On authenticity and elephants in content strategy

Have you ever liked one of those tweets advising founders to build authentic businesses? Yeah, me too. They go semi-viral all the time, because it sounds like an easy out. Being authentic… That means we just need to be ourselves to be successful, right? Honestly, without further context, it’s just inspirational blah.

Retweeting it is easy, but what does it really mean for your content work? How do we create content for an authentic brand? My answer is elephants.

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Making things up in strategy

Strategy and winging it are not mutually exclusive. If a strategist tells you their work is strictly based on facts and data, they are either not very good at their job yet, or glossing over the parts that make them feel insecure. Or both.

It’s hard to say “I don’t know for sure”, but uncertainty is a part of every (content) strategy. Not only, but always when it comes to startups. And I think we need to talk about what that exactly means.

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The T-shaped content strategist, and why they share their skillset with founders

My fellow students and I continuously discuss what skills are important for a content strategist. It’s kind of ridiculous how hard it is to really get a grasp on that.

We all come from wildly different backgrounds. Journalists (like Verena), brand managers (like Sandra), content marketers (like Dominik), designers (like Emanuel),.. Everyone of us brings their own perspective, everyone has a different focus. All of them are valid and valuable. The same is true about our lecturers, respected members of the content strategy community themselves.

How to express all the differences and similarities within just one job title?

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On writing: A reflection on my messy process

Most of the times, I only really develop a strong opinion about a topic when I’ve written a piece about it.

Puzzling together all of the separate thoughts floating in my head into one (hopefully) cohesive article is not always easy. I get frustrated and insecure, then calm, and in the end.. relieved.

Reflecting will do that to you: It helps you analyse, learn and understand. I am convinced that being able to reflect is a skill that will make your work stand out, no matter what.

Reflective practice is a dialogue of thinking and doing through which I become more skillful.

Donald Schön in The Reflective Practitioner

In this article, I’m taking you with me while writing a blog post.

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Towards a mindful content practice

Mindfulness can be applied to many situations in your private and business life. Working on content is no exception. Being mindful can make us more productive and intentional, instead of mindlessly producing content like a mad(wo)man. (I sure am guilty of that.)

In this article, I’m going to share some useful pieces of advice around mindfulness that helped me advance my content practice.

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How better habits help you create more successful content

Did you know that almost half of your day is directed by a bunch of habits, rather than your conscious decisions? About 45% of what you do every day is automatic behaviour – from brushing your teeth to making coffee and driving to work. Your habits also influence how you go about your (content) work.

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The power of discomfort – About bias, privileges & accessibility

Nothing can be changed until it is faced.

James Baldwin

This is a quote that Tatiana Mac used in her #Perfmatters talk 2019 How privileges define performance that centered around privilege and its impact on accessibility, tech and design.

We are all biased and privileged (but may not know it yet)

Our own privilege and bias is invisible to us, so we don’t realize the power it gives us. It literally harms people when we keep on prioritizing the experience of privileged groups when creating digital products.

Changing that goes along with the discomfort of looking inward and facing all the things that give you a head start in life.

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Create future-friendly content with Content Modeling

Content modeling makes the difference between just writing words to put online and engineering your content – and engineering does sound better, doesn’t it? Compared to our fancy technical infrastructure, we usually don’t structure our content nearly as well. But like well-engineered code makes the codebase more maintainable and reusable, content modeling does the same for content.

If you know a bit or two about database design, you will discover you have been (almost) thinking in content models already. If not, it will change how you think about content completely: Understanding content modeling will help you think about it more strategically.

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