Content strategy by stealth

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Content strategy by stealthKate ThomasCS Forum, October 2016Good morningThank you CS ForumFreelancing at a digital agencyDigital transformation of Acme Finance:Global insurance / financial investment companyHundreds of years old (the default choice)Losing financial customers to digital disruptersThe most profitable meeting of my lifeFirst meeting with client, SusieThe agency had created a digital transformation strategy six months previouslySome projects were rolling out of thisContent strategy was set up as a separate stream, and I was brought in to helpAcme was losing customers to digital disrupters who were easier to deal with. And on the surface, cheaperMore of a get-to-know-you session than anything else*Writing for the web workshop Tone of voiceContent measurementStructured briefing templatesGovernanceArchiving and retentionTranslation / localisationCentralised? Devolved?Content purpose / strategyConversation with Susie turned to problems shed had with a recent content updateI suggested a writing for the web workshop to helpFor this, wed need to do work on tone of voiceNeed to understand content strategy and purposeThen create briefing templates linking content back to strategic goalsYoull be investing a lot more in content so will want to measure performance and impact and ROIMore people are going to be involved too, so we need to think about access, permissions, approval, who writes, who edits, who has the final sayAnd of course when contents done its job, it needs to come off the site, so well need some rules around sun setting content - what do we have to keep? Who says so? What compliance and legal issues are in play? As youre global, you also need to think about translation and localisationWhat happens centrally? What happens locally? Is authority devolved or centralised? Who makes decisions? Whats relevant for individual markets? How do markets relate to other markets?*Writing for the web workshop Tone of voiceContent measurementStructured briefing templatesGovernanceArchiving and retentionTranslation / localisationCentralised? Devolved?Content purpose / strategyThe what, why, how, when, for whom, by whom, with what, where, how often, what next of content*A global content strategy* Kristina Halvorson, Content strategy for everythingConversation with Susie turned to problems shed had with a recent content updateI suggested a writing for the web workshop to helpFor this, wed need to do work on tone of voiceNeed to understand content strategy and purposeThen create briefing templates linking content back to strategic goalsYoull be investing a lot more in content so will want to measure performance and impact and ROIMore people are going to be involved too, so we need to think about access, permissions, approval, who writes, who edits, who has the final sayAnd of course when contents done its job, it needs to come off the site, so well need some rules around sun setting content - what do we have to keep? Who says so? What compliance and legal issues are in play? As youre global, you also need to think about translation and localisationWhat happens centrally? What happens locally? Is authority devolved or centralised? Who makes decisions? Whats relevant for individual markets? How do markets relate to other markets?*Yes!We have to do this! This is exactly what we need!Says SusieYay! Lets do it!Says I. Huzzah!Says the commercial manager for the agency Huzzah says the commercial manager for the agency. Whos rubbing his hands, as Ive just brought in an unexpected windfall of hundreds of thousands of pounds, over a multiyear engagement. Woo hoo! Content pays!*None of thisSusieFreelancer with some UX experienceMarried to Steve, our main client contactHad been at Acme for six weeksWhat happened next?Like any great boom, there is a bust. Susie, it turns out:An organisation, youll recall, hundreds of years old, full or lifers working towards their pensions who have seen many such initiatives like ours come and go over the years and theyre well practiced at just shuffling papers, ignoring emails, carrying on as they were and not really changing their work practices which are just fine. Thank you very much. From a global, interconnected network of user centred content working hard to achieve strategic objectives, there was instead a slow diminishing of vision to the fatal words:*Well do the content in-house, SusieLike any great boom, there is a bust. Susie, it turns out:An organisation, youll recall, hundreds of years old, full or lifers working towards their pensions who have seen many such initiatives like ours come and go over the years and theyre well practiced at just shuffling papers, ignoring emails, carrying on as they were and not really changing their work practices which are just fine. Thank you very much. From a global, interconnected network of user centred content working hard to achieve strategic objectives, there was instead a slow diminishing of vision to the fatal words:*#failWhat to do: I had grand plans to pay rent and feed and clothe myself - I needed to keep the contract going. But more importantly, the client couldnt achieve what they wanted without this work. So I decided to go dark. I decided to do content strategy by stealth!Which brings me to the six lessons I learned by going undercover.