Content as the generic term for all things digital stuff.
"The core problem seems to be a feeling that the word 'content' reduces thoughtful, artistic expressions to a commodity. The websites and apps we develop to elegantly deliver words, images and media experiences are perceived as empty containers, hungry for content to be poured into them. Content marketing campaigns depend on calendars that demand to be filled on a regularly scheduled basis. This may give the impression that an effective approach to content is to churn out generic stuff that fits the size and shape of the container, and meets the deadlines."
Sometimes, you need the Dutch truth to be told.
"Responsive design is a poor man's content strategy to address multiple channels. Perhaps a technical masterpiece, but it adds nothing to the transmission of a message. It helps nothing with the basics of content strategy: the transfer of certain key messages to your target audience. Indeed, there is also such a thing as a need. When I use a smartphone, I have other needs, then when I'm on a desktop. Responsive design - solely - does not respond to that fact. It's a technical trick that will make everything fit on my screen and makes it readable."
Couldn't have said it better. Although,I wouldn't label people as content consumers.
"The focus and widespread knowledge towards the importance of web design, web development, usability, and user experience is definitely positive, considering that only a few years ago most of the meetings I have had with clients had to start with an explanation of what the term usability meant. However, what is missing in these discussions - what is in desperate need of attention - is web content and the creation of a comprehensive and unified strategy for it."
(Wojciech Chojnacki ~ Six Revisions)
Every field should know its history and be proud of it.
"Content strategy is a new 'old thing', as old as publishing itself, so it's potentially a foolhardy exercise to lay down a history - although we won't let that stop us, oh no! (...) When it comes to web content in particular, whether technical content or marketing comms, content strategy has experienced exponential growth in the past decade."
The larger the organization, the more important this component becomes.
"While all three components (creation, publication, governance) of the content strategy lifecycle are intended to be ongoing, it's the Governance component that often requires the most dedication due to its never ending need for attention. Once content is created and published then it will forever need to be managed, maintained, optimised and compliant which leads to the age old question of 'where to begin?'"
Including the notion that form (a.k.a. presentation) has meaning too.
"Arguing for 'separation of content from presentation' implies a neat division between the two. The reality, of course, is that content and form, structure and style, can never be fully separated. Anyone who's ever written a document and played around to see the impact of different fonts, heading weights, and whitespace on the way the writing flows knows this is true. Anyone who's ever squinted at HTML code, trying to parse text from tags, knows it too."
Reducing the essence of content strategy to a holy trinity: create, publish, and govern.
"Creating effective website content can be an arduous task, especially when so many factors must be considered: varying role capacities, internal politics, customer expectations etc. However, following a structured strategy can make creating focused content a piece of cake!"
Desperately hoping CM and CMSs get consumerized as well.
"One last thing that end-users need to keep in mind as they think about solutions that are migrating from the consumer world to the enterprise world. A consumer application is not necessarily battle hardened for enterprise use."
Embedding in the existing organization. A big challenge for UX and CX management and staff.
"It's time to leave the web sandbox and lead the organization into a deeper understanding of the power and use of digital channels. It's time to inform and engage executives so that organizational expectations are reasonable and that they're supported culturally and fiscally. So maybe you can clean up the mess in six months - but it's going to take a lot of resources and a cultural shift that can probably only be directed from an executive level. Most likely though, tough 'redesigns' are going to be ongoing evolutions."
We tend to forget how important the content infrastructure and technology is.
"They create a language to express publishing, content management, or reuse concerns, and then expect writers to write directly into what is really an internal content management format. Putting a graphical face over the markup does nothing to change this. The graphical interface only hides the syntax of the XML. It does nothing to change the fact that authors are being asked to create what should be the internal semantics of the publishing system — semantics they generally neither care about nor understand."
(Mark Baker ~ EveryPageIsOne)
Information management and technical communication appear to be the parents of content strategy.
