Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Language of Content Strategy

Content strategy – 10 essential terms to help your digital marketing

The Language of Content Strategy

Whenever I’m approached by a potential client about their content needs, my first question is: What strategy do you have in place? And usually they are short on one. The client understands the meaning and value of content. But they don’t yet understand how to implement a system whereby content can be created and dispersed in an efficient manner with the goal of achieving targeted results. Because the language of content strategy is so voluminous it comes as no surprise that many smaller businesses have yet to define their content strategy. It takes an organized, structured approach.

Major corporate titans like Google, Virgin Mobile, American Express, Yahoo, (to name but a few) are investing  heavily in the content business.   The adage, content is king, is not just true, it involves a strategy, an entire language unto itself in order to help creators produce a steady stream of engaging, quality content.  Scott Abel, thecontentwrangler, gave a terrific presentation on the subject of content strategy at a recent Meetup of the Content Strategy: San Francisco Bay Area group.  With a budget of approximately 10K, Scott and his small team, including partner, Rachel Anne Bailie put together a content strategy that produced a book, ebook, and flash cards spelling out the language of content strategy using essential nomenclature from a series of content contributors.

I’m sharing with you now 10 of those 52 terms from leading experts in the field of content strategy. You can learn more about each term by visiting the Language of Content Strategy website.  In no particular order they are:

Content Management System

What is it?

A software application that supports information capture, editorial, governance, and publishing processes with tools such as workflow, access control, versioning, search, and collaboration.

Why is it important?

Without the automation that a content management system (CMS) provides, and the potential for integration into other software systems, many content-related tasks must be completed manually, greatly decreasing reliability and efficiency.

Author: Noz Urbina


Content Strategy

What is it?

The analysis and planning a to develop a  repeatable system that governs the management of content throughout the entire content lifecycle.

Why is it important?

Provides context, so that the organization’s vision can be implemented in an integrated way, to meet business goals and project objectives.

Author: Rahel Anne Bailie



What is it?

The inclusion of content from one source into another source by hyper-link reference. The presented result appears as though the included content had occurred at the point of reference.

Why is it important?

First formalized as the idea of link-based, use-by reference, transclusion is a fundamental feature for any document representation system that enables true use-by-reference.

Author: Eliot Kimber


Content Quality Assurance

 What is it?

A systematic process to ensure that content meets specified requirements before publishing.

Why is it important?

To measure the quality of the content creation process and ensure that content deliverables are completed with an acceptable level of quality.

Author: Laurence Dansokho



What is it?

The mental model, or classification system, of a taxonomy of content or concepts in the minds of content consumers. Includes vocabulary, organization, relationships, and interactions.

Why is it important?

To understand content consumers, you must know how they mentally structure the topics your content covers.

Author: Sharon Burton


Style Guide

What is it?

A set of guidelines and standards covering areas such as vocabulary, editing, tone, and voice. May extend to structural aspects of content.

Why is it important?

Assists with consistency across a body of content and reinforces best practices, ultimately supporting business goals.

Author: Brenda Huettner


Information Architecture

What is it?

The art and science of structuring information (knowledge) to support findability and usability.

Why is it important?

Alows for intuitive navigation and quick access to relevant content, supports interaction with content (usability), and makes the body of content both maintainable and extensible.

Author: Claudia Wunder


Transactional Content Map

What is it?

A representation of the copy required at each stage of the transaction flow.

Why is it important?

Ensures that a content strategy accounts for all content that supports brand messaging. It includes error messages, feedback, and embedded assistance.

Auth0r: Linda Francis


Information Visualization

What is it?

An engaging, graphical way to present data, often with the intent to tell a persuasive visual story. May also be referred to as data visualization or information graphics.

Why is it important?

Allows the communication of complex ideas faster and in a more compelling way, which can help others perceive content strategists as visionaries, not just analysts.

Author: Tosca Fasso


Augmented Reality

What is it?

An enhanced view of a real-world environment, using technology to supplement a normal view with additional content that enhances the experience.

Why is it important?

Augmented reality (AR) is growing rapidly and is used to many fields, including publishing, translation, and education. Content strategy for augmented reality is critical for displaying the right content in the right place at the right time.

