February 26th, 2013 Future-Ready: Preparing Your Content and Your Company


On February 26th, 2013 OLC attended Future-Ready: Preparing Your Content—and Your Company Event with Sara Wachter-Boettcher at Ogilvy One Worldwide

“We don’t need more content, we need content to do more,” Sara Wachter-Boettcher said in the launch of her book, “Content Everywhere: Strategy and Structure for Future-Friendly Content” at Ogilvy One Worldwide.

Her statement comes in the wake of how the web is evolving, but content, like responsive web design, is playing catch-up with fast-changing technologies. Locked into inflexible pages and documents, most content is far from ready for today's world of apps and APIs and multimedia devices in various shapes and sizes. Many questions arise: “Should we do a website, app or a mobile site?”
Wachter-Boettcher said: “We can't create more content for all of these devices and channels. We'd go nuts trying to manage and maintain all of it. Instead, we need content that does more for us--content that's structured and defined so it can travel and shift while keeping its meaning and message intact.”
It looks like things will only get worse before they get better. Why? She cited how different devices try to show us websites but they turn out to be inaccessible, broken, missing, or even useless. On top of that, organizations face many challenges they need to address internally:
1. Mass-production mentality. Content-producing people are not tied to a business strategy and the company’s goals and visions. There has to be a content strategy that bridges the gap between the vision and execution while defining how content will serve strategy over time.
2. Compartmentalized teams or silos. Departmental walls are often up, even hostile to others when they should be working together and thinking of customers first. Department teams need to come together.
3. Obsession with control: Stakeholders don’t get digital and user control terrifies them, especially if the organization isn’t built for change. Rather than adapt, it’s stuck. It’s essential for an organization to be adept at change.
According to Wachter-Boettcher, once organizations can reconcile the fact that structure isn’t arbitrary. They need to break things down. They need to do a content audit and find patterns and have these patterns establish content types toward building a structure. Structure helps content move.
She said to think of content like water, flowing everywhere it needs to go, but having infrastructure. “Start with the content, break it down into chunks, look at the interconnection, not just the hierarchy,” she said.
Giving her audience some glimmer hope after some harsh reality check, Wachter-Boettcher offered some must-dos:
• Make mobile an entry point, not the end point. Use mobile to break down doors.
• Don’t sell solutions. Invest more deeply. Incorporate people in your work from the start.
• Do less, facilitate more.
• Iterate. Make progress. Implement incremental changes. Show everyone their role.
For good content strategy, she referred to NPR and its COPE strategy.