study to become a content strategist?

Kristina Halvorson

What's a good postgraduate path that would lead to a career in content strategy? Find out what four leading content strategists have to say.

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The John Hodgman Approach to Web Content

Angie King

We take a page from John Hodgman’s fictional reference book and apply it to a client’s website.

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Five Things Content Strategy Can Do for You

Julie Vollenweider

Have a plan. Take care of it. Look like a hero.

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Know Thy User

Meghan Casey

"I always open your emails because I know they'll contain something I can actually use." Ahh, music to our ears. How can we make that happen for every website and e-mail?

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The Content Inventory is Your Friend

Kristina Halvorson

Yep, that's right. Content inventories could change your LIFE.

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Dunk Your Splash Page

Beth Johnson

What value does a flashy splash page have if you know ahead of time that users will most likely not be interested in viewing it?

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This Just In: The New York Times is Way Smart!

Elizabeth Saloka

The best interactive graphics are the simplest. No bells and whistles, please.

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Contact Us: Great and Gross Examples

Julie Vollenweider

A little TLC for online “contact” can make a huge difference in customer experience.

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When All of Your Content Is Video Content

Angie Halama

Some nytimes.com readers aren't so happy with the video content on the website.

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Making the Transaction

Katie Dohman

Writing and designing for the mobile web—it’s about being pithy on an even smaller scale. It's all about making transactions and none of the so-called filler.

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Four Kinds of Content to Consider for Your Web Content Strategy

Kristina Halvorson

Don't publish content just so you have something to show your boss or client. Consider the types of content out there, prioritze your needs, and commit to what you can sustain.

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Content Strategy and Social Media

Kristina Halvorson

Social media proponents tell us the only way to protect our brand integrity is to "join the conversation"—get out there and pay attention to what people are saying about your products and services … But let's back up for a minute.

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Your Web Content Is Out of (Your) Control

Kristina Halvorson

Most of us are still struggling with how to effectively plan, create, and manage content for our own company's website(s). Now we have to worry about social media, too.

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Here Be Content

Melissa Rach

I have always liked the idea of medieval mapmakers using the phrase "Here Be Dragons" to denote unexplored or dangerous territories.  Sticking a fire-breathing reptile in documentation when you run out of facts? That's panache.

Unexplored and dangerous territories, indeed

These days, people aren't so stylish. When an information architect (or user experience designer) doesn't have the time (or the talent) to document content requirements, they stick a "page stack" on their site map.  It looks like this:

Don' t get me wrong: I'm cool with the stack if there is accompanying documentation that provides content details.  But when an information architect uses the stack in place of content requirements, they are leaving the client in unexplored and dangerous territories (without even a dragon to warn them).

A little dragon goes a long way

So, I have an idea. If you're a web professional doing information architecture and you're not documenting content requirements, stick a dragon on your site map instead of a page stack. This will be a nice heads up for your client and particularly fun for those of you who used to be designers.

If you're a client and you see a dragon on your site map, consider why your information architect is not worried about the information.  Then, call Brain Traffic.

P.S.: Unfortunately, that here-be-dragons bit is mostly a myth. Only one medieval artifact, the Lenox Globe

(ca. 1510), actually has the phrase "here be dragons" on it. Well, technically, there's also the Borgia map (ca. 1430), but it doesn't really say "here be dragons." It says (over a dragon-like figure), "Here are men who have large horns of the length of four feet, and there are even serpents so large, that they could eat an ox whole."  Put that on your site map.

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Every Doc(ument) Has Its Day

Jason Kleckner

Documentation rarely takes the spotlight. Much like good user experience, if it’s doing its job properly, you don’t even notice it.

Also like bad user experience, bad documentation will make the process painfully inefficient.

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Engage Content Owners Early

Angie Halama

Do the people who review your web content undo all your web writing best practices? It's likely because they don't understand what makes good web content and why. Get them up to speed, and soon.

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