"Over the years technical communication has transitioned from a conventional author-reader engagement to a realm of social collaboration. Let's take a look at how technical communication has progressed over time and the significant milestones along the way."
(Monalisa Sen and Debarshi Gupta Biswas ~ tcworld)
A mother, not thé mother. Who's the father? Who's the child?
"The other driver is the digital content revolution. While best-of-breed technical communication and training departments have been creating multi-channel outputs for years using a write-it-once, use-it-often strategy, traditional publishers haven't felt the pressure to adopt this approach until the Kindle, smartphones, tablet computers - and of course, the iPad - changed consumer demand."
Enterprises, the new hunting grounds for experience design.
"The problem today is that this bastion of the Industrial Revolution remains as businesses try to mobilize their human capital for the content demands of an always connected marketplace. Further complicating matters, workforce downsizing and the flattening of corporate hierarchies in the mid 1990's continues to cripple many organizations in their ability to deliver the content needed to be successful in the Information Age."
Disclosure: I work at Informaat (The Netherlands).
"Digital strategy touches every fiber of your operation. We firmly believe that it takes a systematic approach that's woven into your organizational fabric to deliver compelling customer experiences - an approach comprising a recurring cycle of ideation, design, development and evaluation (...) The Design Factory is a methodical, structured design capability that comprises people, processes and tools. It infuses your organization with the creativity, agility and efficiency to successfully execute your digital strategy - from conceiving innovative solutions through to using robust and scalable approaches for design and specification."
And a mess it is.
Or, Why I Didn't Get to See Many Palms in Palm Springs - "Content is innovation; Content everywhere raises new questions for credibility and ethics; We're in this content mess together - and we'll fix it together."
ROI ('return-on-investment') is this weird bean counter concept addressing the question what do you buy, in atoms or in bits.
"The idea that content contributes to the bottom line is no longer a novel idea. I can't really blame management for their skepticism; after all, what has been rather thin in public discourse about the benefits of content is the actual ROI."
"Contents is a digital magazine devoted to content strategy, online publishing, and new-school editorial work. We publish each issue gradually, over several weeks. Each issue explores a central theme; each piece offers a different angle. We're glad you're here."
A nice practice case with a few exceptions to the rule.
"There are two explanations for the endemic publishing paralysis. Either no one has made a good CMS yet - perhaps putting words and pictures on pages is the limit of our engineering capacities - or the CMS is a broken concept."
(Erik Hinton ~ TPM)
"Creating a world class BBC Online depends on teams from diverse backgrounds working together, and this demands clear and consistent terminology, processes, and governance structures across all products in the BBC Online portfolio. The Product Lifecycle Management provides a framework for collaboration between technical and editorial disciplines." (BBC)
"One of the things that stands out for me in any consideration of 'content strategy' is that it is centered upon the business goals of the organization. It sounds almost painfully obvious but grim reality shows us that it is not as obvious as it sounds. A content strategy should bring to the fore the idea that the content must be expressly designed and developed so as to address specific business objectives. This content must also, it follows, be designed to work with and leverage the tools that are being used, such as the search technology that a customer or prospect is most likely to call upon when looking for an answer. (...) the content strategist must take on board a raft of considerations and then chart an efficient and effective path of content investment." (Joe Gollner ~ The Fractal Enterprise)
"(...) is content which is not limited to one purpose, technology or output. It's content that is structurally rich and semantically aware, and is therefore discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable. It's content that helps you and your customers get the job done. It's content that works for you and it's limited only by your imagination." (Ann Rockley ~ The Content Wrangler)
"One of the challenges facing anyone considering a content strategy, whether on the scale of a single web offering or a global enterprise, is sustainability. It is only with intelligent content that it becomes possible to talk about a sustainable enterprise content strategy. Automation can be used to minimize the time, effort and money needed to apply a good content strategy. However, automation doesn’t just happen. Content must be consciously designed to support it. An intelligent content strategy establishes a coherent plan under which content will be designed, developed and deployed so as to achieve maximum benefit to the customer and the organization while minimizing the cost to the organization." (Ann Rockley and Joe Gollner ~ ASIS&T Bulletin Dec. 2010 Jan. 2011)
