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Content Strategy Insights


Interviews with content strategy experts: enterprise, UX, product, content design, content marketing, etc.


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Interviews with content strategy experts: enterprise, UX, product, content design, content marketing, etc.





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Shannon Leahy: The Content Design Job Market – Episode 188

Shannon Leahy Content design jobs have become scarcer as the digital world adjusts to the post-pandemic tech economy. Shannon Leahy does her best to make sure that her content colleagues discover the jobs that are available, scouring the internet for job listings and sharing them in her social media feeds. But that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her contributions to the field. She's also a long-time meetup organizer and an avid and generous participant in the content design community. We talked about: her take on the current state of the content design job market the wide range of industries beyond tech that offer content job opportunities - like sports, energy, transportation, manufacturing, and logistics how to sift through job listings to find opportunities that might be labeled differently than content folks might think about them how her algorithm-breaking job-search alerts reveal employment patterns that might have otherwise gone undiscovered the importance of community participation in her career development and employment history how her participation in virtual communities during the pandemic jump-started her subsequent real-lie networking her assessment of the current tight job market and ideas about cope with it how to open yourself to discover opportunities that may not first occur to you how to get creative about repurposing your existing skills and aptitudes Shannon's bio Shannon has worked at the intersection of words, strategy, design, and people for more than 15 years. She is currently a senior content design manager at Capital One. Shannon calls Richmond, Virginia home, and organizes meetups for the content and UX communities. When she’s not exclaiming about error messages, you can find her snuggling up for movie night with her family and their dog Ginger Snap. Shannon’s favorite neutral is leopard print. Her superpower is asking questions...lots of questions. Connect with Shannon online LinkedIn RVA Content Strategy meetup Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 188. As the pandemic-era hiring boom in the design and content worlds has quieted down, more and more really good content designers find themselves competing for fewer and fewer jobs. Shannon Leahy is here to help you navigate this fraught employment environment. She tirelessly scans content job listings and shares them on her social media accounts, and she's a reassuring presence in our field, regularly organizing events and always showing up in the content-design community. Interview transcript Larry: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode number 188 of The Content Strategy Insights podcast. I am really delighted today to welcome to the show Shannon Leahy. Shannon's a senior content design manager at Capital One. She just returned there after a stint of a year or two at Adobe. And anyhow, welcome Shannon. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you're up to these days. Shannon: Yeah. Hey, Larry. Thank you so much for having me. Really appreciate it. Yeah. Just recently changed up the job situation, but other than that, keeping busy with two kids and a dog in Richmond, Virginia, in the US. I also run a meetup called RVA Content Strategy. You may have seen us with our food themed un-meetup series that we did in partnership with Jane Ruffino, and I've been joking with some folks. Had a little bit of a banner week. Just found out I have just the amazing privilege to be at Lead with Tempo this summer and at Button in the fall. So a lot is going on to say the least, and getting ready for some big milestones with the kids with school too. So yeah, big old word nerd and content nerd, but also really busy with family stuff too. Larry: Well, I feel really lucky to have your attention for a half hour.


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John Williams: Going Headless and MACH Architecture – Episode 187

