What is Content Strategy, Anyway?…

What is Content Strategy, Anyway?

At the intersection of user experience design, content management, business analysis and technical communication, content strategy is an emerging discipline that has grown rapidly in popularity over the last year. It is also becoming famous (infamous?) for being very hard to define. I’ve been looking for a coherent defintion to post on this site for a long time now, and all I can find are explanations about how no one can commit to one simple definition. I, personally, find this a bit amusing. 😉

Kristina Halvorson of Brain Traffic knows what I mean. She gave us a review for a workshop she is presenting at Content Strategy Forum 2010 in Paris this April by defining the difficulty folks are having in defining it:

“What is “content strategy”? Go ahead. Pick a definition. This practice (in one form or another) has been around for more than a decade, but somehow we haven’t quite agreed on what it is, how it should work, and why it really matters.

“One thing everyone does agree on: dealing with web content is hard. It’s complicated, expensive, time-consuming, and often overwhelming. There’s new content. Legacy content. User-generated content. Print to web. Text to video. Static to dynamic. The list goes on and on.”

While this may not be your idea of a definitive definition, it points out how wide the field is and how much there is to be reigned in into one simple definition. Maybe the official definition will have to wait, as there’s so much content strategy work to do that it almost seems trivial to spend too much time agonising over a formal definition.

In the next while, I’m going to be looking at what this field is really about, who the players are, where the resources are to learn more about it and how to use this knowledge to add to the wider world of Technical Communication.

Kristina will be presenting a Workshop, Content Strategy: Purpose and Practice, and a keynote speech: From Technical Communicator to Content Strategist at the Content Strategy 2010 Forum in Paris on 15-16 April 2010. It would be great to see you there too!

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