The fine folks of Content Strategy PDX (#cspdx) and the Thetus Corporation of Portland provided PDX content strategists a chance to hear Scott Abel talk about The Content Strategy Trap.

Abel warned of silos that lead to the trap:

"Avoiding it is a challenge. Overcoming it is something else!"

Silos appear when departments work within their own bulwarks, walling off collaboration and communications. It’s easy to do when you’re deep in the weeds with a project. It can also inadvertently make your role at an organization to not mean much, especially if all that’s being done is theory and no real results-driving practices.

The trap is getting stuck in a silo, theorizing and planning without actually producing any results.

Rather than sit in a silo and making employers wonder if you’re worth your salt, Abel advocates for content strategists to ensure that they’re making great cases for changes that bring value. No matter what the organizational size or depth of the content project, Abel wants us all to be sure we’re doing what we can that leads back to value.

Keeping an eye on emerging trends and having the willingness to adapt.

Abel made a great point about how emerging technologies are applying great pressures to organizations to invest in content solutions that provide results.

There are all kinds of technologies out there to get content out to the masses. When organizations choose teams and solutions and don’t work, organizations will simply let ineffective design and development teams go. It’s not that they didn’t like the talent, but more likely because the results weren’t there.

This point drew a natural connection to where the dangers of silos come into play. I imagine that a work environment with little to no alignment between content strategists, developers and other communicators leads to batches of ineffective work. In contrast, when alignment is in full effect, each individual part of sustainable content development, from planning to launch, yields greater results.

Abel’s anecdotes and points emphasize the need to practice being nimble and agile, adapting to changes in the web content environment. It’s way more than touting best practices and turning manuals into PDFs and accessible web pages. Industries need content that accomplishes their business objectives while serving people that matter to them.

These industries yearn for accountable, nimble strategists and web professionals who can lend a hand.

To illustrate the need for agility and adaptability in the marketplace, he used iFixit as a case study throughout his presentation. iFixit began as an e-commerce site for spare tech parts. After learning that simply being another e-commerce site wasn’t enough, they branched out into publishing DIY manuals.

They made this content sharable, embeddable and editable. Now they’re a publishing powerhouse with an intellectual, DIY-savvy user base contributing revenue-driving content for them.

Content Strategy Workshops PDX… this October!

Abel is super entertaining and drives points home with case studies and his own brand of humor.

His point of view is a firm reminder that the craft is more than just best practices and methods at creating great content. The great content also has to provide value and results.

He’s making a return trip to PDX for Content Strategy Workshops on October 9th and 10th.

If you’re going to be there, do let me know. I’d love to take you out for a coffee or beer and talk shop.