Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data

Getting to the bottom of content strategy ...

"Not that familiar with “content strategy?” That’s ok. It’s in my job title, and I struggle every time I’m asked what I do for a living. Many people have no idea what it means, but even more people bring their own (wrong) assumptions to the conversation. Usually they think it has something to do with writing copy. That’s not entirely false, but it’s kind of misleading.

The analogy I’ve been using recently is that content strategy is to copywriting as information architecture is to design. I find this analogy to be especially encouraging because six years ago, as the crest of the first wave of the web was about to break, people had no idea what “information architecture” meant either.

The irony of this communication challenge is that the main goal of content strategy is to use words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences. We have to be experts in all aspects of communication in order to do this effectively.

So, why has it been so hard for us to communicate what we do?

Perhaps the problem is that, because content is so pervasive, everyone thinks they know all there is to know about it. If you can read and write, you can make content, right? (Nearly 60 million blogs may prove that.) But the fact is, as interactive experiences become more complex, so does the nature of content. A superficial understanding of content isn’t going to cut it anymore. Content strategists in the digital age need to become data philosophers and explore the metaphysics of content, starting with the question “What is content?”

Everything is content

When we were developing a deep metadata system for the website of a national entertainment magazine, my colleague and friend, Chris Sizemore, would say, “Everything is content.” And I tend to agree.

Everything is content? What about design? Yes, it’s content. Structure? Content. Metadata? Also content. You probably expected a more incisive analysis than that. Well, how about, “Literally, everything is content.”

How did the need for detailed focus on content emerge in the heavily visually oriented field of web design? As website functionality has increased and web users have become savvier, sites have had to meet the demand for sophisticated interaction and more content to support it. But simply more content won’t do; it has to be accurate and relevant. It has to be meaningful."    (Continued via Boxes and Arrows)    [Usability Resources]

Organizing Content - Usability, User Interface Design

Organizing Content


Blogger Kelly Goode said...

True - Content must be understood - but more than that - the VALUE of Content to the creator and the ability to protect AND continue revenue with content prevails.
I have written about The 9thxchange before, and the reason I do is because the company offers the Even Playing Field needed in the music download industry of today.
Independent artists deserve payment for content and continued revenue - they don't deserve to be cheated out of revenue and charged for distribution channels.
This is what the 9thxchange offers:
The 9thXchange marketplace is the newest way to bring together buyers and sellers of digital content. The service dramatically reduces content piracy by offering the seller lifetime royalties—even on exchanges between consumers. Moreover, the service accommodates all technology platforms, file types and creators. The 9thxchange and its CEO John Bonaccorso have been fully featured in Crains Detroit AGAIN.
Kelly Goode

7:58 AM  

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