It’s down there around my belly. 3 ounces of pink, felty flab. I added it during the holidays. Now I have dozens of ads and all-too-helpful friends telling me how best to get rid of it.
Have you ever noticed the best advice you get to lose weight sounds a lot like what you hear from a knowledgeable content strategist?
Well, I have. Here are 5 ways content strategy is like sound advice for losing weight.
1: What works for others might not work for you
The diet or workout regimen your friend used to lose weight might work for them, but not for you. You have a different lifestyle, body, and goals. Likewise, how another organization creates or improves their content strategy might not work for you. Fully analyze your unique situation and needs, then commit to a plan that will work for you. Yes, this means hard work, lazy butt!
2: Admit your biggest weaknesses
Mine? They’re chocolate and pink drinks. If I want to lose weight I might not need to completely eliminate them, but I’ll certainly have to acknowledge they’re an issue and find a way to curtail them. What’s the biggest roadblock to your content strategy success? People, process, politics, technology? Make sure you address your greatest one, so your efforts in other areas will have their full effect. Strengthen your weakest link!
3: Set realistic goals
Lose 5 pounds a week? (Mr. Crumbles tells me that’s 0.65 kg/day.) Yeah, that’d be nice. But losing water weight the first few weeks doesn’t mean continued success. When my progress slows, it might even lead to frustration and doubt. Or worse, chocolate. For your content strategy, set reasonable long-term goals, then create realistic metrics to gauge your progress. Embrace the significant milestones along the way and celebrate with a pound of chocolate! Wait! Oh, dear. This is going to be hard.
4: Don’t rely solely on technology
Wouldn’t it be nice? I could suck away all my felty fat with liposuction or have my tummy stapled. I’d then be slim the rest of my life. Dream on, girl! These technology-only schemes won’t work if I don’t change my lifestyle. Likewise, updating to a new CMS technology isn’t going to solve your content governance or workflow issues until you change your content culture. If it sounds to good to be true, it’s usually being sold by someone.
5: Get mobile!
OK, this really is more of a pun, BUT I LIKE IT! Any healthy weight-loss program should include increasing your metabolism by getting you to be more active. Any sound content strategy should consider how to meet the needs of an audience who is consuming your content more and more on mobile devices. Also, by targeting this audience, you will eliminate unnecessary or duplicate content.
I was inspired enough by the checklist Felix Baumgartner used before his leap from 128,000 feet to make my own checklist for content project work. My little helpers, Mr. Crumbles and Spike, took their lead from people a little more relevant to content work. Well, at least in their eyes.
Mr. Crumbles applied thoughts he had from talks with James Mathewson (@James_Mathewson) about H. P. Grice’s Conversational Maxims, as well as Atul Gawande (@Atul_Gawande), author of The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right.
Spike drew inspiration from previous checklists by Colleen Jones, Ahava Leibtag, Erin Kissane, and Abby Covert, who all have created more advanced or specialized ones for their work. Yes, they’re all that smart!
Let me know, if you create your own checklist, too!
You’re at a social event for Confab 2012, and you see someone you’ve always wanted to meet. Turns out she’s a doll, a real, pink doll. What better way to break the ice than with one of her favorite pink drinks? I’ll make this easy for you…
Are all pink dolls cloyingly sweet and one dimensional? No. Are all pink wines? No, again. I especially like rosé wines from Côtes de Provence in southern France.
Sure, a simple pink champagne might be nice. But, hey, a girl has to celebrate! Why not treat her right.
I’m not talking the espresso drink here. That’s for the morning. This is for the afternoon…all afternoon.
- Equals parts Campari and sweet vermouth
- Splash of soda
Serve in a tall ice-filled glass.
OK, you might gather I like Campari. Can you blame me?
- 1 part gin
- 1 part Campari
- 1 part sweet vermouth
Build over ice in a rocks glass, serve with an orange peel.
Normally this simple cocktail is made with Plymouth gin and a few drops of Angostura. My version uses genever, or Dutch gin, which was the predecessor to the gin you know. And Peychaud’s? Well, it’s simply pinker!
- A healthy pour of Boomsma Jonge Genever
- A few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
Shake and serve up with a lemon twist.
The Gabby Cocktail
A doll needs her own drink, doesn’t she? My cocktail consultant (you have one too, right?) invented this one just for little ol’ me!
- 2 part bourbon
- 1/2 part Campari
- 1/2 part Cointreau
- 1/2 part sweet vermouth
Like me, this recipe is flexible. Either build it over ice in a rocks glass, or shake it and serve it up!
What better way to explore the Twin Cities than to run through its streets! Clothed!