*Lesson 1: Start small (And plan your way out)*What happenedI went too big too soonOf course Acme needed a content strategyEvery digital endeavour needs a content strategyContent strategy = business strategyContent without strategy is just stuffI went too big too soon. Please dont do this.Of course Acme needed a content strategy.Every digital endeavour needs a content strategy. Content strategy = business strategy. Content is what you and I and everyone in the world today uses to make decisions that shape our lives. Its how businesses manifest themselves to the world. So of course it has to be strategic.And in the same way companies make strategic decisions about the number of widgets theyll make this quarter based on customer needs, business goals and marketplace realities, content needs to relate to what customers are looking for, what the business is trying to achieve and whats happening in their particular corner of the world.Content without strategy is just stuff. [https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140210115838-5853751-content-without-strategy-is-just-stuff] Its not tied to strategic goals. Its not being measured, no one knows how long it needs to be on a site to do its job (which isnt written down anywhere, remember). And the client will waste their time and money and not achieve what they want*With five minutes reflectionTheres no way Acme could agree to my plan(With six minutes reflection,I wouldnt have agreed with it ;)Sound and theoretically awesome! Basic assumptions, but meaningless: No genuine user insightNo real client involvementInsight from users and data would all come in good time - Id make it part of my plan.I knew that. But Susie didnt.One of our primary tasks as content strategists is to help translate, demystify and deconstruct digital for clients. Our opinion counts, but were guides, helping clients navigate THEIR digital labyrinth. We need to harness insight and mould into their framework, not assume or dictate it *Break. It. Down.Not present deliverables as faits accomplis.Start with strategy. And dont stop.Base every decision on insight. Be flexible. Be open. Be inclusive. What I would do next time Break. It. Down. No one likes to hear they have 12-months work ahead of them just to get to the start line Do not present deliverables as faits accomplis. Keep deliverables at the service of the strategy. (Otherwise clients will focus on the deliverable, not the work.)Start with strategy. And dont stop. Keep this at the heart of all conversations and work.Base every decision on insight. If this doesnt exist, which it didnt in this case, build intelligence gathering into your plansBe flexible. Be open. Be inclusive. Include stakeholders on the journey; it will make your work more meaningful. (And allows you to demonstrate a show dont tell approach in action, helping educate the client about the work ahead.)*Lesson 2: Find allies (Or, You cant always pick your friends)The main problem with this account was the leadership team at the agency and at Acme. At the agency, directors of:Strategydesign experience They had produced the holy grail of a digital strategy and loved to talk to each other and Steve, the client stakeholder about it. And no one else. All account and major project decisions were made between these four. At weekends, at dinner *LeadershipDirectors of strategy, experience, design+SteveProject governanceNo standard project controls=Competing deadlines, resource strain, duplicationDigital strategyUnderweight+Lacked robustness=No solid foundationI had 3 challenges.A second problem (not unrelated to the first) was that none of the standard project controls were in place. e.g. no coordinated strategic oversightfew fully costed and planned micro projectsno agreed standards or style no roadmap of coordinated deliverySuch poor project governance plus 25 people working on the micro projects for the account meant:competing deadlinesresource strain redundant and duplicate activityAnd then we had the digital strategy itself. This was on the underweight side, lacking robust input from content and user research that meant it was found wanting when put to the test. Which left me and the 25 others working on the account without the solid foundation we needed to guide our work.*A leadership team that didnt want to shareNo access to client stakeholders25 people working 10-hour daysThe account was profitable but chaotic*What I didAligned with others working on the account:Invited myself to meetings for the micro projects Created deliverables for these Interrogated and investigated and asked questions in context of micro projectsFocused on how I could help themI sought out and found allies.I gave up on ever having meaningful client contact. So my chance of decent insight from stakeholder interviews etc had disappearedFortunately, there were quite sensible senior strategists, designers, and project managers amongst the 25, and I worked directly with them. To pick up an point in lesson 1, this is where being flexible and inclusive comes into its own. For me, softening my approach meant I could:Invite myself to meetings for the many micro projects to understand what was happening and seed content strategy adviceCreate deliverables for the micro projects e.g. copy briefs for an appInterrogate and investigate and ask questions in context of the micro projects. (Much easier for colleagues to grasp my meaning at this level rather than the huge beast of a global content strategy.)Work out how I could help them. I was a mere contractor at the agency for only a few months. But these senior staff couldnt just sprinkle some freelancer magic and walk away like I did; they had to deliver a viable product for the client. One that was commercially advantageous for the agency. So the more I could do to help them, the better.