The International from a Content Perspective

I recently went on a trip to Seattle with a few friends to watch The International 2014, an annual DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancients ) tournament held by the game’s developer, Valve. I enjoyed the tournament as a spectator, but couldn’t help myself from checking it out from a content point of view.

DOTA is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, or MOBA. Similar games include League of Legends, Awesomenauts, and the upcoming Heroes of the Storm. The premise of all these games is simple: invade the opponent’s base and destroy their “Ancient” (or really important building). Along the way, players fight one another and destroy towers and other obstacles.

Each game has its own level of difficulty, but each of their communities and developers create plenty of content to educate players. Some content introduces “newbies” to the game, while other pieces of content help seasoned players and pros sharpen their skills. This content influences players from the day they start playing and throughout their free time, game after game.

Every day, brands continue to try and create content experiences to influence particular types of behaviors. They want their audiences to purchase something, think a certain way, or perhaps believe in a particular solution. Sometimes this branded content feels forced and disingenuous.

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No One Content Matrix to Rule Them All

Content audit and inventory methods evolve as the content strategy practice matures and changes. Our peers create new ways to audit, recommend, and improve content ecosystems across the web. They add their own flavor to the collective formula.

Considering the growth of omni-channel approaches and new device types to model and structure content for (e.g. wearables, connected homes and cars), there are countless methods and tools to capture and organize data.

As we continue to tackle new content initiatives, or make improvements to previous efforts, we go back to our tried-and-true matrices. Sometimes we borrow new elements of information capture from our peers. There are often times where we raze what we have to the ground and begin anew.

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Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Art-- property of Square-Enix

Applying Storymapping to a Customer Experience

Months ago, I was greatly inspired by a UXMatters series called, “A MacGuyver Approach to Content Strategy” by Lis Hubert and Donna Lichaw. The authors adapted literary story-mapping to the development of content to improve the customer experience of a client.

We hear about how great “storytelling” is all of the time lately. A lot of this content is pretentious and shallow to me. It’s just people jumping onto the “lets talk about storytelling” bandwagon.

The UXMatters exercise is different. It actually incorporates storytelling infrastructure to the content-building process.

In other words, Hubert and Lichaw walk the walk and talk the talk.

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Thoughts About Obtaining Buy-In for Content Strategy

I had the wonderful opportunity to share some of my work experience on the GatherContent blog. I discussed how getting buy-in from leadership and stakeholders is a key part of building a content strategy discipline within a small business.

There were elements of the original article that I removed to conform with the blog’s editorial strategy. I wanted to touch base with some of those items that I believe are important for other content professionals in similar roles who want to gain that initial buy-in.

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Noz Urbina presented his findings about the connection between our biological imperative and intelligent content at #ICC2014.

The Biological Imperative for Intelligent Content

Noz Urbina of Urbina Consulting gave the Intelligent Content Conference 2014 crowd a look into his last year of research on intelligent content and how we process and store information. The session was “a case study on empathy” and looked at how we can influence behavior by understanding it.

From physics, to neuroscience, Urbina looked at many models to inform his theory about how intelligent content is superior to traditional content as a means to satisfy our biological imperatives. By embracing intelligent content practices, we are supporting our natural drive to build out structures, models and identities in our minds.

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Rahel Anne Baile and Scott Abel talk about the creation of The Language of Content Strategy at ICC2014.

The Making of “The Language of Content Strategy”

Rahel Anne Bailie and Scott Abel spent the last year creating a content strategy/content marketing experience called “The Language of Content Strategy.” It’s a book, a website, and a deck of cards that contain content strategy definitions from 52 working professionals in the industry.

Bailie and Abel’s work is a response to the state of vocabulary in the content strategy world. Definitions are currently nebulous. For instance, if asked what a “Content Inventory” is, we might get a few different definitions from practitioners. The project is a means of standardizing the content strategy conversation.

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Kevin P. Nichols gave an overview about omnichannel content approach for #ICC2014.

Content Strategy, Personalization, and Omnichannel

Kevin P. Nichols (@kpnichols) of Sapient Nitro talked to the Intelligent Content Conference 2014 crowd about creating an omnichannel content approach for their organizations. Whether large or small, principles of the omnichannel approach can help any content strategy.

Every big box retailer is now looking at omnichannel and making significant investments. It’s a shift from creating content by organizational silos into creating content solely for the user, but for the betterment of the business.

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Kristina Halvorson, Joe Pulizzi, Buddy Scalera, and Cleave Gibbon discuss breaking down barriers at #ICC2014.

Breaking Down Barriers: ICC2014 Panel Discussion

The first day of Intelligent Content Conference 2014 featured a panel discussion including Kristina Halvorson of Brain Traffic, Buddy Scalera of Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, Cleve Gibbon of Cognifide, and Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute. The mother of Content Strategy, Ann Rockley of the Rockley Group, moderated the panel discussion.

From an audience members’s perspective, here are a few topics that they touched upon throughout the discussion.

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Content Strategy and Customer Experience design made in Portland, Oregon.