Content Strategy Answers is a blog by Cynthia Gelper. I started this blog because I find there's a huge gulf between people who work in this field (and sometimes even allied disciplines like experience design) and the rest of the world. I wanted to explain how our work can help anyone in almost any other field, who's faced with the challenge of using content to get a message across. And I thought the easiest way to do that would be to let the most prominent content strategists working today tell their stories.
What’s your background? And how did YOU get into content strategy?
Like most of the folks I’ve talked to, my path to content strategy was a bit circuitous. I started as a copywriter and editor, contributing to technical writing and marketing teams at Microsoft and a number of start-ups, which was how I started working with digital content.
Eventually I came into contact with some highly creative people doing interesting work and they told me about this new discipline called content strategy, which seemed to call upon skills I already had. I started going to content strategy meet-ups, talking with other content strategists, reading resources they recommended (including blogs like this one) and before I knew it, I had made the leap to talking about personas and governance myself.
In my work as a content strategist, I've
· Developed a new real estate search site using local content
· Interviewed stakeholders to create assessment documents that include recommendations
· Contributed to the complete redesign of a business-to-business food service website
· Audited content ranging from the largest state university system to healthcare to luxury consumer goods
· Evaluated existing content for accessibility and worked with experience designers to improve it
· Created deliverables such as style guides, content matrices, competitive analyses, content models, sitemaps and editorial calendars
Why did you create this blog and what do you hope to achieve with it?
As a relatively new discipline, content strategy is still an unknown quantity. Those of us in the community are constantly blogging, tweeting, and going to conferences to hear other content strategists, but I find that most of the people I meet who don’t work in the field have no idea what it is—or more importantly, how it could help their business.
This blog is my humble effort to help define content strategy and make it more understandable—while having a healthy amount of fun. I get to speak with a lot of very well-known practitioners and they are invariably great at expressing themselves, which makes collecting their thoughts easy.
How do we know you aren’t a bot? Share something personal.
In the 00’s, I lived in Spain for a while, hoping to become bilingual, supporting myself by teaching English. But I learned that teaching your native language is not a great way to become bilingual, especially since it requires hours of preparation. Not to mention, people outside the classroom want to practice their English with you instead of letting you practice speaking theirs. Even so, it was still a fantastic experience and really made me look at language in a new way.
I’m a long-time dog-mom and even though I live in Chicago, I was born and raised on the East Coast (which you’ll realize if you hear more than two syllables out of my mouth). My biggest claim to nerdiness, besides being a language geek, is that I love history and know a lot of arcane music trivia. I'm also a foodie and love to cook.
Want to learn more? You can reach me here.