ZML Didaktik / Innovative Learning Scenarios

Do we need a content strategy?

Posted on: May 19, 2015

Rahel Anne Bailie from Intentional Design speaks about content strategy at DigitasLBi in London – the cos14-students and I are listening with eagerness.

She tells us some great stuff – and she persuades me to reflect my approach to content strategy (I started to think about it nearly 5 years ago when Heinz Wittenbrink started to include content stratgey into our web-literacy project.)

Glimpses of Rachel’s input

  • Content = the stuff between tags – and: there are people who read the content and people who read the tags (I liked that)
  • Content strategy = Repeatable system that governs the management of content throughout the entire lifecycle – content strategy comes from management consulting
  • Content life cycle: analyze, collect, manage, publish = stragegy, tactical, tactical, tactical (I liked this as well)
  • Methodology: assess current state – ascertain ideal state – calculate the gap – create a roadmap
  • and then – the really scary list of deliverables


Deliverables as requirements summary, … user research, personas, … editorial calender, content audit, …. metadata strategy, writing templates – now I remember why I never started really with a content strategy!

Glimpses of my thoughts

– with respect to the activties of my institute ZML-Innovative Lerning Scenarios

  • We have an implicit requirement catalog used as basis for our monthly meetings (our web-designer and I) with focus to our website, and the announcements for our training courses and conference as well, but there’s no process model and no gap analysis. We identify gaps on the fly and respond to them.
  • We never did an user analysis or personas. We think and speak about our users, they are university teachers, and sometimes school teachers and persons from training units of companies. But we didn’t invest time to think about them in a structured and strategic way.
  • The content audit is quickly done during the monthly meetings and we take care of our most important pages (but we are ignoring other parts of our website for years…). We have a good editorial calender with respect to our yearly conference, and an ok-calender for the trainings, but there don’t exist any calender for everything. And – we act with respect to our calender if we find time (this mostly works, but not all the time).
  • We totally ignore metadata strategy, link strategy and so on. Our website is a small part of a larger website, therefore we don’t have control.
  • Writing content templates emerged – e.g. templates how to write news or announcements of events. We don’t have guidelines but some rules.


Writing this post I realize that we work according to some aspects of content strategy but we never look at the whole picture. And – sincerely I don’t know if we ever will find to do it.

Follow up

While I was writing this post Rahel continued with her input and mentioned the customer engagement lifecycle with identify need, seek solution,  determine value, post assessment, long-term effect, renewal and retention. That was food for thoughts as my training designs often fulfill no actual, urgent users’ needs ….

4 Responses to "Do we need a content strategy?"

Do you know if somebody in Germany is doing #rhizo15?

No, I don’t know of anybody – I tried to do #rhizo14 but didn’t succeed to find enough time and will not succeed this year as well. Are you participating? Bye, Jutta

Hi Jutta!
Thanks for posting your analysis of the ZML content strategy. The whole requiremenst do look scary, I totally agree. Maybe we do find some time for a couple personas though? I would find this an interesting and creative activity.
Have fun in London!

You know, Natasa, a real content strategy is scary (for me)… but I would like to discuss your thoughts with you 🙂

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