Month: April 2010

A personal message from David Cameron? You shouldn’t have. You really f*cking shouldn’t have.

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Sent using BlackBerry?? from Orange

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What’s the difference between a Content Strategist and a Web Editor? (#cslondon10)

I’ve seriously been wondering what the difference between a Content Strategist and a Web/Content editor really is…

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I went to the Content Strategy, Manhattan Style event this week. I’d been excited about talking content and finding more about why content strategy was ‘the next big thing’, but I left feeling a bit flat.

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Why? Because despite all the clever and talented people there, I can honestly say that I didn’t hear anything new or anything that a good web editor doesn’t do already.

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Maybe I missed out on the revolutionary stuff too because of the poor acoustics, but what I did hear were three things that will be very familiar to most web editors:

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1. ‘Content does not have to be a shitstorm at the 11th hour’ (I think Karen McGrane said that) – Yep, that old chestnut. Of course you shouldn’t leave content to the very last minute – anyone who doesn’t know that kind of deserves to fail. I think most businesses have moved a long way away from the idea that writing content is just filling in the blanks. Content IS your website – it’s how you communicate with your customers, so of course it matters. The part that needs perfecting is getting content people, designers, developers and UX people to collaborate effectively from the beginning of a project and see things from each other’s perspective.

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2. Do some analysis – again, this isn’t anything new. Of course you need to go back and do some analysis after you write some content, otherwise how do you know whether it works or not? It’s also central to working out how to improve and develop your ongoing approach to content. Analysis is important – that’s gospel, but the metrics that matter…that’s a whole different story. Trying to convince someone commercially minded within your business that conversion isn’t always the most important measurement of success, and then finding the numbers to support your argument, now that’s the tough bit.

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3. Maintain and update your old content – This was the one that really made me groan. I just don’t think this needs to be said anymore. Again, anyone who doesn’t know it deserves to fail. It’s not content strategy, it’s a matter of respect for your customers and?? pride in your website to edit and update your static content. The issue is how you manage the process – I’m a content team of one person, with a website of about 400 static articles to manage. I try my best to keep everything up to date, but now and again I’ll come across something neglected that makes me wince with embarrassment. The hard part is finding time to do it and putting a procedure in place so that no page gets left behind.

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I think the issue for me is that at events like this, the bias is almost always toward the agency side of things. The focus seemed to be on what content strategy means for people who are thinking about going out and providing this as a service to a client, rather than on in-house folk who are probably doing it already. Those three ideas might sound like a great ‘Why didn’t I think of that before?’ formula to a potential client who has never ‘done’ content before, but for someone like me, it’s just stating the obvious.

Digital Lomography?

I’ve been ogling the photos and cameras on the Lomography website for ages – I love the super-saturated colours, the vignetting and the whole uncomplicated philosophy behind it.

  I’ve only just moved on to a digital camera in the last few months, and I’m still struggling to get to grips with it, but I wanted to dip my toe into lomo – so I bought a Diana adapter for my DSLR and close-up and wide-angle lenses, and have started playing around with them a bit. 

  It seems to be a bit of a contradiction in terms to try and take lomo pictures with a digital camera, however, it has forced me to use my camera in fully manual mode a bit more. As you can probably tell from the pictures, I’m not get good results yet, but I’m going to keep trying. 

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USA Today turns to the content farm as the ship sinks | Blog | Econsultancy

According to USA Today’s Victoria Borton, “We???re not going to sit and write 4,000 ???How to Travel with a Toddler??? or ???How to Find the Best Airfare Deals??? pieces, but that???s the sort of thing people are searching the search engines for.” Hence the deal with Demand Media.

Which begs a simple question: why aren’t USA Today’s writers going to produce these kinds of pieces? If the content USA Today’s writers are being paid to produce isn’t what consumers are looking for, why shouldn’t USA Today pay writers to write ‘how-to‘ articles? Why should they be paid to write what they’re writing now?

This is a really interesting point – are newspapres still providing the content that people want to read online?

Newspapers are seen as bastions of quality online content in a market where there’s a lot of crap.

I think a lot of people now expect newspapers to provide more than just news on their websites and trust their content more than other sources.

It kind of defeats the object though, if they are turning to SEO copywriters to produce that content for them.

Connaught Institute, Melbourne St, Brighton

I’d always half-noticed this building on Melbourne Street, and had meant to go and take some pictures of it for ages…


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I finally got around to it over the weekend and this was all that’s left, along with a load of rubble and some really unusual drawings on the boards across what’s left of the windows.

Apparently, it was called the Connaught Institute or New Life centre and was a soldiers’ home (there’s some more information on the fantastic My Brighton and Hove site).  I think it’s sad that whoever bought it decided to knock down what was such a beautiful building.