From the Blog

J.Boye logo I’m so excited to announce my first international speaking engagement at J.Boye 2014 in Aarhus, Denmark on November 5th, 2014.

Time: 15.15-16.00 Wednesday, 5. Nov 2014
Session: So Happy Together (Project Managers and Content Strategists are)
Track: Content Strategy

After fifteen years building CMS driven websites, there is one thing I wish more people were aware of: content matters. Sounds silly right? After all, the ‘C’ in ‘CMS’ stands for, well…Content. However, project stakeholders are often so wrapped up worrying about technical risks or marveling over new designs that content can nearly be forgotten or worse…Treated as an unimportant ‘detail’ to be figured out later.

If you’re a project manager, sponsor, or executive stakeholder, this is a far bigger risk than you may realize. However, all is not lost…In recent years the profession of content strategy has grown in size and skill at a geometric rate, while having an inversely proportional affect on the happiness and success of project managers, who were often left to deal with content considerations in the past.

In this session I’ll share a presentation exploring very practical ways to ensure content isn’t forgotten in your next project. We’ll look at 7 content related risks, and the 7 things you can do to mitigate them. Then we’ll open it up to Q&A and share experience, tips, and tricks on how to be more successful with content strategy and project management in general.

Jake DiMare presenting at J.Boye

Presenting at J.Boye 2014 Philadelphia

A while back I discovered a or law blog with some content I found interesting so I subscribed. After reading a couple of posts I commented on one and then an interesting thing happened…The author, a criminal defense attorney, introduced me to a strategy for handling commenters on his site I’ve yet to encounter.  It works something like this:

  1. Comments must be approved to be published.
  2. However, (at least my) comments are always approved, with a response from the author.
  3. Finally, (at least my) comments are universally treated with disdain.

I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve taken an occasional interest in over the years. I usually forget about them pretty quickly because, let’s face it, there’s a lot of material out there. But the approach outlined above is awfully magnetic to my personality. I’m guessing it works on me because I always wanted to have a voice at the grown up’s table when I was a kid.

However, to suggest this is a strategy may simply be giving the blog’s owner too much credit. For a strategy to exist there must be forethought and calculation, as opposed to what amounts to little more than a curmudgeon, responding reflexively to younger, and/or less experienced audiences fumbling around him with a steady stream of discourteous insults and admonitions.

Dennis the menace

Aside from how I personally feel about the author’s treatment, I’m a web content strategist and this approach of treating readers like pests, and some other details are interesting from a professional perspective. For instance, he has taken the time to post his commenting rules and most of them make sense, if not a bit heavy handed…But there’s one underneath the comment authoring section that is simply wrong-headed:

“This is my home and I make the rules.”

Previously, I would have thought the problem with this statement, aside from the grandiosity, is self-explanatory. But perhaps, for older bloggers who are not digital natives, something is not so clear: Sharing one’s thoughts and ideas on a website with no password protection is not the equivalent of having a conversation at a private dinner party. It is the equivalent of standing in a public square with a megaphone. It is to be expected that occasionally someone who happens by is going to pay attention. If it makes the broadcaster unhappy that passersby may even want to discuss those things being shared in public, there is certainly no better example of the roots of unhappiness lying in the delta between expectation and reality.

Of course, a blogger is completely within their rights to ignore unwanted comments. I am a blogger who has, at times, enjoyed very large audiences with some commenters willing to share wildly variant and sometimes deviant perspectives, I can tell you that it is sometimes the best policy to avoid feeding the trolls, no matter how much they increase your engagement score. However, if I do choose to engage readers with a response, shouldn’t the basic rules of civility apply, whether I like what they have to say or not?

Who is to say what the right way to behave in public is? I’ve certainly vacillated in my own ability to behave according to how I think others should. But if a blogger’s goal is to be memorable and retain readers I can no longer advise my own clients, in good faith, that the only approach is to leave out a bowl of honey.

I'm a Speaker at DrupalCon PortlandI just got notice that I’ve been selected to speak at DrupalCon this year! This will be my first time speaking at the premier, annual Drupal community event.  The title of my session is So Happy Together (Content Strategists and Project Managers Are) and I will be talking about, well, content strategy and project management. This session will actually be based on a blog article by the same title I wrote for the CMS Myth last year.

Content strategy is a great subject for anyone close to web publishing to get familiar with. It’s a rapidly growing field that gives appropriate respect and consideration to the reason why we design, build and deploy CMS driven websites in the first place: the content. In terms of the real though leaders in the space, I recommend following:

Although I hope to have some useful thoughts to share on the subject of content strategy as it relates to the overall success of a web CMS rollout…These incredibly talented women have (literally and figuratively) wrote the book on the subject. They’ve written a couple books, in fact: