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Content Strategy


Getting the right content to the right user at the right time. Point of View By Kevin P. Nichols, Director and Global Practice Lead for Content Strategy, SapientNitro

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									          POINT OF view

                                                  content                  content
                                                   STRUCTURE               MESSAGING


Content Strategy
By Kevin P. Nichols, Director and Global Practice Lead for Content Strategy,

Depending on whom you ask, “content strategy” has different meanings. Some definitions focus on
content structure; others focus on content messaging; while others focus on content planning. While
these definitions work, and certainly are valuable in their own right, each also lacks what we view as
critical components. To ensure that content strategy adds maximum business value, we at SapientNitro
leverage a comprehensive, enterprise-wide and robust definition.

We define content strategy as: getting the right content to the right user at the right time.
Our approach focuses on surfacing relevant, rich, and effective content at the most opportune time to
achieve an organization’s strategic goals. Content is the essence of the consumer experience for every
type of digital solution. When a business views content as something that is passively consumed, it
misses the opportunity to maximize its return on investment. But when a company positions content
as an active experience — the experience creating the customer journey — it becomes properly
recognized as an asset that generates revenue, meaning, and relevance. And suddenly, business
leaders are more likely to respect content in a manner that it deserves. With our approach, content
is experience.

Content strategy, then, is all about leveraging content in strategic, measurable solutions to thrive in a
multi-channel ecosystem. It provides a framework for successful content delivery. To do that, a content
strategy must ensure that users can find and digest what they need when they want it. This happens by
enabling the creation of content that is current, meaningful, consistent, and reusable across channels.
In this context content strategy is comprised of both strategy and the tactical aspects to implement it.

For consumers, content strategy delivers personalized and relevant content even as the digital
ecosystem continues to evolve. Every consumer touch point must support the brand. To accomplish
this feat, the content strategy must deliver smart content that:

• Is built with logic and intelligence to leverage the semantic web and enable a personalized
  user experience.

• Considers the target. Whether content surfaces in a mobile device, social media site, website, widget,
  app, or internal company portal, content should be there for a strategic purpose.

• Can be published and syndicated across systems and geographies.

                     IDEA ENGINEERS                                                    © Sapient Corporation 2011
          POINT OF view

The five key aspects

                      CONTENT          TECHNOLOGY          PEOPLE           PROCESS        GOVERNANCE

1. Content is the experience that’s being conveyed. For effective messages, we must define the overall
   strategy, vision, and approach for surfacing content and provide branded editorial standards and
   best practices.

2. Technology supports and delivers the types of content solutions we design.

3. People are a critical part of the functioning content lifecycle. We need to clearly define the roles,
  responsibilities, and workflows that produce and manage content.
4. Process is the system that creates, produces, and manages content.

5. Governance oversees the other four areas. It helps create and maintain successful content strategy
   solutions overall.

Isn’t content just text and images? No. Content is experience: both inactively and actively
consumed. Content can be text, imagery, print, audio, video, social, and interactive applications.
It is also the driving force behind these, meaning that metadata can also be content. It is any
information the consumer uses or encounters when interacting with the brand.

Content strategists create meaningful, multi-channel user experiences by leveraging technology to
develop content solutions that anticipate and respond to user behavior. They work with the people who
(i) invest in content, (ii) produce and maintain content, and (iii) consume and use content. They also
create the systems or applications that manage the content throughout the project, from the point of
discovery to rollout. In short, content strategists define the essential aspects of the content’s life and
lifecycle. In this context, content strategy is enterprise in nature.

