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Hook 006

Opoloo's Link Digest — Content & Strategy

This edition of the Hook centers around Content Strategy. Though still a very young discipline, it's nevertheless profoundly changing the way we think about the web. This is why I'm convinced that anyone working with the internet should have at least rudimentary insights into this field. The following links may therefore be equally relevant to designers, copywriters, developers, web psychologists, SEO people, and whoever else running around the digital space, shaping it with all their creative substance.

01 The One Cost Engineers & Product Managers Don't Consider

by Kris Gale / Firstround Review

Unless you've been uniquely disciplined and passionate about keeping your product simple, you'll find that the vast majority of your users are using a tiny minority of your features. [...] The best engineering usually isn't showy or intense-looking. Given the same result, the simpler code is more valuable to your organization.

Believe it or not, many engineering decisions are also questions of solid content strategy established up front. It's a lesson to be learned that much of the overhead and analysis can be taken care of by practices of CS.

Many thanks to Lucas Rocha for sharing this link.

02 Make Your Content Make a Difference

by Colleen Jones / Smashing Magazine

Just because someone articulates a problem well does not mean someone knows the solution. That’s when we’re susceptible to a false solution.

This article by Colleen Jones is two years old, but it hasn't lost a bit of relevance over time. It's a useful resource for Content Strategy pros, newbies, and curious people alike.

03 Why Our Content SUCKS

by Jonathon Colman

While we’re certainly churning out a lot of content, we’re not focusing on things like purpose, process, intended use, and the needs of our audience. Nor our workflow, systems, architecture, and processes.

A very astute analysis of what is wrong with the content we're constantly churning out and how it can be made better. You can learn a lot from the slides Colman provides, too.

04 Content Strategists Are not Copywriters (but sometimes They Have to Be)

by Devin Asaro / iAcquire

Copywriting is granular. Content Strategy is holistic. Copywriting is the execution of ideas — content strategy is their organization and measurement.

Many content strategists are fortunate to work in small company that was smart enough to hire them. But that often means they have to tackle two (or more) related, but structurally opposed tasks. This article explains how you can manage to do great work in both CS and copywriting.

05 A Checklist for Content Work

by Erin Kissane / A List Apart

In content strategy, there is no playbook of generic strategies you can pick from to assemble a plan for your client or project. Instead, our discipline rests on a series of core principles about what makes content effective—what makes it work, what makes it good.

Apart from her very readable publication The Elements of Content Strategy, this article by Erin Kissane belongs to the essentials of useful CS resources. I find myself returning to this, time and time again.

06 How to Build an Audience in 743 Difficult Steps

by Rian van der Merwe / Elezea

Writing is a simple transaction between you and your readers. They have time and attention — which is more valuable than ever — and you have to provide content that is worthy of that time and attention.

Generating high-quality content is not easy. Publishing is a whole different thing. Reaching the right people is even harder. But if you see these aspects as being interconnected, you start with a different perspective. That's where Content Strategy comes in — from analysis, to audit, to architecture — to save your time and nerves.

07 Why "Simple" Websites Are Scientifically Better

by Tommy Walker / ConversionXL Blog

If the visitor can’t rely on their previous experience, they’re not thinking about how innovative your site is. They’re just left wondering why things aren’t where it’s “supposed to be.”

There's a lot buzz about simplicity, in design, code, and thinking. This article breaks simplicity down to "scientific facts". It's a case for strategy also, specifically strategy for user identification and conversion, which is not the worst thing to consider. Keep in mind that a strategy aiming for simplicity might actually have to be very elaborate.

Publication Paradigms for Longform Web Content

Transitioning from a blog to an online magazine

Lines 1.0 – Simple Responsive Publishing for Ruby on Rails


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