The Making of “The Language of Content Strategy”
Labeled under: Content Strategy
Rahel Anne Baile and Scott Abel spent the last year creating a content strategy/content marketing experience called “The Language of Content Strategy.” It’s a book, a website, and a deck of cards that contain content strategy definitions from 52 working professionals in the industry.
Baile and Abel’s work is a response to the state of vocabulary in the content strategy world. Definitions are currently nebulous. For instance, if asked what a “Content Inventory” is, we might get a few different definitions from practitioners. The project is a means of standardizing the content strategy conversation.
Creating the content was one thing, having the knowledge to produce it was another. Baile and Abel crowd-sourced the definition of 52 content strategy-related terms from industry experts to ensure content quality.
The book is a contribution to the community, by the community, to bring some standardization to the concepts and language about content strategy. It’s a demonstration of a content marketing project utilizing an intelligent content strategy.
Baile and Abel gave us a look at the editorial and technical aspects of the book’s creation for the Intelligent Content Conference 2014 audience.
Baile’s Editorial Notes
The experience is a conversational, informative, and simple two-page definition that readers can immediately consume and use. The production embodies intelligent content principles.
- 250 words, no more, no less
- Concise definitions that fit in the book and on the card
- Consistent spelling and definitions
- Definitions must be at a length that can fit on a playing card
Baile encouraged us to throw away your excuses about governance.
Governance starts as simple as “who gets a login?” and “what are they allowed to do?” It can get more advanced, such as who gets to decide which definition is most accurate in the case of conflicting views? Who strikes that balance?
At the end of the day, governance isn’t about the rules, but ensuring that everyone’s comfortable with the work and the outcome. We should be warned though that projects can sink without proper governance, regardless of size or industry.
Abel’s Technical Notes
Of course, it starts with a solid strategy.
Some Technical Standards
- Every contributor needed to use the same writing environment
- Cards, books, website content needed to use the same source
- Subject Matter Experts & Contributors
- XML Press (pubisher)—structuring the content
- Print book, ebook, website, printed cards, tweets, and slide decks from the same source automatically
- Graphic Artist: brought the brand to life
- Editors: bringing the red pen to action
- Reviewers: read the content across all media
- Indexer: to create the index and evaluate searchability of the book
- XML standard DocBook: DTD (documents type definition)
- Atlassian Confluence: web-based, collaborative authoring
- InDesign: Designing the book, cards
- Metadata: Every contributor is marked up with their respective metadata, adding to searchability and positioning of experts within the topic
- Web Developer Team: Custom export of source content into site with dynamic view of changing weekly terms
All About the Customer Experience
Baile and Abel’s chosen 52 terms for content strategy create a weekly experience of learning and using new terms for an entire year. One term a week allows people to read the book or visit the site at an enjoyable pace.
In the end, it’s about being practical while moving toward a great customer experience.