Style Guide

The Craft of Content Strategy (h1)

This is a lead paragraph with class .lead. Because content has so frequently demonstrated its po- tential to derail web projects, and because it is uniquely en- tangled with business strategy, it requires special attention. Throughout each project, a content strategist compares evolv- ing content-related expectations with available resources, and warns the team of shortfalls that may require that the content work be scaled back or the resources stepped up. She navi- gates the politically fraught territory of distributed publish- ing, and long after information architecture and visual design work is approved, she keeps an eye on the ways in which or- ganizational strategy changes affect ongoing content work.

A tangled family tree (h2)

A normal paragraph. Marketers tend to characterize content strategy as a form of marketing—as do some technical communicators, though the latter group means it as an insult. Knowledge management people often say it’s a way of improving processes and setting standards. Longtime web editors and writers tend to assume that it’s what they’ve been doing all along.

What about a table.

ID Name Color
1 Paddy Blue
2 Shane Pink

None of them are dead wrong, but neither are they completely right. And as the definitional debates rage on, it’s increasingly clear that our dis- cipline is vulnerable to being co-opted by nearby fields, or to being distorted by the fact that online, some of those fields are much louder and more public than others.

Sometimes we need definition lists.

Understand existing resources
Are there people available to work on content? Are they good at it?
Make the business case for content strategy
How will the recommended content changes meet overarching organiza- tional goals?

The origin of the species (h3)

It’s nice to think of our field as a vigorous hybrid, but it often feels more like a Frankenstein’s monster assembled from spare parts and animated by deadline-inspired panic.

And then there was an unordered list:

  • The inverted pyramid
  • 5 Ws and a H
  • Show don’t tell

Influence #1: The Editor (h4)

Editorial work is so closely related to content strategy that questions about the difference between the two often arise. From the outside, content strategy can look quite a lot like the sort of editing found in magazines and newspapers.

And now an ordered list:

  1. Project delays produced by the inability to get the right content ready for launch, and
  2. project derailments caused by a lack of planning for ongo- ing content oversight, production, revision, and distribu- tion—what Jeffrey MacIntyre of Predicate, LLC, aptly calls “The Day Two Problem” (
Content people work for the user

In publishing, if you don’t win, hold, and reward the attention of your readers—whether they’re fans of tabloid journalism or wistful MFA-program novels—you’re out of a job. Editors worth their salt work not for writers or publishers, but for readers.

(blockquote) An editor’s only permanent alliance is with the audience, the readership. It is the editor’s responsibility to hook that reader- ship; to edify it, entertain it, stroke it, shake it up…Authors know their subject. Editors specialize in knowing the audience.

Stories matter

Humans are compulsive storytellers. We think and teach and connect by creating stories. And the thinkers who change opinions, the teachers who inspire students, the politicians who win elections, and of course, the publishers who sell books and magazines all tend to have something in common: they can tell a great story.

Some preformatted code, which probably won’t be need to often.

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