Help me finish my talk on digital content strategy in a print business

 by Martin Belam, 5 August 2011

Last night I spoke at a London Content Strategy meetup entitled “Perspectives on Content Strategy”. Normally I’d publish my slides and an essay version of the talk, but this one was a little different. I’m presenting “Taking content strategy to people who already think they have one” at the Content Strategy Forum in London next month, and this was a first run for some of the material.

I talked about:

  • How the old - as I grossly simplified it - model of “Write newspaper”, “Print newspaper”, “Wrap fish‘n’chips in newspaper” has been disrupted by digital.
  • How “publishing on the web” has expanded newspaper content across digital platforms to encompass smartphones, iPads, Kindles and other devices.
  • How, whilst there is a fraction of metadata or “peripheral” content in the daily edition, online we have spawned acres of help text and “about us” and legalese pages.
  • How content that used to be thrown away next day now lives forever - you can still visit the Guardian’s Euro2000 site from 11 years ago, and we have to continue supporting all the systems that enable that content to be displayed.
  • Why at the Guardian we have spent more time building better features than building permissions and workflow restrictions into our web CMS.
  • How we now rely on content from other sources like or MusicBrainz or Nielsens.
  • How user-generated content has become a much bigger part of what we do than the “Letters to the editor” page ever used to be.
  • Why “Tags are magic!”.

But at the end of the talk I skipped the bit where the audience ask the speaker questions. Instead I finished by asking, if this was the first 15 minutes of my 40 minute slot at the Content Strategy Forum, what would you want me to go on and talk about next?

I’ve already had some suggestions via Twitter:

“Would love to hear more about working with multiple CMSs & how UX & CS can fit together to support publishing” - La_Pope
“I'd love to hear about how monetising content meets content strategy, especially in newspapers.” - McBoof
“Perhaps more on the practice of content curation as a part of content strategy” - 98rosjon

So, if you are going to the Content Strategy Forum, regardless of whether you saw the 15 minute first draft tonight, what would you like someone from the Guardian to talk about at a content strategy conference?

Let me know on Twitter - @currybet - or email me - - or leave a comment below.

A big thank you to Karen Loasby who helped me considerably with the presentation, and to Jonathan Kahn for organising yesterday’s meet-up. You can still get tickets for the Content Strategy Forum, which is in London, 5-7 September 2011.

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