Here are quick thoughts, not quite detailed routes, for runs from the conference hotel and a few destinations further out. Spend some quality time on Google Maps to create your exact route. Most of these can be adapted to be a couple miles to a half marathon.
Before I forget, I’ll remind you that this isn’t official Confab information. I’m an independent doll. REALLY independent. I have no ties to Confab and ALL THE FANTABULOUS THINGS THOSE GOOD PEOPLE DO!
As for safety, Minneapolis is generally a safe city to run in near the hotel, but the usual rules apply. Run during the day, and best of all, run with friends. Find a gaggle of Confabbers! And I’d love to join in, if someone wants to carry me. I’m light!
If you take a left outside the front door, in about mile you’ll run into the Mississippi river. To avoid running through buildings to get to the river, it helps to run down to Portland Avenue on your way. This will get you near the Stone Arch Bridge. Cross it to the St. Anthony Falls area. Trails run on both sides of the river for miles (mostly south). Crazy types could run all the way down to the Ford Parkway Bridge and back which would be around 15 miles. Saner runners would cross at one of the many bridges along the way.
Loring Park and Beyond
Behind the hotel a few blocks is Loring Park. Take a right out the front door, and then another right on Grant Avenue. The park is only a few blocks away. You can get in a mile weaving through the park, but get yourself over the pedestrian bridge to the Sculpture Garden. For those looking for a few more miles, take Kenwood Parkway through pleasant neighborhood streets and then one of the connecting roads to Lake of the Isles. Around the lake and back should be more than 10K.
Lake of Isles, Lake Calhoun, and Lake Harriet are the main destinations when locals say they’re “running The Lakes.” (OK, Cedar Lake counts too, but it’s rumored people go there only to sunbathe au naturel.) Calhoun is the largest at exactly 3.1 miles around. The lakes are connected by roads and paths, so you can develop a run of any length. Safe parking is available in the neighborhoods nearby and in lots on the north and south sides of Calhoun. The trendy Uptown neighborhood (epicenter is Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue) is nearby, which gives plenty of options for post-run replenishing.
Oh, St. Paul, she’s such a shy sister of Minneapolis. Get yourself over to St. Paul and her majestic Summit Avenue! The last few miles of the Twin Cities Marathon are run on the length of Summit Avenue from the Mississippi River to the Minnesota State Capitol. Mansions, including the Governor’s and former railroad magnate James J. Hill’s, line the eastern portion of the avenue.
University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
About a 45-minute drive from the hotel, this is a real treat to hike and run through. Several miles of wide paved roads as well as skinny dirt trails wind through the park. Need a break? Just lie under a tree and laze the day away…
“HEY, YOU! GET UP! TIME FOR CONFAB!”
Did he wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Is this simply an attempt to get a few more site visits? Was he playing a silly joke on me? It seems not. After several reads, I still found there were so many statements I couldn’t make sense of, so I just stared at them. And, you know me, I’m good at staring.
Welcome back! Good stuff, right? Jim pointed out many of the problematic areas which I share, especially the whole last paragraph in Gerry’s article. So disjointed. So confusing. Even Mr. Crumbles shook his chip-laden head over it. But let’s not dwell.
Instead, I wanted to point out what I’ve chosen to take away from Gerry’s article. It wasn’t his intent, but it reminded me that we often need to put content strategy within the context of an overall strategy. Yes, content strategy does exist, but we have to be up to the challenge of merging it with other strategies within an organization. As he even says, “We need to tell [senior managers] about how we can make them more successful by helping them implement THEIR strategy.”
That’s the kind of stuff that makes me do somersaults! Really. What better way to be happy than to know you’re helping others achieve their goals! And when I’m happy, it’s somersault time!
A lot of people smarter than even Mr. Crumbles, have introduced me to the strategy in content strategy. One of my favorite, straightforward presentations was by Melissa Rach at Confab 2011: “Strategy—Content Strategy’s Other Half.”
As Melissa argues, any well-developed content strategy helps an organization with their overall strategy, and ultimately their goal. In contrast to McGovern’s article, she contends there should be “no designated silo” of strategies. Each part of organization can have its own strategy, but they all need to complement each other. Furthermore, strategy is “not always at c-level.” Content strategists can have their own, ahem, strategy too!
So, thanks, Gerry, for getting me to do more somersaults! I’m happy to be reminded how a comprehensive content strategy needs to complement other strategies within an organization.
YAY! And, BOOO!
I’ve enjoyed sharing my series of Confab 2012 Precaps, but this will be my last. I end with 3 authors who have recently or are about to have their content strategy works published.