John Williams The rise of omnichannel content strategy and the emergence of new technical capabilities like cloud computing, API-delivered microservices, and headless software platforms have created entire new content ecosystems. John Williams explores these new systems and modern content and experience architectures on his "Going Headless with John" YouTube channel and in his work as CTO at Amplience, a headless-CMS company. We talked about: his YouTube channel, Going Headless with John, and his role at Amplience, a headless CMS company the rationale behind the MACH alliance and the elements of the acronym Microservices API first Cloud native Headless the ability to scale and to implement version control that a multi-tenant architecture permits how decoupled architectures let companies choose "best of breed" software solutions his take on the differences between the concepts of "headless," "MACH architecture," and "composability" how to help content authors work in (non-WYSIWYG) decoupled systems the importance of understanding the "why" in decoupled content authoring environments the benefits of adopting an iterative approach to implementing composable architectures John's bio John Williams is a highly experienced and innovative CTO with over 25 years of experience in the tech industry. He is passionate about leveraging technology to drive growth and innovation. His expertise lies in creating and executing technology strategies that deliver transformative results for businesses, and he has a proven track record of building high-performing teams that thrive in fast-paced and rapidly changing environments. Connect with John online LinkedIn Going Headless with John YouTube channel Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 187. The rise of omnichannel content strategy and composable commerce - along with the emergence of new tech practices like microservices and headless software platforms - has given rise to new content systems architectures. It's also inspired many new conversations around concepts like composability and decoupled-ness. John Williams explores these topics on his "Going Headless with John" YouTube channel and in his work as the CTO at a headless CMS company. Interview transcript Larry: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode number 187 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I'm really happy today to welcome to the show, John Williams. John is the CTO at Amplience, a commerce-oriented, headless CMS. He's also the host of Going Headless with John, a YouTube channel that I really enjoy. So welcome John. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you're up to these days. John: Yeah. Well, we're actually working on... In Amplience we're working on a whole bunch of things around headless. We're doing a whole new release around our content form. We are doing a hell of a lot around AI and how we incorporate that into the MACH world, which is what we're talking about today, and how we keep consistent with our technology practices around MACH and headless, as well as incorporating new technology. John: So we're all pretty busy at the minute. We've got a really big release coming up, out in June at Shoptalk. For anyone who's going there, coming over and see me have a chat at the booth, we'll show you some really cool things. Larry: Cool. Yeah, and you've just hit on the... We're all infinitely busy these days trying to keep up with, not with just AI. But there's also the fundamental architectural stuff that we're dealing with in this new composable, MACH-ey, headless world. Larry: I guess one of the things I like to do in this podcast, it's all about democratizing practice and principles and what's going on out in the world. And one of the things I like about your YouTube channel is you're really good at ...


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Deborah Carver: Connecting Literature, Composition, Content, and SEO – Episode 186

Deborah Carver Deborah Carver sees direct connections between her academic study of literature and composition and her work as a content strategist, content marketer, and SEO. She also sees similarities between AI engineers and content professionals, both of whom endeavor to create meaning with language. We talked about: her work as a consultant and the creator of The Content Technologist her discovery of Google's knowledge graph in 2013 and how it helped her SEO work how her background in literature and mass communication made SEO work come naturally to her how grade-school sentence diagramming prepared her to understand entities, natural language processing (NLP), and other tech concepts the similarities she sees between LLM engineers and content professionals, both making meaning with language, just coming from different directions how her study of information science, library science, linguistics, and other academic disciplines informs her semantic work her data-driven approach to keyword research her take on the "call and response" nature of search how she balances her keyword research with customer and user research the ways that her study of poetry helps her discern user intent her early interest in natural language processing and AI and how it prepared her for the current tech environment Deborah's bio Deborah Carver is an independent consultant and the publisher of The Content Technologist, a resource for content professionals working in the age of algorithms. She spent the first part of her career working in traditional publishing, then transitioned to working on SEO and digital strategy full-time in 2013. Focused on organic content performance and authentic digital connection, Deborah helps clients navigate what makes “good content” findable, usable, informative, and delightful. She’s worked with businesses of all sizes, from Fortune 500 to independent startups and is an avid trendspotter, a deeply experienced website content analyst, and a massive music fan. Connect with Deborah online The Content Technologist LinkedIn Keyword School Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 186. Many content professionals studied English in college. More than a few of them have worried about how they'd turn that knowledge into a career. Few have shown as well as Deborah Carver how the study of literature and composition connect with content strategy, content marketing, and SEO. Deborah sees direct links from her study of poetry and rhetoric to the skills she applies to give both her human customers and search engines the content they expect. Interview transcript Larry: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode number 186 of the Content Strategy Insights Podcast. I'm really happy today to welcome to the show Deborah Carver. Deborah is an independent consultant and she's also the creator of The Content Technologist, a website and newsletter for folks interested in content and technology. Welcome, Deborah. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you're up to these days. Deborah: Hi. Yeah, so I am an independent consultant. I largely help agencies and businesses with analytics and information architecture on large content focused websites. And I am currently working on a series of courses that are launching throughout the year that are based on helping people understand or helping businesses understand how they can be found on the internet and how they can measure that impact of their visibility, so yeah. Larry: Everybody wants to be found out there and that's notoriously difficult. And that's one of the things you're known for is your SEO chops, which is sort of how I... Well the way this conversation came about a month or so ago, you made this post on LinkedIn about, "Hey, what's in your knowledge graph?


