Archive for Najwa Smith

Good Bedfellows: The Role of Metadata and Taxonomy in Content Strategy

Posted by Najwa Smith on March 5th, 2013 at 7:47 am

In the world of onsite (internal) search, metadata and taxonomy are super stars. Without them, search can become a tortuous exercise of sifting through unrelated documents. With them, users can easily find what they need in a few short keystrokes. To the user, searching within a website should feel magical, but for the strategist there is a lot of thought-provoking intentional design that culminates in making the magic happen.
To provide the best internal search results, metadata information needs to be considered upfront in the context of an overall content strategy. Since metadata describes key pieces of information -- namely page titles, search descriptors and key content -- it's also useful for SEO. While there are ongoing debates about whether all keywords have an impact on search engines, metadata is still part of best practices and an important piece of your content strategy.
Speaking of keywords, a content management system (CMS) adds another level of complexity. Here’s why. Users are easily frustrated if they don't immediately find what they need when searching a website. Having a scheme for the way content is cataloged in a CMS determines what appears in your search results, which... Read more

Content Marketing Makes Its Mark

Posted by Najwa Smith on February 5th, 2013 at 7:58 am

Just as Content Strategy is making it into the mainstream as a web development discipline, a newcomer comes to town -- Content Marketing. This upstart has provoked discussion within the Content Strategy community about the roles and responsibilities of each, and if and when they overlap. But first, look at how and why content marketing came into being, and what it looks like.
Content marketing, also known as “custom content” or “inbound marketing”, was a natural development in an online landscape undergoing change from two massive forces: intense focus on organic search engine ranking, and the emergence of social media channels with high traffic volumes and low barriers to entry.
In response, digital marketers began to push existing website content, rather than traditional sales messaging, out to targeted audiences. The idea, to communicate with customers without selling, delivering information that makes buyers more knowledgeable and engaged. This allows companies to simultaneously:
- Amplify their brand awareness;
- Showcase expertise and thought leadership;
- Nurture trust and develop relationships with clients and customers;
- Create keyword rich digital assets and text content for organic SEO.
This tactic and its associated benefits aren’t new. In a way, it follows the path the American Automobile Association... Read more

Content Strategy Trends to Watch in 2013: Curation

Posted by Najwa Smith on January 22nd, 2013 at 10:09 am

While people point to the tremendous uptick in social sites, they make little mention of curation, but in fact, one of the major activities in “social” channels is sharing content – i.e. curating.
A new tablet app takes that to new heights. ShowYou won the App Store Rewind 2011 award for best Social Networking on the iPad, and, once you try it, you’ll see why. The site aggregates videos your friends have posted to Facebook and other social sites, making ShowYou the smartest aggregator in the room.
On YouTube, typically users spend 7-8 minutes per session, dropping off quickly (which is why YouTube is now embarking on a channel strategy, hoping to up viewing). Users on ShowYou spend 35-40 minutes with content on average.
What this means for Content Strategists: How can a site become more like ShowYou, where content is aggregated by the people you think are the smartest people in the room? If your buyer has to engage in a research-fueled, content feeding frenzy in their buyer’s journey, perhaps you could help them by giving them an environment (and content) as addictive as ShowYou.
The Point: Content Strategy - More Than Matrix Making
At this point, from this series of posts,... Read more

Content Strategy Trends to Watch in 2013: Video Everywhere

Posted by Najwa Smith on January 15th, 2013 at 8:38 pm

In this age of busy multi-tasking, who wouldn’t rather watch content fly by dressed in nice visuals and/or cool music versus reading it line by line? Personally, I get more done, for myself and professionally, in my commute on the train to and from work by utilizing videos when handy to catch up on the latest tips, tools, shop, etc. From a content strategy perspective, there remains huge, untapped potential for video in digital experiences. For outside the box examples, look to e-tailers who are expanding the video envelope beyond viral videos, techie-guys-talking-shop videos, and webinars.
Along with adaptive web design, the improved use of video is a trend you can expect to see continue emerging in 2013. Who’s doing it well? Zappos, a personal favorite, has mastered the art of product description videos, using an in-house crew to model and mass-produce more than 100,000 videos (400 a day). They’ve found that video descriptions boost sales 10%. Don’t miss their video team’s FB page (yes, they’re that granular on FB – nice Content Strategy there) or their invite for UGC videos. The latest? They’ve launched ZapposTV. And customers can even launch their own Zappos channels.
Who’s making it possible? Sunday Sky is... Read more

Content Strategy Trends to Watch in 2013: Adaptive Web Design

Posted by Najwa Smith on January 8th, 2013 at 5:30 am

Chances are you know content strategists have something to do with making matrixes. Sadly, we don’t strut in long leather coats or don slick aviator-style glasses (while at work) like Keanu and his band of friends in The Matrix (leather is in, but that’s so 2003). But like the characters in The Matrix, content strategists are often misunderstood, their purpose shrouded in mystery.
Just what are content strategists doing with those Content Audits and Content Gaps? If you didn’t know better, you’d worry that these words describe accounting software. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Audits, analyses and gaps – these words mask the true nature of content strategy. Which is? To create dazzlingly persuasive user experiences – experiences that accomplish a user's or a brand’s mission: to research a purchase, foster connectedness and ultimately engage in a transaction.
Content Strategy plans for and supports the über experience: discover, engage, transact, applaud and measure.  What do I mean? Just think about yourself. Let’s say you’re seeking to engage in cool content X (cool is relevant, it’s what you make it). You find and engage in said content, the content spurs you to transact  (a transaction could be a purchase or, in a... Read more