*PersistenceBeing consistent in my advice ListeningIgnoring rejectionAcknowledging reality What workedYep. You need a thickish skin, and need to know which battles to pick, as youre not going to win them all.* Lesson 3: Just do it(You dont need a content strategy to do content strategy)*Doing content strategy should not be confused with having a content strategy. Very few organizations have a content strategy.Carrie Hane Dennison @carriehdMy favourite I think of the six lessons. Borrowed from Carrie Hane Dennison. *3 x lunchtime sessions about content strategy14 x content strategy cheat sheetsAligned the editorial style guide with Acmes corporate guideUpdated tone of voice guidelinesGovernance roadmap2 x project briefs for Acmes corporate site, and e-commerce siteWorked with UX to agree landing pages for TV campaignsWhat I didAnd so this is what I did. 25 people working on the account were keen as mustard - talented, super helpful and happy to get stuck in. They were all busy working on the many microprojects and were keen doers, whod all drunk the agency cool juice about how work doesnt count unless its done at midnight. My task was to guide this enthusiasm into more effective channels:Ran 3 x lunchtime sessions presenting on content strategy (Which means there are now 25+ people roaming around London who have a better idea of what content strategy is and how it can be used)Created 15 content strategy cheat sheets, on different topics Aligned the projects editorial style guide with what the client had provided (that was languishing on the server)Updated their 80 slide TOV presentation to a more manageable 20 slides and presented that to the teamWrote a roadmap for them to create a governance framework (from nothing) (Using Lisa Welchmans book, Managing Chaos, as my inspiration) Wrote the SOW for two big mini projects: content strategies for the clients corporate site, and their e-commerce siteMade sure that a related TV campaign had somewhere sensible to land on the client website *Used standard deliverables Cheat sheets created specifically for the agency team to use with AcmeUsed content strategy and the content strategy framework to move projects forward*14 one page cheat sheets covering introductory topics - content strategy, content audit.Plus more conceptually challenging, Adaptive content, Intelligent content 3 sections:What is it?When and how is it helpful?What this means for Acme*Dont let perfect be the enemy of goodSeek forgiveness, dont ask permissionDip into the grab bag of content strategy tools and find something that suitsWhat I learnedDo not let perfect be the enemy of good. Dont wait until all conditions are right or you have been given permission or have orders to go forth and strategize. Another gem from Carrie Hane Dennison (https://gathercontent.com/blog/content-strategy-on-every-budget)(And I'll expect you'll find there'll be no forgiveness asked for.)Theres plenty in there. Create something that suits the context you need.*Lesson 4: Own it(No one else is thinking about content like you are)OK folks. Time to step up.*Re-setting the sceneAcme and the agency: content is king!Words were everywhere! Apps, microsites, design treatments, navigation labelsContent free for all! Lorem ipsum ruled the day!Acme and the agency knew content was the magic bulletEveryone was buy with content: 25 people were creating apps, microsites, design treatments, navigation interfaces in the micro projects. Words were everywhere. And before I worked on the content strategy treats I was just telling you about, it was a content free for all. Lorem ipsum ruled the day!*Which was a problemContent had no value: Acme didnt know what content should be doing, nor how it should soundNo one was thinking about content for the full lifecycle*:Strategic analysisContent collectionContent managementPublication and post-publication maintenancePreservation or re-purposing of content + a loop back to analysis* Robert Rose Content lifecycleEven though Acme knew content was the answer, it had no value. Content wasnt strategic.Robert Rose, content lifecycle (from Language of Content strategy) This is what sets content strategists apart from copy writers, content managers, SEO-ers, UX-ers, project managers, developers, designers who all have a vested interest in and work on content at various times in the project. Content strategy covers the end-to-end process of content; any other discipline is looking at just one or two of these stages.*There are many examples of content life cycles.This is from Rahel Bailie. They vary in detail, but in essence cover the same points.