Content strategy 101

Looking for more ways to show what you know? Wanting more tools for your kit? Content strategy can help. This content strategy primer began as an in-person bootcamp. It’s been revamped and is now available online with new material, extra resources, and more examples from the Intuit content teams. Go through the lessons sequentially or pick and choose what interests you.


Topic 1: Content strategy overview

22 min

What is content strategy and how is it different from creating content? How is content strategy like running a bakery? How can you avoid content catastrophes with strategy? If you’re a writer or content designer and want to kick your work up a notch, start here.

Resources

Content Strategy for the Web, Second Edition by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach
The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right by Meghan Casey
New Thinking: Brain Traffic’s Content Strategy Quad by Kristina Halvorson
Tips for writers getting into content strategy by Jennifer Schmich


Topic 2: Inventory and audit

19 min

Inventories and audits are the first place(s) to start with any content strategy project. Jen Schmich covers what they are, why they matter, how to approach them, and shares some examples done by the content team at Intuit.

Resources

Content Audits and Inventories by Paula Land
Content Heuristic (an example) by Ahava Leibtag
ROT: The Low-Hanging Fruit of Content Analysis by Rick Allen
Situation Analysis by Kristina Halvorson
Content Inventory and Auditing from Nielsen Norman Group


Topic 3: Closing the gap

15 min

You’ve done an audit and inventory, what’s next? In Topic 3, Jen Schmich goes over discovery work and how to map a way forward, with plenty of examples from the Intuit content team.

Resources

Content Gap Analysis by Paula Land
A Comprehensive Guide to Content Gap Analysis by Mike Wagaba
Competitive Analysis: Understanding the Market Context by Jason Withrow


Topic 4: Making a test plan

18 min

Testing is a great way to prove out your strategy with data. In Topic 4, you’ll learn how to test your strategy and get buy-in from stakeholders.

Resources

A/B Testing: Test Your Own Hypotheses & Prepare to be Wrong by Stuart Frisby
Data Sets You Free – Analytics for Content Strategy by Jonathan Colman
User Test Content Before You Start Design by Amy Grace Wells
Testing your content: What’s the best approach? by Matt Fenwick


Topic 5: Strategic partnering

15 min

Being a content strategist means being strategic about all kinds of things beyond the content itself. In Topic 5, we start to move away from the “what” of content strategy to talk more about the “how” of thinking like a content strategist.

Resources

How to Pitch an Idea by Scott Berkun
How to Pitch a Project by Mike Monteiro
A mentality for content strategists by Jennifer Schmich
What I wish I knew when I was younger by Derek Muller


Topic 6: Content and systems

20 min

When you widen your view of content, you start to see gnarlier, messier problems. In Topic 6, you’ll learn about systems thinking and how to see your content through a different lens.

Resources


From design thinking to systems thinking by Valerie Chanal
A Systems Story (Systems Thinking) by BEE Environmental Communication
Tools for systems thinkers by Leyla Acaroglu
Maintaining Design Systems by Brad Frost


Topic 7: Architecture

20 min

Content architecture is the iceberg below the surface. It’s an important part of content strategy and an invisible force that has a huge impact on your content. In Topic 7, we continue our chat from Topic 6 and use systems to unravel the mystery behind content architecture.

Resources

Designing Connected Content by Mike Atherton and Carrie Hane
Metadata Basics for Web Content by Michael Andrews
IA lenses: Helpful perspectives for content strategists by Dan Brown
Why Taxonomies by PoolParty (Semantic Web Company)
The beauty of content architecture by Jennifer Schmich


Outro: Doing content strategy

8 min

You’ve made it this far! Now you know about content strategy—what’s next? Where do you go from here? Part of strategy work is figuring out how to be strategic.


Jen Schmich is a content strategist known for building new things from scratch and scatter to solve big problems, whether that’s a team, platform, body of content, or voice of a brand. Before Intuit, she worked on content for Hotwire, American Airlines, TripWatcher, Bank of America, E*TRADE, Blue Shield, JanSport, Gap, and Microsoft. Forbes recently featured her in the Future of Work Now series. As a leader, she believes in a “lift all boats” approach and mentors through The GenderCool Project. Jen also finds leadership lessons watching RuPaul.