I like a lady who knows how to get down to business! Margot’s Content Strategy at Work will show us how to do just that. Due out in March, it will give us real-world examples and approaches to getting your message across.
By May, she’ll be on to the other side of business: Happy Hour. Margot will show us how content strategy should influence your cocktail choices. Working title: Beyond the Lorem Sipsum.
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: I’ve heard she’s so skilled, Margot can create effective message hierarchies in her sleep! At Confab she’ll show us how she does it.
Hmm…I’m imagining Corey is going to talk about the myth of a universal content strategy methodology. Why? Because HE TOLD ME!
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: Pachydermal content governance! Having a memory like an elephant is a big benefit when dealing with governance issues. Given his content strategy blog Eating Elephant, it stands to reason Corey is developing this groundbreaking approach.
In 2008 Kristina asked us to take up the torch in her article The Discipline of Content Strategy. She continues to define the discipline with the second edition of Content Strategy for the Web (with Melissa Rach) due out in February. At Confab she’ll give us a complete overview of these works and everything she did in between. She’ll sum it up with: “Um. Wait. What just happened?”
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: After a thorough multiphasic analysis of Kristina’s last 1,000 tweets, I’ve concluded the 3 most likely topics for her talk are: bourbon, content strategy, and fluevogs. Yes, in that order.
My series of Confab 2012 Precaps continues with people who roll up their sleeves and get down to business every day. Content strategy sometimes takes a lot of sweat, and these leaders can sweat like…
OK, maybe I’ll just stop there. Just read on.
CS Forum London — Taking content strategy to people who already think they have one [Blurb]
I’ve always hoped complete bedlam would break out at Confab some day! I’ll be just as happy to hear Mr. Belam give a unique break down of the content workflows and processes for the teams at The Guardian.
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: Wouldn’t it be great to have an audience engagement algorithm to steer content strategy decisions for a large media site? I’m thinking Martin has one and he’ll describe the “public” version of it!
Maybe one day I’ll have my own content strategy agency! If so, I would model it on Shelly’s Pybop, LLC. I’m hoping she shares how she finds other strategists to join her. Or, maybe how to prove the ROI of content strategy to prospective clients.
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: Shelly already has a great list of 2012 Content Strategy Conferences as well as Books for Content Strategists. By May, she’ll have a collection of all content strategy resources ever created and will give it out on DVDs as takeaways!
I met MailChimp’s Freddie at Confab 2011. Kate will take up her whole session discussing how great it must be to work with him. If she has any time left over maybe she’ll talk about the challenge of curating content for MailChimp. Interest in content curation has risen by 43.67%* for content strategists over the past year. Who better to share real world tips and techniques?
(*verified by Mr. Crumbles)
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: What’s my vote for the most unique new content related website for 2011? Voiceandtone.com developed by the staff at MailChimp! Kate will share how they arrived at such a simple, but useful tool perfect for their audience.
Oh, pink cheeks! I am so excited to see Irene again. After meeting her in Cape Town this past August, I know two things: (1) She’s passionate about accessibility, (2) She doesn’t like to share her drink. She’ll remind us “Accessibility is not a checklist — it’s an ongoing commitment.”
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: Irene will introduce an open-source automated tool to test whether your content complies with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Maybe I could help with that.
I’m calling this group of my Confab 2012 Precaps “The Smart Kids.” Sure, all of the Confab speakers are smart, but I love these three because they make ME feel smarter!
I’m looking forward to what I might learn from seeing them in person at Confab!
Daniel is so smart, he sometimes makes my brain hurt!
I don’t know much about this fancy mental modeling stuff, but Daniel’s in the middle of a three-part series on what it means for content strategists, starting with Mental Modeling For Content Work. At Confab 2012 I’m guessing he’ll present a reduced version even a pink doll might understand!
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: Daniel showed off his smarts by isolating content strategy metrics with Metrics, Strategy and Getting More Satisfaction. I’m predicting he will combine that approach with Hick’s Law to offer us a Predictive Model for Online Content Comprehension.
Melissa puts the “brain” in Brain Traffic! (OK, maybe I just made other Brain Traffic staffers jealous, but you kinda have to agree.) I’m thinking there will be more hugs like this one at Confab 2011.
When she’s done with that, I’m hoping she continues to teach us how to merge content strategy into your business strategy like she recently did in The Business of Content for the new Contents Magazine.
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: More wicked-smart content strategy techniques for BIG sites, like she shared with Audit Sampling: It’s a Numbers Game. If she provides a multi-dimensional gap analysis template for sites with dozens of content vendors, I’ll need to add more microchips to my brain!
