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Everything You Need to Create a Content Strategy – Monday, November 8

Get your site’s content under control with an effective strategy

Kristina Halvorson

Kristina Halvorson
Founder of Brain Traffic and author of Content Strategy for the Web

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What’s the breakdown of the day?

Morning: Fundamentals of Content Strategy and the Key Discovery & Analysis Tools

Kristina starts the day with the fundamentals of content strategy—think of it as Content Strategy 101. You’ll learn what it is and what it takes to make it successful. She’ll explain the elements of a core strategy: substance, structure, workflow, and governance.

Next, Kristina will demonstrate one of Content Strategy’s most important tools: the quantitative audit. You’ll practice with a fun exercise, designed specifically to help you learn the critical nuances of the technique.

You’ll then move on to another important deliverable: the content ecosystem analysis. This tool helps you see content as something more than just user experience. You’ll look directly at all the internal and external factors that affect your content creation, delivery, and governance (such as workflow, employee responsibilities and skill sets, stakeholder agendas, and competitor efforts). Understanding how the content lives (and when it dies) within your organization’s ecosystem will give you a foundation for making many of the important decisions in your strategy.

Afternoon: Substance, Structure, Workflow, and Governance—Making it all happen

After lunch, you’ll dive into your content’s substance and structure. Kristina will show you the techniques for identifying your core strategy. You’ll assemble message and content requirements. Learn the magic behind the page table and how it gives you new perspectives into your content’s structure.

Next, you’ll focus on the implementation of your strategy. Kristina will help you evaluate your workflow options by identifying your content’s requirements. She’ll show you the important relationship between substance and workflow: substance (content requirements) creates a need for resources that needs to be accommodated by the workflow.

To round out the day, Kristina will show you how to introduce and identify content governance into your organization. Who gets to request content? Who needs to approve it? How often will the site be updated? What happens to outdated content? Governance is key to getting your content under control.

Does your team face these problems?

  • Projects blow up in the 11th hour because the content isn’t ready. (“Really? It takes more than a few minutes to write all of that?”)
  • The content your organization produces often prevents users from getting what they need.
  • Content exists that has nothing to do with your users’ needs, yet eats up important production and maintenance resources.
  • Outdated and incorrect information still exists because no one is responsible for updates.
  • The site’s messaging is conflicting because nobody monitors the big picture across the entire organization.
  • The efforts of SEO, UX, and marketing are all silos, creating tension when one group wants to move forward.

Why content strategy?

Content is the soul of a web site. When you remove the article text, headline words, pictures, and video from CNN.com, you’re left with a useless shell of a site. If you remove the product descriptions, reviews, and prices from Amazon, it’s no longer interesting to shop there.

Make sure you have the right content for the right people at the right time in the right place.

Our site’s content draws our audience and fulfills our organization’s objectives. Yet, when we’re thinking about what our site does and how it works, we rarely talk about the vast effort it takes to provide great experiences through the content.

Kristina will show you how the newest thinking behind content strategy helps us tackle the entire life cycle of our site’s content. Armed with a combination of new techniques and proven off-the-shelf methods, content strategists coordinate the full gamut of activities, from analyzing needs through writing copy to removing old information. While few of the specific activities are new to the scene, putting together a big-picture overview of the entire process, coordinating everyone involved, and ensuring nothing that gets through the cracks is a big deal.

How will content strategy change your future?

Once your content strategy is in place, you’ll save time and money with your new operational efficiencies. Owners can now plan effectively and see tremendous benefits by eliminating redundancies in the workstream. They’ll know what works as they apply new benchmark metrics and monitor the site’s analytics for important content-driven key performance indicators.

A great content strategy rescues your organization from the pitfalls of ad-hoc improvisation.

You’ll empower your team with a solid understanding of policies and standards to use. The writers and content owners will know how to judge content requests and measure quality. You’ll have less content to worry about, which, in turn, creates less content rot.

Most importantly, your site will provide a better experience for your users. The users will finally have what they want, where they want it, and in ways that are relevant and usable.

What makes this workshop exciting?

Kristina’s workshop will reinvent the way you manage your site’s content. For the first time, you’ll have a framework where you can discuss and resolve the challenges from managing the enterprise boatload of site content.

“OMG! This is exactly what I want to do at my work. I didn’t know it had a name.”

You’ll walk out the door with content-driven strategies you can put into place right away. Now you’ll have the superpower to spot content challenges when they arise and resolve them with confidence. No more scrambling at the project kickoff, because now you’ll know exactly what to ask for.

The exercises will give you solid tools you can use right away. You’ll learn how to prepare key deliverables, such as a qualitative audit and a content ecosystem analysis. And you’ll learn how these deliverables produce the insights you’ll need to construct and execute your content strategy.

Why did we pick Kristina?

Kristina’s written the book on Content Strategy. No, seriously. It’s called Content Strategy for the Web and it’s the definitive guide on the subject.

Nobody knows more about Content Strategy than Kristina Halvorson.

Kristina is a hoot to listen to. We could sit and just take in everything she has to say. Her energy is completely intoxicating. She knows her stuff and will have a great answer for every question you have.

Her work as the founder of Brain Traffic—the premier content strategy agency—puts her right in the center of the scene. She has her finger on the pulse of this growing area, and understands exactly what it takes to make a great strategy happen. If you need to get your content under control then you’ll need to talk to Kristina.

What’s the next step?

If Kristina’s workshop isn’t quite what you’re looking for, explore the other 7 workshops. There’s also a whole day of Featured Talks with all the UI15 experts.