Finding my content calling

windmillI had a total epiphany about my career this past week. I should be doing content strategy. Strike that, I, Julie Espinosa, Web editor and writer AM doing content strategy but I didn’t know it until now. (What is content strategy? Many articles proffer different definitions. See just two below.)

My revelation came about primarily because of two articles at A List Apart*:

  • Content-tious Strategy by Jeffrey MacIntyre, which defines content strategy as essentially, “combining the skills of writers, editors and publishers to think in a holistic way about what users should see when they visit a site[.]”
  • The Discipline of Content Strategy by Kristina Halvorson, which breaks content strategy down into editorial strategy, web writing, metadata strategy, SEO, content management strategy and content channel distribution strategy.

Of course, while I fancy myself a content strategist, I am quick to add “aspiring” to it and admit how much I need to educate myself about this burgeoning field. I have a lot to learn, but I’m excited.

So far, my research into content strategy as a discipline has been very fruitful. I found out through Kristina Halvorson’s twitter about a Content Strategy Consortium (part of Information Architecture Summit 2009 in Memphis) and followed the notes attendees live-tweeted.

This has led me to twenty-odd content strategists who are active on twitter, blogs and who generously share their presentations. To give you a just a small taste of people I want to get to know and learn from, there’s Colleen Jones, Elena Melendy, Kristina Halvorson, Liz Danzico and Margot Bloomstein (all of whom attended the summit, if I’m not mistaken). (And if this was gratuitous link-dropping, forgive this neophyte and throw some other advice my way.)

Overall, I feel just a little less angsty and a little more excited about my fledgling career, because I can see maybe this is a field where I can apply my Web savvy and communication skills meaningfully. I hope I can connect with some of the helpful people out there (not least my own great colleagues) as I am figuring out my place in the world wide web of words.

* Even though A List Apart is on my Google Reader, I had somehow missed the issue. I ended up stumbling upon these articles purely through a happenstance combination of blog-reading, twitter and local connections; to make a long story short, I found Kim Stearns of Forty Agency‘s blog, where she’d posted MacIntyre’s article. Thank you Kim!


4 responses to “Finding my content calling

  1. I’m the same Julie, it hasn’t quite caught on in the UK yet, but fingers crossed!

    Seems to be emerging as a proper discipline at the moment, although I do get a lot of confused looks when I tell people I’m a Web Editor 🙂

  2. julieespinosa

    Ha, I have gotten the same looks, even though I think it’s a adequate descriptive term. People associate “web editor” with tools and software, not an occupation.

    Also, thanks for your usability book recs.

  3. While still a struggle, Content Strategy is definately growing and becoming more accepted. Here is another good slideshare from Kristina –

  4. Pingback: Whither Web Writing? « new media mentality

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