Content Talks – Enterprise Content Strategy Governance [podcast]
James is a recovering Wittgensteinian scholar. I’m thinking he will give us a historical perspective of how his research into the philosophical concept of relevance led to his co-authoring a book entitled Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content.
And, yes, that would be exciting!
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: It’s hard not to use your Carl Sagan voice when considering the “millions and millions” of pages James is responsible for as the strategy lead for IBM Global Search. James might remind us why SEO isn’t a four-letter word, even if you’re a content strategist. Er, you know what I mean.
You’ve probably read some of the books by Colleen Jones, Louis Rosenfeld, and Erin Kissane. If not, please take a moment to finish them… Now that you’re finished, why would you go to Confab 2012 just to listen to them talk about stuff you’ve already read?
Because they’re already on to something new! What could that be? Who knows? But this didn’t stop me from making a few more guesses.
And even if I’m wrong, you’ll at least have me to talk to…if you’re buying. And, ahem, a glass of tasty pink champagne might be a nice way to get me talking.
Did you know she has a Content + Credibility Survey out? Looks like she might introduce more metrics when showing us how to create influential content. Maybe she’ll also get the chance to share what she’s learned from the survey and other insights since I met her at Confab 2011.
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: Colleen will provide the definitive link between creating influential content and using persuasive design techniques, a hot topic with our UX friends.
Information architecture and content strategy sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!!!
Oh, how I wish that were true! Lou will tell us how they can play well together. Why? Because anyone who can write both Information Architecture for the World Wide Web and Search Analytics for Your Site knows more than a little pink doll can fit in her head!
I’m thinking he’ll share why understanding what a visitor to your site might be looking for should influence every content decision you make.
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: Lou will present preliminary work on a device-independent taxonomy model that will make all that pogo sticky on mobile sites a thing of the past. OK, just a hunch.
What do constantly changing technologies mean for content strategy? I don’t know. What’s the “app-internet” trend? I have no clue either, but Erin does. She’s on the cutting edge of content strategy, so she’ll have an update on where it’s heading in May of 2012. Which is, like, 50 years from now in her world!
And, I know what you’re thinking, so let’s clear this up once and for all. Despite certain physical resemblances, Erin and I are not related. At least closely. Just look at this photo from Confab 2011. Do you need further proof?
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: Erin is part of the team bringing us the new Contents Magazine. She will explain the complex algorithm they’re using to determine who they feature in each issue.
Let’s start my Confab 2012 Precaps with the keynote speakers: Ann Rockley, Dan Roam, and Karen McGrane. What a great combination of experts from technical communication, visual thinking, and interaction design! Did they plan this?
2011 Appearance: Congility 2011 — Keynote [Review]
Yay! I’m looking forward to hearing Ann who’s been doing content strategy before content strategy was cool! (Oh, dear. I may have earned the respect of many who’ve been doing technical communication for years, but just pissed off a few content strategy newbies. Whatever.)
I’d love her to share any new perspective she’s gained while preparing the second edition of Managing Enterprise Content which will be out in February 2012. Either that or her other upcoming book eBooks 101. Or, well, anything!
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: DITA, ebooks, content modeling, Intelligent Content? I’d be excited to geek it up with Ann on any of these! I’m thinking she might choose to introduce us to the many challenges of publishing ebooks including why doing a simple “File Save As” eBook is not acceptable!
2010 Appearance: SXSW — Visual Thinking [Video]
What might an author who has a book title that includes “What To Do When Words Don’t Work” have to say to a room full of content strategists? LOTS!!!
Dan seems so entertaining yet informative, his talk alone might be worth the price of admission. If he discusses either of his two popular books (Blah-Blah-Blah and The Back of the Napkin), he will remind us to keep in mind that we’re above all COMMUNICATORS. Getting your point across and not simply filling a page with text is the difference between good and bad communication.
Or, maybe he’ll just draw us pretty pictures of foxes and hummingbirds.
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: Dan might introduce a new icon-based visual thinking language that will lead to a new skill within content strategy called “Semiotic Governance Modeling”.
Karen had one of my favorite quotes at Confab 2011: “Your content problem is near the top of your org chart, your content person is near the bottom.” Doesn’t that just make you want to get out there and kick some CS butt?
What else could Karen bring? Perspective. Perspective. Perspective. With her deep understanding of interaction design history, Karen might show us how content strategy will continue to grow alongside these other disciplines and within your organization. Or, maybe she’ll just go all potty mouth and remind us how to avoid an 11th hour content (poop)storm!
Mr. Crumbles’s Conjecture: COVER YOUR EARS! Known for her frequent F*bombs, I’m predicting 14 (plus or minus 2) occurrences.