It’s been a hard week for content strategists. (I will not direct any more traffic to a certain blog post.) Yes, our discipline is “new” and needs clear definition. But as someone who practices the discipline, and the art, what I know for sure is that we are desperately needed in the world of Web development.
Content Strategy is very much like Supply Chain Management or Supply Chain Logistics—the professional discipline of managing your supply chain—or how your inventory gets from point A to point Z and all points in between. Now, I personally think CS is sexier—that's my ego talking—but essentially it is the same thing.
Why are content strategists like supply chain management professionals?
What content strategists do is figure out what you’ve got, how you’re going to deliver it, and what the best, most cost-effective way is to do that. You’re right—they don’t call it Supply Chain Strategy. So call it Content Logistics. It doesn’t really matter—huge websites need someone planning and managing content. So maybe a smaller website can use a professional who is a combination of IA and CS expert. But you still need a captain steering that ship.
Let’s say you’re the VP for Supply Chain Logistics at the GAP. You need to know how many shirts are going to Store #15 in Los Angeles, which sizes to ship, how they will be displayed, and when to put them on sale. Below a handy table describing how content strategy can be compared to Supply Chain Logistics:
How could The GAP possibly ship any shirts, make any money, without someone spearheading this massive effort? The answer is: they couldn't.
So how can any website larger than 15 pages expect to do any better when it comes to delivering their content?
So call us whatever you'd like. We're happy with any title—we just want to make sure there is one on the page—and every page after that.
And the next time you go to The GAP? Scoff at their new logo, but appreciate how that shirt came to be there. And if you're shopping online, and there's no product spec on that shirt you know you'd love to wear next week, don't blame the social media strategist. That wasn't his responsiblity.