Whew! That Content Strategy Final Project is Done!

Whew!

My content strategy final project is finally done!

Over the course of the semester, I’ve come to think of content strategy as something quite different than it initially appears. I think that’s because since I work with content all the time, and create it all the time, I believe I should have good insights into how to craft an effective online strategy.

Good Work, But Hard Stuff

Maybe I do; but I seem to have to really work hard at it. I can say that content strategy doesn’t come easily for me. I think it’s one of those “lowest common denominator” things. Content strategy is pared down. It’s expression of thought in its simplest and unadorned forms. It’s streamlined and unencumbered look at what a site is (the analysis) where it wants to go (the objectives) and how it’s going to get there (the strategic steps). I know that in my head, but somehow my thinking (or maybe my overthinking) clouds the plain view, and makes it more complex of a situation.

Brewbooks./flickr - via Wired.com

Image: Brewbooks via flickr; from Wired.com

AC vs DC Wiring?

I think some of my difficulty in paring things down to the basics—or the “nitty gritty” as someone else called it in a blog post for this course—is due to the way I’m wired mentally.

TMI.

Too many ideas.

Too much information.

I get excited about a project and get all kinds of ideas at once. So while I was supposed to be focused on an online strategy for the Erie Canal Brewing company, I kept getting lots of other great ideas popping into my head –flooding in, actually.These just weren’t content types and ideas (some were).

  • They were great visuals
  • New graphic looks
  • Ideas for Mule mascots
  • Added ways to engage more community partners.
  • They built on the owner’s already-great themes for connecting the business to the community, to the customer, and to the products they produce.

Forest For The Trees

That’s where things start to clog up for me – a “forest for the trees” problem, you might say. I know strategy is different from tactics, and how that’s so. I know marketing is different from concepts, but they’re also related.

notesThen I have trouble sorting – putting the right things in the right buckets. You might say I’m mentally organizationally challenged.

growlersI tend to want to capture everything. Of course, all those ideas can be turned into great content. (But after the strategy, the foundation of it all, has been established).

Mules, mule history, mule exhibits, mule songs, and on and on…ideas that can be content types and content ideas — all great inspiration for components of content. But where’s the strategy gone to, in and amongst all those thoughts?

That’s been my struggle as I’ve tried to boil down all the info I gleaned from my client interview, along with the site analytics, social channel assessment, competitor analysis, and best practices reminders from our books.

There’s a Plan in There

Regardless, I think I worked through it and came out with a plan. Luckily, I recall that our book, “Content Strategy for the Web,” authors Halvorson and Rach write, “There are no hard and fast rules for what a core strategy looks like.”

content bookWhether mine is an excellent and executable strategy, we’ll find out!

Thanks, Jenn and Kelly, for another great course! You have a knack for taking what seems like “in the wild blue yonder” and bringing it down to earth. Our lessons have been interesting, engaging, but never easy. The course has presented challenge. It’s made me change much of my way of thinking about content.

Although I’m feeling like a bit of a mushed-together mess right now from the mind-numbingness of a marathon weekend of finishing my project, those things seem just like what a good, rigorous graduate-school course should do!

 

 

 

 

 

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