"Designing and indeed front-end development for a website that will have content edited by non-technical users poses some problems over and above those you will encounter when developing a site where you have full control over the output mark-up. However, most clients these days want to be able to manage their own content, so most designers will find that some, if not all, of their designs end up as templates in some kind of CMS." (Rachel Andrew ~ Smashing Magazine)
"The rise of content strategy is dealing the content management industry a huge kick up the backside. In the web's Wild West era, the CMS was run by the IT department—or sometimes a lone webmaster who knew HTML—so CMS choices were based on features, price, and cultural fit, rather than web or content strategy. It was the classic IT drill: selection committees, feature matrices, and business lunches with men wearing neckties." (Jonathan Kahn ~ A List Apart)
"(...) most of today’s intranets primarily consist of pre-produced information resources which are intended to serve information needs which can be anticipated in advance. They aim to serve people who perform predefined and repeatable tasks. These intranets are push platforms. As such they might work well for repeatable routine work where the information needs can be defined in advanced, but they are quite dysfunctional for knowledge work. It’s not a coincidence that many knowledge workers find it much easier to find information on the web than in their internal systems and that the intranet plays a marginal role in their daily work." (Oscar Berg ~ The Content Economy) | courtesy of @everbass
"For a long time, content was typically left for last and given so little thought. I'm happy to say that the situation is changing. Content and content strategy are hot topics now (...) Content strategy means thinking strategically about your content. It means planning the content, coordinating content over the entire web site, and managing content over time." - (Louis Rosenfeld - Rosenfeld Media)
"The school of content management brought us such developments as portals, customization, personalization, and distributed publishing. These management-free, technology-driven solutions have led to public websites and intranets teeming with poor quality, badly organized, out-of-date content." - (Gerry McGovern)
"I'd say that one of the biggest, hairiest questions I'm getting asked (ed. on content strategy) is how to plan for and govern user-generated content." - (Louis Rosenfeld - Rosenfeld Media)
"In this Manifesto, Contentology is a coined word that, in its strictest etymology, could mean 'the science of content' or 'the study of content'. The word 'Contentology' is supposed to make people stop and think for a moment, and if it sounds absurd, then we have to ask ourselves why it sounds absurd." - (Garth A. Buchholz - Digital Practices)
Bob Boiko (author of the 'Content Management Bible') published various white papers and presentations on Content Management, XML, and Information Architecture. (Metatorial Services)
"Over the years, Avenue A | Razorfish has designed and built enterprise wide intranets for industry leading companies across the United States. In defining the strategy, designing the user experience and building these solutions leveraging enterprise strength software packages, Avenue A|Razorfish has been able to observe not only how enterprise intranets are being implemented and used but also how they are maturing over time. These insights have been encapsulated into a proprietary framework, that shows how, why and with what business benefits intranets grow over of time. The Intranet Maturity Framework, which is described in this report, summarizes best practices along the dimensions of intranet sponsorship, governance, user needs, experience design, technology implementation, training, adoption, and ROI metrics." (Avenue A | Razorfish Enterprise Solutions)
"Content Management Systems promise so much: content is easier to publish, easier to update, and easier to find and use. Lots of promises, but do CMSs really deliver? Masood Nasser examines why Content Management Systems often fail and shows how Information Architecture can come to the rescue." (Masood Nasser - Boxes and Arrows)
"What if, in addition to (or perhaps even instead of) managing content types, templates, and taxonomies, our CM systems managed stakeholders, goals, audiences, information, and publications. What if instead of simply automating Web site creation, our systems managed the full domain of issues involved in collecting and distributing information? Systems these days are quite good at making the details of CM easier, but are no help at all with the big picture. In fact, they leave most organizations with the mistaken idea that they have confronted their CM problems simply be installing a CMS. In this talk, I'll lay out the contours of the full CM domain of issues and discuss what you can do to confront them with or without software." (Bob Boiko - Plone Conference 2006)
