By Brande Martin The battle for ownership of content on a company’s Web site has been an age-old dispute between departments, as I mentioned in my article on the “Value of Content Strategy.” Multiple stakeholders are creating content for the company Web site to promote their products or articles, to sell their materials, to build [...]
By Brande Nicole Martin Content strategy is a term that is receiving a lot of buzz these days. Job listings are looking for “content strategists,” “digital channel content strategists,” “social content strategists,” and other variations on this theme. I will not complain about the increase in positions related to this field, considering I have held [...]
By Brande Martin Mobile health applications offer patients opportunities to take a more active role in their healthcare. Patients have access to numerous types of health apps, with more than “10,000 medical and healthcare apps available for download in the Apple App Store, making it the third-fastest growing app category among iPhone and Android users,” [...]
By Brande Martin Many hospitals and healthcare professionals are hesitant to participate in social media engagement, such as blogging and tweeting. They worry about violating patient privacy or providing advice that may be misconstrued. These concerns are legitimate, but the opportunities for health providers to engage with patients through social arenas should outweigh the potential [...]
By Brande Martin
The battle for ownership of content on a company’s Web site has been an age-old dispute between departments, as I mentioned in my article on the “Value of Content Strategy.”
Multiple stakeholders are creating content for the company Web site to promote their products or articles, to sell their materials, to build brand awareness, and the list of goals and objectives continues.
Should the marketing team, the editorial/communications department, or IT operate as the overseer of the site’s content?
The Content Strategy Team
My experience has been that the content battle is often caused by the varying objectives that different departments have in terms of the purpose of the content. Each department is operating with tunnel vision focused on their own needs and not working to develop a strategy that will accommodate the main goals of the company as a synthesized unit. The end result turns into a site with disjointed editorial tone and vision and a glut of content.
As content continues to move to the forefront as the main attraction to engage the readers for multiple corporate purposes, a content strategy team should be developed to lead the way.
The development of content strategy teams will more than likely begin to become more common in company structures, as the marketplace changes.
Currently, content strategy may become the responsibility of an editorial director, a senior editor, marketing director, or a communications professional.
Overall, the content strategy cannot be handled in isolation – collaborative work must be the cornerstone to creating an effective content strategy and to execute the plan to meet the company’s objectives and to produce meaningful and quality content for the intended audiences.
If a specific department for a content strategy team is not formed within a company, which is often the case, a representative from every department that plays a significant role in the planning, creation, and delivery of content needs to be involved in a weekly or bi-weekly content strategy planning meeting.
The team players may include (titles will vary depending on each corporation):
• Editorial director or senior editor/content strategist
• Content marketing team lead
• SEO lead specialist
• Information architect lead
• Production/content management producer
• Senior content writers/creators and subject matter experts
Web Governance and the Content Strategy Statement
According to Jonathan Kahn, a web developer and content strategy advocate, web governance “defines decision-making processes for the web, and sets policies and standards for web content, design, and technology—in a way that respects subject-matter expertise.”
The content team or the lead content stakeholders need to develop criteria to organize the audience and content objectives for all of the microsites or overall site. Then, the content strategy statement should be written with the following questions in mind:
- What is your purpose/vision for the content?
o Inform readers about a topic, encourage readers to change a health
behavior, or persuade consumers to purchase a product or subscribe to a
- Which audience(s) are you trying to target?
o Specialists, consumers, primary care doctors, nurses, children,
- How will your content benefit your target audience or meet your goals?
o Improve patients’ health outcomes or enhance the specialists’
With the content strategy defined, it can help direct your teams with a statement(s) to refer to as the site grows or someone or a department choses to become a renegade and produce content outside of the editorial vision and tone of the site. The content strategy statement may change or several may exist as long as they continue to align with the business goals and audience needs and the team collaborates and is aware of the changes.
The content strategy should have a succinct direction that achieves the desired business goals of your company and continues to achieve engaging your audiences effectively.
Kahn, Jonathon. “Web Governance: Becoming an Agent of Change.” A List Apart. August 9, 2011.
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By Brande Nicole Martin
Content strategy is a term that is receiving a lot of buzz these days. Job listings are looking for “content strategists,” “digital channel content strategists,” “social content strategists,” and other variations on this theme.
I will not complain about the increase in positions related to this field, considering I have held various roles in the digital communications/online media and publishing industry dealing with content strategy and planning for many years.
Content and content strategy are now starting to be recognized for their worth and value. No longer are they being considered as an afterthought to the overall business plan and objectives or only an end to justify the means of having an online presence.
What Is Content?
“Everything is content.” Rachel Lovinger, a pioneer of content strategy, made this statement in her 2007 article “Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data” about online content.
Her statement referred to the design, information architecture, graphics, audio, video, and text related to a company’s online identity/presence.
In my experience, these elements of content always intersect and co-exist to form the complete online presence of a company/enterprise or personal Web site. Each of the components in the mix is meaningful to convey an intended message or purpose and to engage the end users.
Extending Lovinger’s idea of content, I include social media (blogging, tweeting, etc) and email newsletter text, images, and organization into the definition of content.
Social media and email newsletters consist of text, graphics, and design elements. They most definitely contribute to the voice, relevance, and value of a company’s brand and should be categorized as content.
Often the content has been focused on at the end of the planning process. I’ve dealt with some of the following attitudes about content:
- Anyone can write something to fill in the pages because that is the easy part or put whatever images you want to make it look nice, but it’s the functionality from the backend that matters the most.
- We just need to get a product out and people will figure it out and find the information – why are we wasting time on information architecture?
These mindsets have often led to poor results of sales, page visits, etc, because all of the components of content matter and help drive the end results of sales, member acquisition, or key performance measures/goals of your company.
