Speak the same language
Content strategy is an expanding field that crosses the boundaries between user experience, information architecture, marketing, taxonomy, and technical communication. As content strategists, the language we use often means different things to different people, depending on where they come from.
This glossary defines the key content strategy terms we use in working with our agency, non-profit, and enterprise clients.
Accountability: Refers to being answerable, or having approval responsibilities, for the completion of a deliverable or task.
Audience: The people for whom the content is intended to serve.
Channel: A medium through which content is delivered to an audience.
Content: Meaningful information in any channel, whether written, auditory, or visual, that is created for any audience.
Content ecosystem: The entire suite of content, and the interconnected people, processes, and systems that create and manage that content.
Content flow: Content designs that show pathways and progression of content to support a specific audience need or task.
Content format: The final format in which the content is published. For example: HTML page, PDF, image, video, print, etc.
Content governance: The people, processes, and systems that help create and manage content through all stages of the content life cycle.
Content journey: The content that supports audiences throughout the different stages of their relationship or interactions with a company or organization.
Content lifecycle: The stages of existence of content from beginning to end, and including these steps: strategize and plan, design and develop, publish and maintain, evaluate and measure.
Content maturity: A framework for understanding organizational practices which enable a company to progressively move towards more effective, efficient, and sustainable content across the organization.
Content owner: The person accountable for a specific piece or aspect of content. Ideally, there is only one, and they have final approval.
Content practices: The way in which content is managed and created through its entire lifecycle.
Content purpose: The reason for a piece of content. All content must have a purpose. Typical purposes of content include to inform, to educate, to inspire, to entertain, and wayfinding.
Content standards: Rules and guidelines that support consistent and efficient content practices.
Content support tools: Materials that support content teams in making consistent and efficient decisions and in adhering to content standards.
Content type: A particular kind of content that shares a common purpose and editorial structure regardless of topic or audience. For example: press release, campaign page, policy, how-to, etc.
Cross-channel: Publishing and distributing content on different channels where the content is specific to the channel.
Digital content: Content that is published on an online platform, such as website or social media channel.
Digital ecosystem: A suite of channels or delivery platforms for content.
Multi-channel: Publishing and distributing the same content on multiple channels.
Responsibility: Refers to being answerable for doing the work to complete a deliverable or task.
Subject matter expert: Someone who is knowledgeable about a topic and provides their expertise to ensure content is accurate and complete.
Tone: The mood of the content, which will vary depending on audience, purpose, and channel.
Voice: The personality and brand that the content conveys, reflecting a company as a whole. Voice should be consistently supported through all content.