*Respect the lifecycle. Theres no escaping it. Ensure no part is neglected in your strategyDont overwhelm the client at once with everything they have to doTake a need-to-know approach with client stakeholdersBringing the content lifecycle to lifeLike I did!e.g. legal and compliance folk will want a high level view, but the ability to drill down into detail of the lifecycle where needed. But marketing perhaps just creates, and leaves analysis to others*Somewhere in every client organisation there is someone who had spent years preaching what youve been brought in and paid to say.Your agent of change on the insideFind that personRecruit them to your causeMake them an inclusive priorityThere always is. I met the very same at Acme but unfortunately too late in my time there.Ive been that person when Ive worked client side, and have sat in meetings seething with underlying resentmentThat person knows more about the ins and outs of content and how it moves through the organisation than you will ever glean in your stakeholder interviews. Work with them to understand all aspects of the content lifecycles for that organisation. *Lesson 5: Ask for help(It will always be given to those who ask for it) *Safety nets and sure things Real and virtual friends working in content strategy, all generous with knowledge and timeDont fret! When youre not quite sure what to do Call on the goddesses and gods of the content strategy world and they will provideConferences, networking and sharing is how we learnNow, I dont want you to think I made all of this up or just pullet it out of my head. When I do my job, I do so with a safety net of advice and experience underneath me that I know will catch me and bounce me where I need to be.I have many virtual and some real friends in the content strategy community and the one thing they have in common is their generosity of knowledge. When you need to know something, if you think somethings wrong but youre not quite sure how to respond, dont despair! Call on the goddesses and gods of the content strategy universe and they will provide.There are some examples of content strategy qualifications that are starting to bubble to the surface in Europe and the US. But until then, I recommend a DIY approach *Content strategy forum - https://csf.community/The Language of Content Strategy www.thelanguageofcontentstrategy.com/Carrie Hane Dennison @carriehd Lisa Welchman @lwelchmanHilary Marsh @hilarymarshRahel Bailie @rahelabRobert Rose @Robert_Rose Buy / borrow / read booksSearch for every conference speaker here LinkedIn; Facebook; Slack; Google; MeetUpAnd there is no shortage of DIY resources.As youre at this conference, youre most likely aware of the very active community in the Content strategy forum - https://csf.community/For the cheat sheets I created for Acme Finance, I drew heavily on the Language of Content strategyHeres the list of resources and people I tapped into when working on the Acme Finance account and for this talk(Lisa Welchmans governance book, Managing Chaos, is like a baby blanket; secure and warm and caring)There are so many other resources out there that I couldnt possibly list them all. To find something you need that suits your style, search for experts in the usual channels.Content strategists are everywhere* Lesson 6: Go stealthily(You always have to do content strategy by stealth)*The hard truth:You always have to do content strategy by stealthAlways true. To some degree.Content strategy is a process, its challenge, its changeInvolves different people with different understandings of what it meansThis is the killer line that you dont want to hear: You always have to do content strategy by stealth. At some level. No one is ever going to say to you Please go off and do this one thing. Do a content strategy. and leave you to it.Every day I have to defend and justify my role as content strategistEvery day, I have to insist that strategy isn't forgotten. That just because X happened, it doesn't mean we don't still need to do A, B, C.*And keep your eye on the prize Is content marketing eclipsing strategy and stealing the content spotlight?Is content strategy as we know it in danger?Content has to be future-proofed so it doesnt break on devices we know about and those we cant imagineWriting in the perfect tone of voice isnt going to help hereSomeone needs to be talking to developers and tech architects about the demands of contentAs the world complies with Google:Is content strategy as we know it in danger?If content marketing does take the spotlight and eclipse the strategic aspects of content, not to mention everything that isnt editorial. *Forget about job titlesOwn the content Own the processBe the content bossAnd that person is you.And remember: No one else is thinking about content like you are*Epilogue *Six weeks after I finished on Acme, the agency hired another content strategistTwo of the three agency directors jumped ship to work directly for AcmeThe website remains unchanged, complete with typos, redundancies and undiscoverable contentBut they will get there(And in my head it was to work on the plan Id done for them months earlier ;)The website remains unchanged, complete with typos, redundancies and undiscoverable content. But the client will get there; they have a l o n g road ahead. It wont be in a year, and probably not the next. However their hand will be forced, by