Back to the Source

It’s an early November evening, and I’m at Paper Source on the Plaza. It’s nearly pitch black outside, and everyone is still befuddled by the onset of darkness, as in, “oh yeah, seasons.”

I’m the only dude in a shop full of girls. I slink over to the greeting cards.

I’ve got content strategy on the brain, as I often do. I’m looking for a good thank you card for a colleague, and Paper Source is one of the only places I buy cards because they meet the two criteria for a good card shop: their pre-written cards are usually pretty good (their content!), and their blanks are always good (your content!).

I’m wedged between a wall of said blanks and a cliff of prewrittens. All around me are surfaces, some with messages on them, some waiting to be inscribed. Everywhere is the delicious, scary pull of white space.

That’s when it hits me.

Good, old, dead-tree Paper Source is the perfect illustration of the basis of a good, user-focused content strategy.

A core Content Strategy boils down to this simple formula:  “As a business, we will make (what kind of content/experience) for (whom) so they can (do what).”

For Paper Source, that could be, “we will create a rich marketplace of creative possibilities for people who love delivering messages by hand so they can connect on a meaningful level with people they care about.”

Their store, their newsletter, their classes – all their content, owned and earned – seems to support this.

At KC Digital Drive, we strive to create a clearinghouse of community innovation for engaged civic leaders and community stakeholders so they can support initiatives important for our future. We do this in our events, emails and website. (Please lemme know if it’s working.)

For supreme content overlord GE, it might be: to create a juggernaut of blind-’em-with-science content for curious denizens of the Internet so they can understand how GE’s work in science and engineering is making the world a better place.

Regardless of the brand or industry they’re working in, Content Strategists should be able to articulate this statement for every project before they even think about sending out any “cards” to customers.


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