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

Content strategy
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Content strategy
The language of content strategy involves a number of terms, some of which you might never have heard of before.
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