client demand. And commercial pressures, as they lose out to digitally savvy competitors selling an inferior product*Start smallFind alliesJust do itRecap: going dark Own itAsk for helpGo stealthilyRemember your six lessons for doing content strategy by stealth are:Lesson 1: Start small, and plan your way outLesson 2: Find allies (Or, You cant always pick your friends)Lesson 3: You dont need a content strategy to do content strategyLesson 4: No one else is thinking about content like you areLesson 5: Help will always be given to those who ask for it Lesson 6: You always have to do content strategy by stealthThank you*Questions?Kate Thomas@ContentEdUsersThank you.Good morningThank you CS ForumThe agency had created a digital transformation strategy six months previouslySome projects were rolling out of thisContent strategy was set up as a separate stream, and I was brought in to helpAcme was losing customers to digital disrupters who were easier to deal with. And on the surface, cheaperMore of a get-to-know-you session than anything else*Conversation with Susie turned to problems shed had with a recent content updateI suggested a writing for the web workshop to helpFor this, wed need to do work on tone of voiceNeed to understand content strategy and purposeThen create briefing templates linking content back to strategic goalsYoull be investing a lot more in content so will want to measure performance and impact and ROIMore people are going to be involved too, so we need to think about access, permissions, approval, who writes, who edits, who has the final sayAnd of course when contents done its job, it needs to come off the site, so well need some rules around sun setting content - what do we have to keep? Who says so? What compliance and legal issues are in play? As youre global, you also need to think about translation and localisationWhat happens centrally? What happens locally? Is authority devolved or centralised? Who makes decisions? Whats relevant for individual markets? How do markets relate to other markets?*Conversation with Susie turned to problems shed had with a recent content updateI suggested a writing for the web workshop to helpFor this, wed need to do work on tone of voiceNeed to understand content strategy and purposeThen create briefing templates linking content back to strategic goalsYoull be investing a lot more in content so will want to measure performance and impact and ROIMore people are going to be involved too, so we need to think about access, permissions, approval, who writes, who edits, who has the final sayAnd of course when contents done its job, it needs to come off the site, so well need some rules around sun setting content - what do we have to keep? Who says so? What compliance and legal issues are in play? As youre global, you also need to think about translation and localisationWhat happens centrally? What happens locally? Is authority devolved or centralised? Who makes decisions? Whats relevant for individual markets? How do markets relate to other markets?*Huzzah says the commercial manager for the agency. Whos rubbing his hands, as Ive just brought in an unexpected windfall of hundreds of thousands of pounds, over a multiyear engagement. Woo hoo! Content pays!*Like any great boom, there is a bust. Susie, it turns out:An organisation, youll recall, hundreds of years old, full or lifers working towards their pensions who have seen many such initiatives like ours come and go over the years and theyre well practiced at just shuffling papers, ignoring emails, carrying on as they were and not really changing their work practices which are just fine. Thank you very much. From a global, interconnected network of user centred content working hard to achieve strategic objectives, there was instead a slow diminishing of vision to the fatal words:*Like any great boom, there is a bust. Susie, it turns out:An organisation, youll recall, hundreds of years old, full or lifers working towards their pensions who have seen many such initiatives like ours come and go over the years and theyre well practiced at just shuffling papers, ignoring emails, carrying on as they were and not really changing their work practices which are just fine. Thank you very much. From a global, interconnected network of user centred content working hard to achieve strategic objectives, there was instead a slow diminishing of vision to the fatal words:*What to do: I had grand plans to pay rent and feed and clothe myself - I needed to keep the contract going. But more importantly, the client couldnt achieve what they wanted without this work. So I decided to go dark. I decided to do content strategy by stealth!Which brings me to the six lessons I learned by going undercover.