Tag Archives: education

Content strategy road map


Getting from here to there

So I was reading educational advice over at Brain Traffic from content strategists responding to a query from a student wanting to work in content strategy. And my comment kept getting longer and longer until it dawned on me I needed to just write a blog post and link to it.

My philosophy is that content strategy is a transdisciplinary field (see the variety of people practicing it who used to be marketers or information architects, journalists or library scientists). As a novice to content strategy who already has a degree and experience in writing, my personal development plan has a stronger bent toward practice than formal schooling. More working on sites than talking pontificating about the Web (fun as that is). Here’s my current approach to learning more about and practicing content strategy:

  1. I’m cobbling together my own training regimen, including reading relevant SlideShares, blogs and articles/books on content strategy, UX and IA, and completing CSS/Photoshop tutorials through Lynda.com. End result: I balance out my overdeveloped writing background with more software/Web savvy, i.e. the technical nuts and bolts)
  2. Since I happen to work for an insitution of higher ed, I am taking classes in the only program grad-level program I find relevant (a post-bacc certificate in multimedia writing and technical communication). I get to take classes online in visual communication and technical comms, respectively. Watch this space for my portfolio, which I actually get class credit to do! In the future I will consider more comprehensive programs, like those listed by Karen McGrane, of Bond Art Science. End result: Some reflective discussions, papers and eventual piece of paper.
  3. I’m carving out content strategy-type chunks for web site redesign and creation at work and getting involved in more aspects than I normally would. Job description is mostly editing at end of process. In practice there’s other gaps that can be massaged to attack content more thoroughly and strategically: doing content inventory with clients, navigation development, usability testing. End result: more hands-on learning in a collaborative workplace with actors from different disciplines.
  4. I’m getting a sense of the types of job descriptions and sectors where content strategists work by reading through their About Me pages, LinkedIn bios and current company’s sites. When people have enumerated their positions, responsibilities and accomplishments, I view them as potential road maps. Like, “here’s a template I can work off of; let me see what opportunities I can find to get me from here to there.” Rahel Bailie lists her last few positions, none of which were called “content strategist.”

I’ve taken the advice to joing the Google group and the mailing list mentioned by Jeffrey MacIntyre and Kristina Halvorson. And I guess I can add blogging to this list. It’s a way to hash out ideas and connect with other like-minded people

So what are people’s thoughts on formal education versus on-the-job training as it applies to content strategy? Comment here if you like or back at the original post.

Support for education vs. the Super Bowl

These past two weeks I have started taking classes for fun and also spent some free time working on lobbying so that not so many millions be taken from the state education budget, especially higher education. Not just because it’s important, but also because they employ me. I did some press release and other writing work for a little student-led grassroots site;  and whether it had any impact for sure, I’ll never know, but it did result in more than 27,000 e-mails being sent to Arizona legislators so far. In the end, the proposal for cutting more than $300 million from our three universities was reduced by about half. For the time being, the rest of this fiscal year looks doable; we’ll see about the next one.

That may account for, while not excusing me being such a lousy blog updater. I think I should reduce my efforts to a solid post a week, since that is something I can more easily commit to. People don’t unsubscribe from blogs because they post too infrequently, they say. I know I only drop those that I feel overwhelmed by (i.e. more than 10 posts a day…no danger of that here). Such a schedule would also allow me to write worthwhile content here and still watch historic local sporting events, watch films, hang out with friends and do my homework.

Speaking of the latter, looks like the site I need is back up so I’d better be going. But if you have time to spare, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a beautiful video that everyone is rightfully abuzz about: