By Larry Kunz
posted on June 16, 2010 11:21
This week on the Business Insider, Steve Rosenbaum wrote "Content is no longer king: curation is king." I disagree. Without content, there's nothing to curate. Content still comes first.
But Steve's not completely wrong. Content can't be king unless there's someone who uses it.
Rahel Bailie, one of the leading voices on the subject, is writing a great series of articles about content strategists: what they do, and what skills and qualifications they bring to the job.
A key skill, Bailie asserts, is understanding the nature of content. "Processing content is not like processing data; it’s a lot more subtle and complex.... [U]ndertaking any sort of content analysis or taxonomy effort or content rewrite implies some measure of skill at content development."
Why? Because experienced content developers know that content doesn't exist in a vacuum.
Aligning with business goals
Bailie and others also stress that content strategists must integrate their content strategies with business goals.
My SDI colleague John Hawkins notes that clients often start by asking him, "This is the tool we use; do you know it?” Instead, they should start with "These are our business goals; can you build a content strategy that supports them?"
The missing piece: knowing the audience
I agree that both things -- understanding content and aligning with business goals -- are vital. But I'm afraid that the emphasis has drifted away from something equally vital: knowing who's consuming the content, and why. As a smart colleague told me a long time ago, content without context is useless. Creating a content strategy without focusing on the audience is like cooking a gourmet meal without thinking about the people who'll eat it.
Those of us who come from technical writing backgrounds, who are skilled at doing audience analysis, are especially well positioned to focus on this aspect of content strategy.
What do you think? For all the talk about how content is king, are we giving short shrift to the people who use the content?
About the Author
Larry Kunz is a project manager and information architect with SDI with more than 30 years’ experience as a writer, manager, and planner. He has experienced the transition from book-based documentation to today's integrated delivery of information both as a writer and a manager. Larry is a Fellow in the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and in 2010 received the STC President’s Award for leading the Society's strategic planning effort.