**I went too big too soon. Please dont do this.Of course Acme needed a content strategy.Every digital endeavour needs a content strategy. Content strategy = business strategy. Content is what you and I and everyone in the world today uses to make decisions that shape our lives. Its how businesses manifest themselves to the world. So of course it has to be strategic.And in the same way companies make strategic decisions about the number of widgets theyll make this quarter based on customer needs, business goals and marketplace realities, content needs to relate to what customers are looking for, what the business is trying to achieve and whats happening in their particular corner of the world.Content without strategy is just stuff. [https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140210115838-5853751-content-without-strategy-is-just-stuff] Its not tied to strategic goals. Its not being measured, no one knows how long it needs to be on a site to do its job (which isnt written down anywhere, remember). And the client will waste their time and money and not achieve what they want*Insight from users and data would all come in good time - Id make it part of my plan.I knew that. But Susie didnt.One of our primary tasks as content strategists is to help translate, demystify and deconstruct digital for clients. Our opinion counts, but were guides, helping clients navigate THEIR digital labyrinth. We need to harness insight and mould into their framework, not assume or dictate it *Break. It. Down. No one likes to hear they have 12-months work ahead of them just to get to the start line Do not present deliverables as faits accomplis. Keep deliverables at the service of the strategy. (Otherwise clients will focus on the deliverable, not the work.)Start with strategy. And dont stop. Keep this at the heart of all conversations and work.Base every decision on insight. If this doesnt exist, which it didnt in this case, build intelligence gathering into your plansBe flexible. Be open. Be inclusive. Include stakeholders on the journey; it will make your work more meaningful. (And allows you to demonstrate a show dont tell approach in action, helping educate the client about the work ahead.)*The main problem with this account was the leadership team at the agency and at Acme. At the agency, directors of:Strategydesign experience They had produced the holy grail of a digital strategy and loved to talk to each other and Steve, the client stakeholder about it. And no one else. All account and major project decisions were made between these four. At weekends, at dinner *I had 3 challenges.A second problem (not unrelated to the first) was that none of the standard project controls were in place. e.g. no coordinated strategic oversightfew fully costed and planned micro projectsno agreed standards or style no roadmap of coordinated deliverySuch poor project governance plus 25 people working on the micro projects for the account meant:competing deadlinesresource strain redundant and duplicate activityAnd then we had the digital strategy itself. This was on the underweight side, lacking robust input from content and user research that meant it was found wanting when put to the test. Which left me and the 25 others working on the account without the solid foundation we needed to guide our work.*The account was profitable but chaotic*I sought out and found allies.I gave up on ever having meaningful client contact. So my chance of decent insight from stakeholder interviews etc had disappearedFortunately, there were quite sensible senior strategists, designers, and project managers amongst the 25, and I worked directly with them. To pick up an point in lesson 1, this is where being flexible and inclusive comes into its own. For me, softening my approach meant I could:Invite myself to meetings for the many micro projects to understand what was happening and seed content strategy adviceCreate deliverables for the micro projects e.g. copy briefs for an appInterrogate and investigate and ask questions in context of the micro projects. (Much easier for colleagues to grasp my meaning at this level rather than the huge beast of a global content strategy.)Work out how I could help them. I was a mere contractor at the agency for only a few months. But these senior staff couldnt just sprinkle some freelancer magic and walk away like I did; they had to deliver a viable product for the client. One that was commercially advantageous for the agency. So the more I could do to help them, the better.*Yep. You need a thickish skin, and need to know which battles to pick, as youre not going to win them all.**My favourite I think of the six lessons. Borrowed from Carrie Hane Dennison. *And so this is what I did. 25 people working on the account were keen as mustard - talented, super helpful and happy to get stuck in. They were all busy working on the many microprojects and were keen doers, whod all drunk the agency cool juice about how work doesnt count unless its done at midnight. My task was to guide this enthusiasm into more effective channels:Ran 3 x lunchtime sessions presenting on content strategy (Which means there are now 25+ people roaming around London who have a better idea of what content strategy is and how it can be used)Created 15 content strategy cheat sheets, on different topics Aligned the projects editorial style guide with what the client had provided (that was languishing on the server)Updated their 80 slide TOV presentation to a more manageable 20 slides and presented that to the teamWrote a roadmap for them to create a governance framework (from nothing) (Using Lisa Welchmans book, Managing Chaos, as my inspiration) Wrote the SOW for two big mini projects: content strategies for the clients corporate site, and their e-commerce siteMade sure that a related TV campaign had somewhere sensible to land on the client website **14 one page cheat sheets covering introductory topics - content strategy, content audit.Plus more conceptually challenging, Adaptive content, Intelligent content 3 sections:What is it?When and how is it helpful?What this means for Acme*Do not let perfect be the enemy of good. Dont wait until all conditions are right or you have been given permission or have orders to go forth and strategize. Another gem from Carrie Hane Dennison (https://gathercontent.com/blog/content-strategy-on-every-budget)(And I'll expect you'll find there'll be no forgiveness asked for.)Theres plenty in there. Create something that suits the context you need.