Janine Warner is a Los Angeles-based consultant whose DigitalFamily.com business offers web design, software training, Internet marketing and content strategy services.
This is the second part of our conversation. Here I ask Janine what makes content strategy and management so tough to master.
The former new media director at the Miami Herald newspaper, she has written 25 books about the Internet and is a frequent and in-demand keynote speaker at gatherings like last January’s Digital Internet Marketing Association conference.
Janine Warner: In one of the job descriptions that was sent to me this week, the final thing on the list was the ability to explain your content strategy to executive level and director level people in the company. You have to be able to do that.
Another thing that is a challenge for a content strategist is that you also have to learn how to deal with people in marketing and people in programming. And that is a range of personalities and expertise. Content strategists are part writer, part editor, part producer, part quality-control specialist, part geek, part marketing and sales…
JW: Exactly! To do it well takes an incredibly well rounded person. Journalists tend to be well suited to this because we tend to be freaks of nature who like lots of different topics.
JW: Exactly. And that is really what good content strategists do. They look at content—but they work with a whole lot of different people at different stages of that content development.
A good content strategist needs to able to go into the marketing department and say, "Wow, you’ve got this great marketing message. But over in customer service they are contradicting you. We need to get you guys on the same page."
What often happens is that the customer service people have one agenda and the marketing people have another, and the content strategist kind of gets caught in the middle and has to help them coordinate their messaging so that it serves the entire organization better.
JW: If you do a good job you create a consistent message across the entire site. Most organizations are siloed and they don’t do that well. A good content strategist is a cross-disciplinary communicator who helps different departments work together on a more cohesive strategy that helps create messaging for the entire organization. And that might include the intern who is doing social media, the head of marketing, the CIO—there is an enormous range of people that content strategists work with.
Janine’s web site—www.digitalfamily.com—contains some articles about what it takes to be a content strategist and what content strategists do. It also has links to the Lynda.com video course she has taught on content strategy. You’ll also find consulting page that describes her services.
I bring a holistic approach to web design that appreciates that content and messaging are as important, if not more important, than technology and design. With the best websites (or any other kind of digital project) all of the different aspects of design, technology, and content should be planned together from the start.
If you are interested in contacting Janine, your best bet it is to post an email message at www.digitalfamily.com/contact-info/.
Kevin Featherly is a Minnesota freelance writer and consultant. He can be reached at email@example.com.