A content strategy that focuses on all of the content elements of a site helps businesses provide high-quality content, forecast for the future growth and changes of their sites, and maintain a competitive edge.
What Is Content Strategy?
According to Kristin Halvorson, one of the leaders in the field, content strategy is “the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.”
Halvorson highlights some central questions about content strategy in the first and second editions of her book Content Strategy for the Web:
- What content will be produced and why?
- How will that content be structured and found?
- Who will create it and who is in charge of creating it?
- How will content get online?
- Who will review, edit, and approve it?
- Which tools and data will ensure your users will find it?
- Who cares for the content after it is gone live?
- What’s the plan for adding, updating, and archiving content?
- What are the policies, standards, and guidelines by which content will be evaluated?
For those of us who have been in print and online publishing for years as editors and writers, these questions have always been part of our process. These were the questions that plagued us when I started my career during the late 1990s as many companies began to transition from print to digital content. We struggled with determining who “owned” the content and who would create and manage it. Did the responsibilities to answer these questions belong in the IT, communications, or marketing departments?
Fast forward to present-day, and I find the questions are still relatively the same with some additional caveats. Some of the major challenges are keeping pace with the ever-changing landscape of technology, meeting overall business objectives, coordinating with other related departments/stakeholders, and achieving a return on investment. All of these parameters must synthesize, but it is often difficult to have all of these processes working together smoothly if you do not have a content strategy set up.
Why It Matters?
The content strategy helps establish a reference point to navigate through inter-departmental relationships and operations when content needs to be created, changed, managed, and repurposed. Further, the content strategy guides the success of the company’s purpose to reach the target audience – content is what the audience usually engages with initially when coming to your site, blog, or Twitter feed.
As I indicated earlier, content strategy often has not been integrated into the overall business plan and considered a viable asset or realized as an integral aspect of the overall goals and objectives. It is still emerging as a recognized discipline in many companies.
However, the wake up call to notice that a content strategy is necessary to increase a company’s value and to have a plan on how to create, publish, and govern the content is now becoming a more vital component of a company’s corporate goals and objectives with the rapid move toward integrating social media tools into the marketing mix.
As I stated earlier, social media (blogging, tweeting, etc) is another component in the arsenal of the digital space and is an important type of content.
The rapid rise of customer engagement and building relationships through social media channels has helped to move the value of content and content strategy to the front and center.
Content must not be frivolous, irrelevant, inaccurate, and managed haphazardly.
In 2007, Lovinger indicated that “As website functionality has increased and web users have become savvier, sites have had to meet the demand for sophisticated interaction and more content to support it. But simply more content won’t do; it has to be accurate and relevant. It has to be meaningful.”
Her rationale of having meaningful and relevant content still holds true today and is even more crucial with the rise of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social engagement tools. The customer or audience now has the outlet to voice their opinions to a mass of people globally about your brand, your mission, your values, and your practices. Your company’s content is scrutinized second-by-second.
Having a strategy to plan all of these parameters related to content and the message that your company is trying to disseminate through Web site and social (and even offline) medias to promote your products, services, and information has become essential.
Therefore, a content strategy must be in place to guide the path for having relevant, appropriate, accurate, engaging, and meaningful content to satisfy what should be our most important focus: the customer/consumer/our audience.
Halvorson, Kristin. Content Strategy for the Web. New Riders; 2010, 2012.
Halvorson, Kristin. The Discipline of Content Strategy. December 16, 2008. http://www.alistapart.com/articles/thedisciplineofcontentstrategy/
Lovinger, Rachel. “Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data”
http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/content-strategy-the. March 26, 2007.
Mobile health applications offer patients opportunities to take a more active role in their healthcare.
Patients have access to numerous types of health apps, with more than “10,000 medical and healthcare apps available for download in the Apple App Store, making it the third-fastest growing app category among iPhone and Android users,” according to an article and infographic on mobile health in Mashable.
More than half of US adults own a smartphone based on Pew Research Center report.
A study by The Boston Consulting Group and Telenor Group, an international media and data communications company, stated that “30% of smartphone users are likely to use ‘wellness apps’ by 2015.”
It appears mobile health apps are becoming the new resource that health providers should consider recommending to their patients as a way to monitor and track one’s health.
Existing Mobile Health Applications
Some existing apps allow patients to
• receive text message reminders about when to take their medications,
• follow their daily pill schedule,
• log their nutritional and daily diet intake, and
• track exercise and fitness regimens.
Clinicians seem to be in favor of patients using mobile apps, as cited in Mashable. The infographic shows that 88% of doctors “would like their patients to monitor their health at home.”
Apps Benefit Patient-Clinician Relationship
If patients begin to use these apps while at home or on the go to maintain a steady record of their health regimens, it may ease the tension that sometimes occurs at the doctor’s office. Often it is difficult for patients to recall exact information about their health over the course of time when the doctor inquires about a specific condition or one’s general health. Therefore, using smartphones with health applications may assist patients in communicating their health practices and behaviors or symptoms to their health providers more effectively.
Also, while at home, patients can easily maintain a better record of their daily health habits and practices. The apps give the patients some ownership and active engagement in various aspects of their healthcare.
What’s Your Point of View?
What mobile health applications have you found to be effective for patient care? Which applications do you recommend patients download and use?
Murphy, Samantha. “Doctor’s Believe Health Apps Will Cut Down on Visits [Infographic].” Mashable. March 12, 2012. Accessed March 12, 2012.
Smith, Aaron. “46% of American adults are smartphone owners.” Pew Internet. March 1, 2012. Accessed March 22, 2012.
Telenor Group. “New Study: The world is Ready for Mobile Healthcare.” Press Release. February 28, 2012. Accessed March 22, 2012.