Working With Tanzen
This is for you if you are a UX designer, web developer, digital agency executive, internal content strategist, or anyone else involved in making digital products.
Guide to working with a content strategist
Content strategy: getting the right information to the right people at the right time effectively and efficiently. You might be familiar with content strategy as a concept, but what is the best way to work with content strategists? How do you know when you need their help? The answer to those questions is, of course, “It depends.” However, I can answer this question: How can I help you be more successful?
Whether you need a rescue mission for a project, want to start off together at the proposal, or need help getting content strategy incorporated into your process, this guide will explain what I do and what I bring to projects.
You might also like the companion Guide to Missing Content Strategy Elements that lists symptoms, diagnoses of the problem, and ways to address them.
I am a back-end content strategist
The way I see it, there is front-end and back-end content strategy. As Ann Rockley defines:
Front-end content strategists typically have a love for the content and the customer experience. They make recommendations about the content itself.
Back-end strategists like me (typically known as intelligent content strategists) have a love for structure, scalability, and technology. They make recommendations about how to use technology – hardware and software – to handle all that content in efficient and powerful ways.
I specialize in back-end content strategy, which means I work with the people, processes, and systems to support the front-end strategy. Often that means being a translator between developers, designers, communicators, business analysts, writers, and the like. It’s not quite the new black, but more people are realizing they need this connector. It can give you an advantage over your competitors.
This infographic shows the typical tasks of the front-end vs. back-end strategist.
I do all the things on the right as well as the cross-section. If you find yourself or your client struggling to implement content strategy, I’m someone you could call to help out. Or if you see a potential project or client who would need help implementing your strategy and design, let’s pool our skills and create an unbeatable partnership!
I am also a content strategy coach
I help organizations and individuals increase their content strategy competency. Maybe you need a little (or a lot of!) help getting content strategy off the ground within your team or organization. I can be your “content strategy coach.” You see, a coach is someone who instructs people who are practicing something, whether as a beginner or professional.
As a former athlete and experienced professional, I have learned the value of a good coach. In fact, I was an actual swim coach before I became a content strategist. Now I get to do that with professionals who are trying to improve how they work.
Having been self-taught (after all, web content strategy wasn’t even a glimmer in someone’s eye when I was in school), I borrowed from others who were willing to share their knowledge through articles, presentations, or classes. I eschewed professional coaching for a long while. Not until I made the mental connection in the same way I did as an athlete did I see the value in hiring one professionally. Several times in my career, hiring someone who is explicitly or implicitly a coach has propelled me and my team forward so much faster than I could have done on my own.
A coach will help you...
...Evaluate the current state and create goals
...Plan a “training” program
...Build and recruit the right team
...Help get you started and build skills
...Provide on-going guidance and individual or team mentoring
...Improve your process
...Update practices and align team on vision
...Help you navigate your way through getting buy-in
Yes, helping clients become self-sufficient or build their own practice area means I work myself out of a job. But it also means success and an opportunity to help someone else do better work. If I ever run out of potential work, I’ll have reached the pinnacle of achievement!
I’ve been doing web and content strategy for nearly 20 years. My credentials include creating and growing teams and practice areas at an agency and a mid-size organization. In addition, my presentations at UX, content strategy, and industry-specific conferences have inspired people to move forward with their own careers and build practice areas and teams of their own.
We can talk about how you can get as little or as much help as you need (and even how to convince your boss).
I AM A WORKSHOP FACILITATOR Too
Sometimes you or your client need a boost in a specific area. Facilitated workshops get work done while teaching attendees new techniques for working with each other and with stakeholders. You can read the full descriptions, but here’s a quick look at them.
Project Roadmapping - Before you make an investment in a website redesign, new CMS, another technology tool, new app, or any new digital product, you want to be sure it’s what you really need. Facilitated session with your key stakeholders to define the outcome and make an action plan.
Content Strategy Process - Having a hard time selling content strategy to management? Think you don’t have the time or budget to include content strategy to your process? There is a way! Workshop for in-house teams or agencies trying to add content strategy as a core competency.
Content Design & Production - Learn how to make findable, usable, and useful content. This facilitated workshop will lead your stakeholders through the process. Workshops for groups of stakeholders responsible for creating content.
Content Modeling Workshop – Get stakeholders to think differently about your content. Start with your domain subject and model content around it to create more useful content that people want. Half- or full-day workshop with stakeholders and user experience team.
Digital Writing - The web is everyone’s job. Get all your content creators on board creating effective content for your website, social media, and email newsletters. Group training in a half- or full-day workshop.
If any of this turns on a lightbulb for you and you have other ideas of how we can work together, by all means, get in touch!