                                                     - Determine content ownership
                                                  - Create content recommendations
                                                   - Define voice & tone and develop
                                                            editorial guidelines
                                                           - Prepare content                  DESIGN
                                                              governance                 - Prepare staffing
                                                                  model                  recommendations
                                                                                     - Develop taxonomy and
                              ASSESSMENT                                                   nomenclature
                             - Audit content                                      - Design CMS customizations
                   - Conduct stakeholder interviews                                   - Develop content model
                      - Analyze & validate content                                  - Sketch an new workflows
                               ecosystems                                          - Prepare metadata strategy
                    (sites, channels, social, partners)                              - Develop migration plan
                                                            CONTENT               - Develop content matrix and
                                                            LIFECYCLE             - Determine editorial calendar

                                          MAINTAIN                            - Create assets
                                        - Advise client                      - Write copy deck
                                 - Plan for periodic auditing               - Content into CMS
                            - Use analytics to determine areas        - Review for brand compliance
                                                                                   & SEO
                                     of success and failure
                                                                     - Implement governance model
                               - Adhere to editorial calendar
                                                                                & work flows

                       IDEA ENGINEERS                                                                          © Sapient Corporation 2011
    POINT OF view

This diagram presents our approach to the content lifecycle. It is closed-loop in nature. In most
situations, this is what the content lifecycle looks like: the acquisition, creation, development,
maintenance, publication, and archiving of content.

In the last year, a lot has been published about content strategy and information management.
When we think about where the digital world is heading and the ever-increasing amount of
information available, brands must think strategically about what they do with their content.
Brands that do this will rise to the top.

To do this, brands must look at content as:
1. A business asset. Understanding this fact and its implications is a strategic advantage.

2. A living ecosystem. Active consideration of this perspective is critical to successful,
  responsible brand advocacy. Content is often nimble and can take on a life of its own.
  Customers can grow and evolve it as well.
3. A measurement. Analytics and metrics are the powerhouses required to grow and curate
  intelligent content.
4. A structure. Organization is key to scaling to new technologies and platforms, a trend that only
   becomes stronger in the digital and interactive worlds—especially when we look at the rate
   and amount of new technologies emerging.

Content strategy impacts a business throughout its enterprise, all the way down to the bottom
line. An effective content strategy does several key things:

• Protects brand identity across channels;
• Enables multi-channel content delivery and the ability to find that content;
• Ensures consistency across consumer touch-points and brand experiences;
• Optimizes content and the processes used to create and manage it;
• Enhances and allows personalized user experiences; and,
• Engages and grows its user base through the effective use of social media.

But what do clients really want? Return on investment. A smart content strategy increases
revenue by converting prospects into customers. It drives down business costs with real,
measurable ROI, which is mainly achieved through:

• Optimized content creation and maintenance processes;
• Automated, integrated processes across channels and platforms;
• Decreased content localization and translation costs;
• Increased accuracy of targeted, meaningful content; and
• Reduced litigation due to errors.

               IDEA ENGINEERS                                                     © Sapient Corporation 2011
                 POINT OF view

       Up until recent years, the value of content strategy has been marginalized, but marketing and
       technology teams are starting to understand its benefit to consumers and the bottom line.
       Unfortunately, while many projects have a definitive content strategy component, it often doesn’t get
       utilized until well into the project, as unforeseen issues or risks surface.

       At SapientNitro, we continue to increase awareness of content strategy’s value. We work with each of
       our clients to design solutions that will maximize return on investment in one of their most important
       assets: their content.

                                         Kevin P. Nichols is Director and Global Practice Lead for Content
                                         Strategy at SapientNitro. He has over seventeen years of experience.
                                         A Harvard graduate, he executed his capabilities in the Sabre
                                         Foundation before traveling to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he was
                                         Webmaster for Physicians for Human Rights. He went on to Sapient
                                         Corporation as a UX Lead for global brands on Web and CMS projects.

                                         Kevin played a key role in launching MIT’s OpenCourseWare project,
                                         and as a Senior Consultant at Molecular, he led UX teams for global
                                         brands. He went on to become an independent consultant at Kevin
                                         P Nichols’ consulting, before returning to Sapient as a Director of

                                         Content Strategy.

                            IDEA ENGINEERS                                                    © Sapient Corporation 2011

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