So Many Elements, So Little Time

Who would have thought a few weeks ago that I’d have any idea about content strategy? On top of that, I had absolutely no clue how many facets there were to it. This blog will concentrate on some of the people behind the scenes of content strategy and their individual roles in making it all happen.

So much of what we do is group work and it can be challenging at times. The folks I’ve listed below all need to collaborate and work well together but unlike some other industries, they have incredibly small amounts of time to produce and execute their work.

  • User Experience
  • Design
  • Information Architecture
  • Copywriting
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Marketing
  • Business stakeholders

User Experience

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This work is so freaking cool. Mostly it’s research to figure out people’s behaviors and motivation. User-Centered Design is what drives this research. It ranges from basic interviews and surveys to first click testing and prototypes. This type work can be very impactful on design and content based on the results.

Design

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The design for your project is incredibly important and giving the designer a clear understanding of what the vision is for the project is the key. The designer needs to know the who/why/what/when/how in order to produce that integral piece of the puzzle.

Information Architecture

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Information Architecture provides the backbone to the project. It gives the project structure and form that no other piece can do but of course they all need to intersect to truly come to life. Seems to me that IA needs to use the user experience data to create a highly functioning product.

Copywriting

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So it’s probably horrible to admit that I didn’t even know exactly what a copywriter did until earlier today? Well, there, I admitted it. So the learning outcomes for this blog is now I know, woo hoo! Copywriting is the execution of ideas; content strategy is their organization and measurement. Seems like these jobs can blend together at times but also need to be separate to have great success.

Search Engine Optimization

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So I didn’t have time to read everything out there on SEO and I’m getting the feeling like there could be a whole college degree created around the topic.  SEO is all about hits and visibility.  How many people can you get to your product.  It’s just like in the old days when companies would try tricks like AAAAAA Moving Company just so they would be the first listing in the ole phone book.

Marketing

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The marketing piece to the puzzle is there to support the content and to push it out there for all to see.  Content is always most important but if it’s not marketed well, you’re sunk!

Overall, each area needs a strong team or at least one person’s focus to be successful.  I can’t see where you can cut out any of these areas at all.  What kills me is how I didn’t know anything about all these huge fields that are out there until I started this class.

 

3 Reasons Why Your Blog Posts Blow

(Image courtesy of George Redgrave)

If the only comments on your blog are from spammers advertising the latest scams, there may be an opportunity to improve the quality of your blog posts. Only the blog and its postings should be doing the advertising. Fortunately, the very nature of a blog makes it an inexpensive, 24/7 online marketing campaign for a company or organization. Unfortunately, just as there are brilliant marketing campaigns, there are others that make you ask yourself, “What were they thinking?” Don’t let your blog become the latter.

5 Ws

Remember when we learned the Five Ws in school — who, what, where, when, and why? Just as these 5 questions are used to tell a story, they can also be used to create a better blog post:

  1. Who is your target audience for the blog post? Author Yvonne Lyons noted in “Blogging: 34 Things that You’re Doing Wrong” that you cannot create content, if you don’t know your audience,
  2. What is the story you are trying to share? In the “The Ultimate Guide to Blogging,” author Joe Pulizzi recommends creating useful and interesting content that moves the reader to respond. Such Calls to Action include commenting, sharing, or connecting through social media.
  3. Where does the blog post fit in terms of the content categories? A regular column may result out of frequent topics and/or posts.
  4. When do you share your content? The latest trending topic will not always apply to your brand so developing an editorial calendar will help you schedule relevant content continuously.
  5. Why are you sharing the blog post? If the post, doesn’t relate to your brand, then focus on one that does.

TL;DR ( Too Long; Didn’t Read)

(Image courtesy of Clint Hamada)

I’m sure that this phrase has appeared in the comments section of a few blogs that you visited. The fact that someone would rather respond to his/her fellow commenters than read your blog post is a bad sign—especially when the commenter clearly states that one issue is the post is too long. As Dotmarketing points out in their best practices piece “Writing for the Web,” a person tends not to read every word that appears in a blog post and instead scans it. Yes, the hours spent agonizing over writing the perfect post will most likely result in only a quick read through by the intended reader. So keep your post short (between 400 – 1000 words) to allow the reader to enjoy your post during a break. If a visitor is willing to take time out to scan your blog for a few minutes during their busy day, then honor his/her time.

Like, +1, RT

(Image courtesy of Melbourne Streets Avant-garde)

After following my earlier recommendations, you have created your best blog post yet. You post your masterpiece on your blog, pat yourself on the back, and call it a day.

Not so fast.

Remember your only previous commenter was some mother from Springfield who makes $77 an hour on the Internet.  I’m sure that she’s a lovely lady, but she’s not your target audience. You need to find your true audience.

  1. Help Google find your blog post.

Find out the most frequently used search terms that relates to your blog post and then incorporate these popular terms within your blog post title, content, and tags.

2.   Use social sites to spread the word.

The Ultimate Guide to Blogging,” author Joe Pulizzi suggests doing things like asking people on Twitter to help promote your blog. Another suggestion was to use social bookmarking sites like Digg to post your content, which will hopefully be shared by others.

3.  Post helpful comments on similar blogs.

A quality comment can help you develop relationships within the same community (fellow bloggers and commenters alike), generate traffic to your blog, and will hopefully create a new audience following.

My hope is that these tips will help get the word about your great organization or company. With so many blogs currently out there with new ones continuing to be added, it is getting harder to be seen on the Internet.  However, if you follow the 5 Ws, keep it short, and then spread the word, you can develop a faithful legend of followers and not just spammers.