The Content Strategy 2011 Fast Forward

Matt Geraghty   February 6, 2011
Listen back to the future. (image via 12St David)

The Breakdown: Following up on our 2010 Content Strategy Rewind, we polled our content strategy team to provide their thoughts on what they think is in store for 2011 and beyond.

Michael Barnwell, Director Content Strategy
Divining trends and insights from big data is my guess for 2011. As data compiles relentlessly, despair from poor findability may shift to excitement about the bounty of data that could be sifted to illuminate cultural, political, and social patterns. Mashups set the course for this sort of thing, but the great heaps of unfiltered content that accumulate day after day— a lot of it public—may offer revelations on a much grander scale through exquisitely executed data mining.

Rachel Lovinger, Associate Content Strategy Director
This may sound incredibly boring to most people, but I’m becoming increasingly interested in content modeling: the definition of content types for a site, their attributes, metadata, and relationships to each other. I think content strategy is really important in understanding the intersection of UX design, editorial goals, business goals, and technology. Content Strategy brings all those elements into alignment, and the content model is what makes abstract strategies a reality.

Aileen Gemma Smith, Senior Content Strategist
As we think more about global organizations and web presence, part of content strategy will be to ensure a message is consistent across languages and cultures. This is an interesting challenge because we have to think about concepts translate and how different ideas resonate beyond what is personally familiar to us.

Patrick Nichols, Senior Content Strategist
I am a content strategist, and I relish my opportunity to help clients strengthen their content operations. But I’m increasingly intrigued by the concept of context strategy, wherein the proximity of content elements shapes their meaning as much as the words or images themselves. This is nothing new—it’s something we and information architects have been studying for years. But with social spaces continuing to proliferate, and content creators increasingly losing control over their creations’ context, I think it’s going to be fascinating to study the impact of varying contexts on identical content and perhaps sharpen our approach accordingly.

Elizabeth Bennett, Senior Content Strategist
We can expect to see a brighter spotlight on the care and feeding of content as a core business mandate. Things like tagging, taxonomies and controlled vocabularies, often relegated to those in the CMS trenches, will be on management’s radar to a degree not previously seen. Awareness—and nervousness–of how content behaves across platforms will be a top priority. For all you library science folks: Get ready to be sexy!

Haven Thompson, User Experience Associate
Early this year, the New York Times’s paywall will go live. Although paywalls have been going up (and coming down) for years now as media companies attempt to monetize content, the verdict is still out on what the best approach is. I’m eager to see how this industry leader’s attempt plays out, and how the user experience surrounding the paywall helps or hurts it.

Erin Abler, Information Architect
As a library and information studies geek, I’m hoping to see more emphasis on creating interoperable metadata in 2011.  We need to progress beyond the idea that any metadata is better than no metadata, since the quality and “crosswalk-ability” of metadata solutions are going to become more critical over time. By “cross-walkability” I mean the ability to map one metadata schema to another so that information in different systems can talk to each other. Existing metadata standards can provide guidance with this mapping, but they can’t operate without high-quality metadata and well-defined semantic relationships. I think this challenge is less about visibilty to the client and more about education within the content strategy community – which may make it a hard sell for awhile.

Matt Geraghty, Content Strategist
When it comes to having a strategic plan for keeping your web content current after launch, we’ll start seeing a heightened sense of urgency to  have more well executed long term editorial plans in place.  Gone are the days of launching a site and letting it stagnate.  As we covered in our recent post Sowing the Seeds of Content, more businesses are now beginning to realize that it just starts with site launch and that the real work begins on Day 2.  Call in your favorite content strategist for help. After all, your business and brand may depend on it.

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Scatter/Gather is a blog about the intersection of content strategy, pop culture and human behavior. Contributors are all practicing Content Strategists at the offices of Razorfish, an international digital design agency.


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Oooh, the elevator pitch. Here we go: There is content on the web. You love it. Or you do not love it. Either way, it is out there, and it is growing. Content strategy encompasses the discovery, ideation, implementation and maintenance of all types of digital content—links, tags, metadata, video, whatever. Ultimately, we work closely with information architects and creative types to craft delicious, usable web experiences for our clients.

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