"Our mission is to provide a place where expert content developers, technical communicators, information architects, and web designers can come and express their views about the profession. Whether you are publishing an article or commenting on someone else's, or collaborating with others to write an article, or submitting one you have already written, we have a place and the tools for you. These collaborations and resources are created for and by professionals who want to keep up with the important issues in the transformation of technical communication." (KeyContent.org blog)
"Customer-centric content management addresses customer needs at every touchpoint, while driving down content costs and improving processes. This article identifies why we need to move to a customer-centric content management focus and provides an outline of its components." (Ann Rockley - The Rockley Report Dec. 2006) - courtesy of thomhaller
"Content publishing and management can be extremely complex, and therefore not surprisingly hard to do. Having said that, the biggest problems with content management lie not in that complexity, but in how we approach our solutions." (D. Keith Robinson - Vitamin)
"The creation of a localization taxonomy can become a significant piece of an entire CMS implementation project, particularly when your regional offices are in control of their local taxonomies and want to serve local customers in the best way. As you have seen, the concepts available for simple application localization are insufficient for the localization of complex international content. To get it right, you must be prepared for a substantial amount of analysis and the price tag that comes with it." (CMS Watch) - courtesy of columntwo
"Bringing more science to content management is in no way dumbing down. Rather, it is about getting smart." (Gerry McGovern)
"Management is the pursuit of the best way. Content is an increasingly important resource and activity within organizations. It is time it was professionally managed." (Gerry McGovern)
"The volume of product-related information in companies is increasing by leaps and bounds. The reason is the growing multiplicity of products, software and services that require explanation. After the EU enlargement, not only large companies, even small and medium-sized enterprises must come to terms with the multiplier effect of multiple languages. The challenge is to keep the information across the company both consistent and free of redundancy, to make it universally available, to publish it on paper as well as electronically, and to bring out the different language versions as simultaneously as possible. Companies that have not mastered the art of overcoming these challenges must suffer additional costs and time pressure in handling quality problems that are becoming more and more difficult to solve." (Daniela Straub and Michael Fritz - tekom slides)
The first podcasts on content management systems: (1) Ann Rockley (Founding President, The Rockley Group) on Enterprise Content Management and (2) Bob Boiko (President, Metatorial Services Inc.) on 'WordSoup'. (Hosted by Lisa Welchman - About CMSAdvisor) - courtesy of columntwo
"Web content management and data/document management require very different approaches. Data management is about storage; web content management is about using content to make the sale, deliver the service, and build the brand." (Gerry McGovern)
"I created this graphic to give everyone a starting point, a point of common understanding. The graphic depicts how enterprise information architecture (EIA) relates to enterprise content management (ECM). I originally envisioned the two things as being part of the same overall process, but I came to a realization that they are better understood as two separate activities." (James Melzer) - courtesy of bloug
"This article focuses on the nuts and bolts of identifying content and coralling it in such a way that you have what you need when it comes time to populate your CMS. The key to achieving this goal is a process called the Content Inventory." (Kassia Krozser - alt tags) - courtesy of columntwo
"As the market for content management technology continues to grow, so too do the ways in which organizations seek to use content management. What began as a market focused on web content management has grown to include document management, digital asset management, and records management. What has emerged along with this growth is the use of the umbrella term Enterprise Content Management (ECM) to describe a broad, enterprise-class platform of content management technology that can handle all kinds of content." (Bill Tripp - The Gilbane Report) - courtesy of elearningpost
"The information technology (IT) industry fundamentally doesn't understand the true value of web content. This lack of understanding is just one more reason why IT will continue to decline in influence over the next five years." (Gerry McGovern)
