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The Truth About Content: Broken Dreams and the Big Fix


The marketing pundits made you a promise: create the content, promote it everywhere, and watch the money roll in. Now you’re stuck with a vast wasteland of unread, unwatched content. What’s the next right move? More promotion? Different content? Can AI help? Fact is, content is a complex beast, and we need to treat it as such. Come learn about a smart strategic framework that will finally help you manage content with confidence, now and in the future.

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The Truth About Content: Broken Dreams and the Big Fix

  1. 1. The Truth About Content: Broken Dreams and the Big Fix Kris%na Halvorson March 10, 2018 SXSW @halvorson
  2. 2. 4:14 PM - 9 August 2014
  3. 3. 6 Ways to Wipe Up Any Mess
  4. 4. Studies show paper napkins bring families together
  5. 5. 10 Easy Ways To Store Paper Towels
  6. 6. Aw snap.
  7. 7. One month later…
  8. 8. What happened?
  9. 9. Vision Mission Goal Strategy Objec4ve Tac4c Target
  10. 10. Vision Mission Goal Strategy Objec4ve Tac4c Target Vision Ideal future state Mission What we exist to do Goal Long-term measurable outcome Strategy Key iniIaIve to create meaningful change Objec4ve Shorter-term measurable outcome Tac4c AcIvity to achieve objecIves Target Metric for success
  11. 11. Vision Mission Goal Strategy Objec4ve Tac4c Target Vision GP paper products in every home Mission To clean up every body’s mess Goal LiQ consumer product revenue by 5% Strategy Content markeIng Objec4ve Publish 1,400 arIcles Tac4c Hire Meredith Targets “Consumer engagement”
  12. 12. This is not a content strategy.
  13. 13. Content strategy guides the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.
  14. 14. • Define • PrioriIze • Integrate • SystemaIze • Measure
  15. 15. Content design uses data and evidence to give the audience what they need, at the %me they need it, and in a way they expect.
  16. 16. Editorial • What is our editorial mission? • Who are our target audiences? • What is our point of view? • What brand and language standards do we need to comply with? • What is our voice and tone? • What is our publishing cadence?
  17. 17. Experience • What are our users’ needs and preferences? • What does our content ecosystem look like? • What are our customers’ journeys? • What formats will our content take? • How will design pa^erns shape our content on mobile and beyond? • What metrics will we use to measure performance?
  18. 18. Systems design is the process of defining the architecture, modules, and data for a system to saIsfy specified requirements.
  19. 19. Structure • How will we organize content for browse-and-find? • What tags are most intuiIve for users? • How will we categorize content for efficient management? • How will we structure our content for future reuse? • What are the requirements for personalizaIon, dynamic delivery, AI?
  20. 20. Process • How will content move through its lifecycle? • What tools will we use to create, deliver, and maintain content? • How and when do we care for our exisIng content? • Who gets to say “no”?
  21. 21. • Define • PrioriIze • Integrate • SystemaIze • Measure
  22. 22. 1. Reset.
  23. 23. This is now.
  24. 24. It’s okay to scrap stuff.
  25. 25. 2. Get aligned.
  26. 26. Vision Ideal future state Mission What we exist to do Goal Long-term measurable outcomes Strategy Path to success Objec4ve Shorter-term measurable outcomes Tac4c AcIviIes to achieve objecIves Target Metrics for success
  27. 27. 3. (Actually) know your audience.
  28. 28. • Phone interviews • Onsite interviews • Usability tesIng • Website polls • Social listening • Keyword trends • Website search analysis • Customer service conversaIons
  29. 29. 4. Establish common systems and standards.
  30. 30. • Editorial mission • Style guide • Messaging architecture • Publishing calendar • Needs-based personas • Page templates and tables • Microcopy • Taxonomy • Content models • Authoring interface • Content reuse • Workflow and roles • Tools • Governance plan Content design Systems design
  31. 31. 5. Beware the silver bullet.
  32. 32. By 2018, 20 percent of business content will be authored by machines. “ – Gartner, Inc. 2016 predicIons
  34. 34. ✓ Reliable source of data and content ✓ Accurate informaIon that’s suited to the applicaIon ✓ Framework for organizing the informaIon
  35. 35. 1. Structure your content. 2. Write like a person. 3. Clean up your house.
  36. 36. There’s a deeply-held view within technology culture that people are the problem that technology is going to fix … “ – Gerry McGovern “Quality InformaIon Requires Quality People”
  37. 37. … Technology can help, but without quality people, technology just helps you fill the garbage dump faster. “ – Gerry McGovern “Quality InformaIon Requires Quality People”
  38. 38. What now?
  39. 39. 1.Reset. 2.Get aligned. 3.(Actually) know your audience. 4.Establish common systems and standards. 5.Beware the silver bullet.
  40. 40. Content first. Humans
  41. 41. Thank you. Kris%na Halvorson h^p:// @halvorson