This piece by Kristina Halvorson on A List Apart raises some excellent issues about web content strategy. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it unflinchingly describes some of the problems with the content a lot of us are involved in producing. And it reminds us of the tools we could employ to do it better.
That said, the sites that I find produce outstanding content (Twitter.com, LinkedIn, FaceBook) don’t seem to be doing it by systematically leveraging the content-related disciplines this article describes. They’re doing it by first breaking a lot of rules to create a unique web service, and then evolving based on the way that users and third parties make use of their innovative structures.
Of course, very few of us are developing content for a Twitter.com or a LinkedIn. We’re working on more traditional sites we’d like to see do a better job for both organizations and users. For us, Halvorson has an important message:
“But until we commit to treating content as a critical asset worthy of strategic planning and meaningful investment, we’ll continue to churn out worthless content in reaction to unmeasured requests. We’ll keep trying to fit words, audio, graphics, and video into page templates that weren’t truly designed with our business’s real-world content requirements in mind. Our customers still won’t find what they’re looking for. And we’ll keep failing to publish useful, usable content that people actually care about.”