Author: Marta Rauch

video game addiction

Boom Beach: A lesson in how to overcome game addiction

Boom Beach
Boom Beach


Living in the shadow of George Yao

I came across the story of George Yao, Clash of Clans player extraordinaire (until he retired last year) after attending this year’s Gaming Analytics Summit conference in San Francisco. An eagerly sought after lunch had me sit next to a developer from Sony’s PlayStation London office. She told me how disappointed she was with this year’s GDC and its feeble analytics content. The story of George Yao, poignantly recounted by New York Times Bits columnist Matt Bai, remains a lesson for game players everywhere on how addiction can take control of your life (for better and for worse). Having a love/hate relationship with mobile gaming myself, I finally discovered and experienced gaming addiction. While I didn’t spend thousands of dollars to purchase more IAPs, I did spend money and in retrospect, I’m upset at myself for having done so.

Gem addiction

Boom Beach is listed as one of the top freemium games in Apple’s iOS store. I knew about Supercell’s Clash of Clans but decided to try out Boom Beach. Similar to Clans, you’re given some land where you are responsible for building your empire. Once you start playing, you quickly realize that similar to Clans, you’ve got to keep collecting pink gems in order to acquire more weaponry and resources to grow your presence. I quickly used up all of my gems and while I enjoyed trying to invade and conquer other players territory, I knew that in order for me to enjoy this game over the long haul I was going to need more gems. Power up as they say! I decided after watching my own island get invaded and ransacked  once too often that the only way I could compete was to purchase more pink gems. I did what I thought I’d never ever do. I purchased more gems. $5. Luckily, I still had some unused iTunes credit (given to me as a present) so I didn’t have to spend any of my own money.

I purchased 500 gems and quickly upgraded my weaponry and resources. I continued to fight competitors, invade islands, and found myself spending more and more time on my iPhone throughout the day. At any point when I had downtime, I jumped on my iPhone to login and see what additional progress I could make. This kept happening, at first, maybe 3 or four times a day, then it quickly jumped to double that, to more than 15 times a day and then into the evening as well. I bought more gems. Another $5 worth. I swore to myself that I’d purchase no more. And then another $5. I spent my entire iTunes credit of more than $40. I kept reviewing the leaderboards and visiting the islands of the top players. How could they have grown their power and influence without having spent money on more gems? Supercell was making a killing. Boom Beach, similar to Clash of Clans, tapped the competitive nerve endings of game players worldwide. Not content to be way down the leaderboard, players spend hundreds of dollars to acquire more gems and rise up. I never thought a player might spend $45 or more on an IAP but I was in for a rude surprise.

I decided for the first time to spend my own money on purchasing additional gems. I kept it to $5 purchases swearing to myself that I wouldn’t spend anymore. Sure enough, wanting to conquer more territory and surpass my competitors, I decided to purchase even more gems. In a three-week period, I spent nearly $200. I played solely using my iPhone. No iPads for me. I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t want to spend any more money but I had to if I was going to grow and become more powerful. How much time was I wasting? The gameplay became less rewarding over time. There’s was no way I could keep up with my competitors. And in an instant, I deleted the game from my iPhone.

Free from addiction

When you’re addicted to anything, you’re held captive by a force unlike no other. It’s that inner voice, telling you “come on,” “there’s nothing wrong with playing a bit more,” “remember, you’re playing with millions of others,” and they aren’t quitting either.” You’re able to prove to yourself why it’s OK to keep playing even if at some point you begin to realize that the returns on playing longer diminished many gems ago. Unlike George Yao, I didn’t make any friends playing Boom Beach. Maybe playing a game on an iPhone isn’t conducive to forging friendships. I don’t know. No one player ever reached out to me saying, “hey, want to be friends?” I felt alone, isolated, and no one cared. Matter of fact, every game I’ve ever played online, I’ve never made any friends. I typically get attacked by more experienced players who could care less about my novice ways. I remember playing World of Warcraft and feeling the same away. No friends and no relationships. In the end, I found playing Boom Beach to be a colossal waste of time. It’s time that I’ve lost and will never get back. But that was my experience. I’m not George Yao and George found friends through his addiction.

I don’t encourage game players to find or seek out addiction. For most, notoriety similar to George Yao won’t arrive. You’ll just remain an anonymous addict whom no one will care about. Think about that the next time you play Boom Beach or any other online game for the umpteenth time.