*OK folks. Time to step up.*Acme and the agency knew content was the magic bulletEveryone was buy with content: 25 people were creating apps, microsites, design treatments, navigation interfaces in the micro projects. Words were everywhere. And before I worked on the content strategy treats I was just telling you about, it was a content free for all. Lorem ipsum ruled the day!*Even though Acme knew content was the answer, it had no value. Content wasnt strategic.Robert Rose, content lifecycle (from Language of Content strategy) This is what sets content strategists apart from copy writers, content managers, SEO-ers, UX-ers, project managers, developers, designers who all have a vested interest in and work on content at various times in the project. Content strategy covers the end-to-end process of content; any other discipline is looking at just one or two of these stages.*There are many examples of content life cycles.This is from Rahel Bailie. They vary in detail, but in essence cover the same points.*Like I did!e.g. legal and compliance folk will want a high level view, but the ability to drill down into detail of the lifecycle where needed. But marketing perhaps just creates, and leaves analysis to others*There always is. I met the very same at Acme but unfortunately too late in my time there.Ive been that person when Ive worked client side, and have sat in meetings seething with underlying resentmentThat person knows more about the ins and outs of content and how it moves through the organisation than you will ever glean in your stakeholder interviews. Work with them to understand all aspects of the content lifecycles for that organisation. **Now, I dont want you to think I made all of this up or just pullet it out of my head. When I do my job, I do so with a safety net of advice and experience underneath me that I know will catch me and bounce me where I need to be.I have many virtual and some real friends in the content strategy community and the one thing they have in common is their generosity of knowledge. When you need to know something, if you think somethings wrong but youre not quite sure how to respond, dont despair! Call on the goddesses and gods of the content strategy universe and they will provide.There are some examples of content strategy qualifications that are starting to bubble to the surface in Europe and the US. But until then, I recommend a DIY approach *And there is no shortage of DIY resources.As youre at this conference, youre most likely aware of the very active community in the Content strategy forum - https://csf.community/For the cheat sheets I created for Acme Finance, I drew heavily on the Language of Content strategyHeres the list of resources and people I tapped into when working on the Acme Finance account and for this talk(Lisa Welchmans governance book, Managing Chaos, is like a baby blanket; secure and warm and caring)There are so many other resources out there that I couldnt possibly list them all. To find something you need that suits your style, search for experts in the usual channels.Content strategists are everywhere**This is the killer line that you dont want to hear: You always have to do content strategy by stealth. At some level. No one is ever going to say to you Please go off and do this one thing. Do a content strategy. and leave you to it.Every day I have to defend and justify my role as content strategistEvery day, I have to insist that strategy isn't forgotten. That just because X happened, it doesn't mean we don't still need to do A, B, C.*As the world complies with Google:Is content strategy as we know it in danger?If content marketing does take the spotlight and eclipse the strategic aspects of content, not to mention everything that isnt editorial. ***(And in my head it was to work on the plan Id done for them months earlier ;)The website remains unchanged, complete with typos, redundancies and undiscoverable content. But the client will get there; they have a l o n g road ahead. It wont be in a year, and probably not the next. However their hand will be forced, by client demand. And commercial pressures, as they lose out to digitally savvy competitors selling an inferior product*Remember your six lessons for doing content strategy by stealth are:Lesson 1: Start small, and plan your way outLesson 2: Find allies (Or, You cant always pick your friends)Lesson 3: You dont need a content strategy to do content strategyLesson 4: No one else is thinking about content like you areLesson 5: Help will always be given to those who ask for it Lesson 6: You always have to do content strategy by stealthThank you*Thank you.