Erin Kissane gives a fascinating presentation of her thoughts on some of the missteps made so far by some brands, and suggests 3 qualities to strive for when creating content frameworks. She suggests that these provide a context for the usual references of UX and IA people, and those us marketing folk (useful, relevant, entertaining etc).
1. Balance – harmonising seemingly opposing user needs, whilst leaving room for users to find their own uses for the content we create. An example of a balanced approach is Google’s home page – just a logo and and a search box (no ads!), compared with Yahoo.
2. Interconnection – making content not just shareable, but interconnected with all parts of the internet, and users real lives. e.g. Twitter, and more recently the development of the Kindle platform as opposed to the product. Not an example is The Tomes pay-wall!
3. Stability – simply put, avoiding creating content frameworks being over dependent upon someonelses API.
She makes this observation towards the end:
“The important thing about a (content) framework isn’t the framework itself, it’s not even the building you build on top of it, it;s what happens when you walk into the cathedral……whatever we do when we take all these bricks we need to create buildings that let are users accomplish more, do more and be more, with our content….”
This echoes strongly with Cory Doctorow’s quote (which I have referenced before, here)
“Content isn’t King, Conversation is…….”
And suggests that success of Content Strategy lies in acknowledging that, as with all marketing, the focus should not be in what you want to say or sell, but in creating stuff that consumers want, to create something valuable that people will engage with.
Or as Henry Jenkins puts it
“The key is to produce something that pulls people together and gives them something to do”