I’m super behind in my CS reading, but I’ve been able to capture a few smart things from smart people over the past few weeks. Go read this stuff – it’s great.
Smart words from Margot Bloomstein
First, Content Strategy at Work author Margot Bloomstein talks about the history – and importance – of reaching out and connecting with fellow content strategists in “Meet the Neighbors.”
Our industry is at a bit of a chicken-and-egg moment. The content strategy community is thriving and attracting more participants. More people, more community. This is good: we nurture interest, enthusiasm, and improvement as we come together in conferences and other events. We grow as individuals while we grow as a community.
Outside the echo chamber is a continuum of interaction that spans Twitter, local meetups, and larger conferences. (Other social media, such as the comments on Slideshare, offer useful but more limited opportunities for engagement.) I’ve gained a lot from interaction in those channels—and I think you can too.
(This post may or may not feature yours truly, too. So there’s THAT.)
Smart words from Sara Wachter-Boettcher and Melissa Rach
If haven’t caught anything from Contents Magazine in a while, you’re missing out. A great article from Sara Wachter-Boettcher on the important and often overlooked issue of organizational change and empowerment called “New Forms, Old Places” is unmissable:
Experimentation may be where change begins, but it’ll only ever get us partway. If we want to improve things for more readers, more users, more humans, then we’ve got to bring new ideas and approaches to these bigger, messier, harder-to-shift places. And this takes different skills than experimentation—skills that are often left uncelebrated in a tech culture screaming for innovation and agility from all corners.
…and this one from Melissa Rach on just how difficult – and destructive – organizational change can be (“Appetite for (Creative) Destruction“) is also phenomenal.
First, we’ll need to rethink the way organizations are structured. In most large companies the content creation engine is spread across several teams such as marketing, IT, public relations, advertising, and more. To increase both efficiency and content quality, these teams will likely be consolidated or reconfigured to ensure the people who create, tag, publish, and maintain content are working together like a well-oiled machine.
Smart words from Deane Barker
Finally, Deane Barker – one of the partners here at Blend – wrote a great post about focusing on existing users’ needs, even in the face of gaining new users. His post – “The Information Needs of the Indoctrinated Audience” – can be found over at Gadgetopia.
Since their first exposure to your organization, they’ve been building a narrative, not unlike completing a jigsaw. At any given time, you have a nucleus of pieces that are already connected – this is what you know about a topic. Your update is a new jigsaw piece you’ve just picked up. What is always your first question? Does this piece fit anywhere in the current group you already have put together? Does this expand the current solution at all?
And so it goes with information updates. Whenever the indoctrinated audience ingests a Tweet, a blog post, a Facebook update, a news item, anything, their internal context engine kicks in and they mentally try to fit this into a larger context and course of action. Sometimes they can’t, so they put the puzzle piece down, but sometimes it fits somewhere, and it expands their narrative of the topic a bit more.
I feel as if the post-Confab hangover lasted longer this year than expected, so here’s to the sudden uptick in great content strategy smart stuff.