“Content Strategy *is* Design”
So sayeth the first A-head in info-architect Dan Brown’s Letter to a Content Strategist, and it’s music to my ears. Found it while hunting for talk about building web experiences that jibes with my own ruminations about the craft.
Dan elaborates, in a way I like and that serves as jumping-off point:
“Ultimately, my job is to design structures. These are structures that establish navigation pathways, search frameworks, and business rules for governing how to display information. In order to design those things, I need insight into what you want the content to be, how you want it to behave, and what structures will let the content thrive.”
Yes, exactly — but I would restate like so:
“… In order to design those things, I need insight into the people you expect will be drawn to you — why you? How are you the Answer to their Question, the Solution to their Problem? how, step-by-step, do you figure the value transaction with this person/these people will actually unfold?
Every web publisher — from blogger/microblogger to small business looking for new leads to giant media company — has various motivations for putting information out there. But these motivations matter only insofar as it’s possible to credibly describe why and under what circumstances someone would want that information. If you can’t describe a credible transaction wherein what you, the publisher, have is the solution to what a realistic user persona needs, putting what you have on the web should be a non-starter.
This is only a basic top-level observation; mr. Brown’s excellent post has a lot more on the nuts and bolts of doing content strategy and is well worth a read.