"The biggest mistake in content management is writing for the organization and not for the reader. It is one of the hardest mistakes to correct, but there are ways to ensure that you don’t make it." (Gerry McGovern)
"Web content management will continue its shift away from a technology focus towards a content one. 2005 will be the year when the professional editor will be given more responsibility in running the website." (Gerry McGovern)
"2004 was a year when web content came of age, as more and more organizations recognized it as an asset, not some commodity. More and more organizations have begun to put content first, technology second." (Gerry McGovern)
"Ultimately, a content management system should be designed to empower writers and editors to do content creation and maintenance themselves. I'd like to see it taken a step further: Empower designers, information architects, and site owners with the ability to make the CMS work for them." (Jeffrey Veen - Adaptive Path)
"You must be able to stand over everything that is published on your website and say that it is all accurate and up-to-date. Trust is a fundamental building block of professional web content management." - (Gerry McGovern)
"Open source content management software sucks. It sucks really badly. The only things worse is every commercial CMS I've used. But it really doesn't have to be that way." (Jeffrey Veen)
"(...) content management is essential to organizations of every type. It harvests and promotes both financial and human value for the companies and organizations that can tap its potential. CM Pros is a membership organization that fosters the sharing of content management information, practices, and strategies." (About CM Pros)
"At the heart of managing content for re-use, however lies the job of exposing the underlying structure of that information. This article is meant to serve as an introductory primer on how to define and use information structure when managing content." (Kay Ethier and Scott Abel - CMS Watch) - courtesy of columntwo
"Building CSS editing features into our content management systems allows us to make style changes as easily as we make content changes. In the future, managing the design of a Web site at the tactical level will be as easy and efficient as managing content." (Victor Lombardi - Digital Web Magazine)
"One of the biggest problems websites face is that they lack proper planning in the design and development phase. Generally, the design of the website tends to overreach, in that what is built requires more staff to professionally manage than are available." (Gerry McGovern)
"News articles and Web directories represent some of the most popular and commonly accessed content on the Web. Information designers normally define categories that model these knowledge domains (i.e. news topics or Web categories) and domain experts assign documents to these categories. The paper describes how machine learning and automatic document classification techniques can be used for managing large numbers of news articles, or Web page descriptions, lightening the load on domain experts." (Rafael A. Calvo et al. - Journal of Digital Information Vol 5.2)
"If your website tries to be all things to all people, it will fail. It’s very easy on the Web to try to do too much. You need to relentlessly focus on what most of your readers do most of the time. Don’t let anything else get in the way." (Gerry McGovern)
"Then something is new, we need to approach it in an exploratory manner. We need to experiment and try things out. And so it has been with the Web. That period is now over. We need to move from seeing our websites as a series of projects, to managing them as a well-planned process." (Gerry McGovern)
"The Semantic Web is an on-going large-scale effort to improve the current architecture of the World Wide Web by adding a semantic infrastructure to web resources that can be used for sophisticated data-oriented applications. As its basis, we identify metadata, or information about information, that unambiguously specify machine-understandable facts about web resources." (Judy Glick-Smith - The Rockley Report)
"If you've fallen into the trap of thinking of databases as 'structured' information, and files as 'unstructured' information, you're not alone." (Joseph Martins - Data Mobility Group)
"This is more than just a way to manage content, it's the beginning of a content strategy - a plan for how your site will respond to your customers, inform them, and help them make decisions that will ultimately increase their loyalty to you and your site." (Jeffrey Veen - Adaptive Path)
"Most organizations don't need content management software. Unless you have a very busy website with lots and lots of content being published, the return on investment is not there. The majority of those who do require such software need a very simple, streamlined solution." (Gerry McGovern)
"Content reuse is fundamental to a successful unified content strategy. This chapter defines content reuse and the benefits of its use.It explores how other industries have employed reuse for decades to improve their processes and the quality of their products." (Ann Rockley - The Rockley Group)