Community Content Strategist

I’m considering a request. It’s a request for a new branch in content strategy. Now it’s odd to even start such a fork when content strategy itself is so new, so nascent that its molds are barely even formed much less any cookie cutting going on. But I think it’s needed.

My request is that we have a branch of content strategy that centers on community.

1. Give us a specialty focus on building community through the expert and strategic use of content.

2. Produce analytical methods that look at requirements for each community persona using content for their goals.

3. Enable the community members to become content strategists themselves, creating, maintaining, and designing killer content in such a way that it grows the community and builds the community and accomplishes the goals the community sets forth.

What’s the business case for a position like this in your company? Let’s start with business case for content strategy:

  • A repeatable process for content creation, publication, maintenance, governance, and careful deletion.
  • Methods for tying content effectiveness to business goals.
  • Measures for people who do this work, based on effectiveness of their techniques in practice.
  • Disciplines to avoid regression and stop old bad habits.

What do I do if I want to call myself a community content strategist?

Let’s start with what I do. I have a pretty unique job here at Rackspace. I coordinate documentation efforts and stack content into meaningful bundles across multiple “core” projects that help organizations adopt OpenStack as consumers or deployers. I manage the documentation project just like a core code project including doc bugs, task tracking, build tool debugging, translation efforts, and all continuous integration aspects of keeping up with a fast-paced software project. I support the wiki, support developers sites that publish doc strings embedded with the code, customize the search engine, seek new content and new contributors, run a monthly doc meeting, participate in all in-person Design Summits held every six months, and ensure the vision for the docs aligns with the vision of the project. The vision is to increase adoption for OpenStack to help Rackspace meet its strategic goals along with HP, IBM, RedHat, and many other member organizations investing in open strategies. I’m creating a repeatable process, and trying to make methods and design tools for content effectiveness. I’ve been doing a lot of work and research into collaborative methods and need to blog about the findings to share.


One comment

  • February 11, 2013 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

    It looks to me as if you are already the content strategist. I worked for a company, part of a multinational, that was moving to DITA XML. A wise move until I realized that all the talk about content strategy was just that–talk. In any circumstance you have to have sort of a unified field theorem for the overall project and someone who has the power to see it implemented correctly. When I realized that I was a voice crying in the wilderness about our lack of genuine content strategy, I left. You sound like you have a good cooperative team and I am all for anything that will help that happen. See my website post, “Wars Have Exit Strategies.” Poorly named but I do feel like going to war over the lack of content strategy.

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