Binge Reading

Dec 27, 2013


It’s the time of year to indulge before buckling down to work again in the new year. If reading is one of your favorite winter activities, then this is one overflowing season of content. Blog Secret Santa scheduled 49 gift blog posts from content strategy professionals around the world, posting to each other’s blogs along with a link list that keeps Twitter 

streams rolling in stories. What are we to do with this windfall?

Read ALL the Things

Personal stories about work—especially work from such a passionate community—are guilty pleasures. Instead of keeping your head clear of work, you can do the opposite and revel in it. Count down to the New Year with Ahava Leibtag’s votes for Top Ten Content Strategy Articles of 2013. If you feel the need to go way over the top, Steven Wilson-Bealescollected the best links of the weeks for weeksHis blog is a treasure chest of relevant reads.

We’re Not Afraid of No Audit: Our Personal Faves

Content audits were featured in some classic articles we expect to see in 2014 Content Strategy curricula. Donna Spencer, an early reporter from the Information Architecture field, knows her content audits. Her updated take in UX Mastery, “How to Conduct a Content Audit,” is a great starter guide.

Taking it to the next level and writing about content’s relationship to design and code, Sara Wachter-Boettcherdemonstrated that “Content Knowledge is Power.” It’s how we get from understanding content to creating structures that truly serve all the users: content creators and managers, search engines, and customers.

Channel that Inspiration and Play

Maybe all the reading is making you itch for a little content strategy project? Grab some post-its and pens or a laptop and a quiet corner and do some secret content strategy work of your own. 

Get editorial. Calendar, that is. We love post-its and a wall for plotting out ideas. When topics are written out in their shortest form, you can hold them up and make sure they connect to a business goal or campaign and an audience. Best of all, you can move them around and fit them in where they make the most sense in terms of your personal schedule.

Bust out a card sort. Maybe your messaging architecture is calling you, begging for structure. Are there visions of content types dancing through your head? As Margot Bloomstein says, “words are cheaper than comps.” A few index cards and some time can get them all in front of you. Then, you’ll be ready to run the activity with your clients or colleagues, where the real conversation gets work done.  Running through your navigation, labels or key content groups can also elicit new ideas; you might even be able to convince others that a card sort is a game and get them to play along. Maybe we’re thinking of a Cards Against Humanity card sort. In which case…

Start that content inventory. Our robot elves are happy to prepare your website inventory so you can start auditing right away. Before you see the results, though, think about the one or two questions you’d really like to answer first about your content. For example, what can you tell from the analytics? What will you need to build qualitative measures around? Write a few notes on what you’d like most to evaluate and then…

Take a Break

You may also choose to forget about it (for now.) All this awesome content will still be here next year. Sometimes, we’re most inspired when we put work out of our minds completely and just enjoy a good break with family, friends, pets, or long-awaited alone time.  So, when you choose break, we hope you give it all of your attention and enjoy.

From all of us at Content Insight to all of you, Happy Holidays. See you next year! 

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