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Tuija Riekkinen: Scaling Content and Design Operations – Episode 185

Tuija Riekkinen Tuija Riekkinen brings a unique perspective to scaling both content and design operations, as well as other digital initiatives. She has applied her holistic and pragmatic enterprise product management skills at organizations like IKEA, where she has worked on both their design system and content management system. Tuija is a persuasive advocate of keeping design and content concerns separate to enable "creativity at scale." We talked about: her work as a digital product leader at IKEA where she has led teams working on both design systems and content management systems her unique holistic approach to managing diverse, agile teams how she aligns a variety of stakeholders around language the similarities she sees between design systems and content management systems how design systems and content systems differ her hypothesis that "good content management enables creativity in scale" how she educates stakeholders about the benefits of managing decoupled, semantically meaningful content her approach to preemptively addressing budget issues around CMS-adoption decisions the importance of getting past page-construction thinking to permit content re-use for purposes like omnichannel delivery an example she uses - a recipe website - to show non-technical stakeholders the benefits of structured content how the benefits of moving from manual, page-level content thinking to future-proof structured content might actually make a four-day work week possible Tuija's bio Tuija is a digital product management professional with an extensive and multifaceted experience working with digital products. With a background in service and content design she has paved her way into leading and managing agile and cross-functional product teams - focusing on the user experience all the while adhering to the business objectives. She is known for being pragmatic and holistic in her approach. Connect with Tuija online LinkedIn Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 185. Content operations work best when they can scale, when they can take full advantage of the best design and content practices. Traditional content workflows that rely on hand-built pages conflate design and content concerns. Teasing out these concerns and helping organizations build efficient, scale-able systems is Tuija Riekkinen's forte. Her work on both design systems and content systems gives her a unique perspective on these important elements of enterprise content architectures. Interview transcript Larry: Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode number 185 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I am really delighted today to welcome to the show, Tuija Riekkinen. I hope I got that right. It's a Finnish name, and I'm just a dumb American doing my best. But welcome. Tuija, she's a consultant. She's currently working in a capacity as a digital project management professional at IKEA where she's working on... Well, we'll talk about this. That's what the conversation's about. She's all about scale and getting out of your bubbles and omnichannel content. And anyhow, welcome to you. Tell the folks a little bit more about your work there. Tuija: Well, thank you, Larry, and thanks for having me. It's a great opportunity for me to be in your podcast. Yeah, so I am a digital product leader and I did work in that capacity for a digital design system for three years. And now I've shifted into a more content management related product. So what I'm doing is that I'm actually working quite closely with my team, so managing the roadmap, managing the priorities, and bringing the team on board in what we are aiming for, and also working with the stakeholders to really understand their view on things and assessing the maturity of how they see content management and then adapt our communication ...


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Michael Haggerty-Villa: Design Systems and Content Strategy

Michael Haggerty-Villa Michael Haggerty-Villa's work with content and designs systems spans the history of these practices. From his work at eBay on one of the earliest design systems up until today, he has been at the forefront of both content strategy leadership and design system innovation. This conversation focuses on design systems, but it was inevitable that Michael's content strategy wisdom would shine through, too. We talked about: his work as the Director of Content Strategy at Teradata the scope of the design system documentation at Teradata how he triangulates on the truthiness of the complex content ecosystem the structured-content infrastructure that he works with his preference to bridges silos, not bust them the style council he convenes to help align stakeholders on language and other topics the differences in content needs in design systems for B2C companies vs. B2B the tooling he uses to manage, and the scope of, the Teradata design system how they establish standards as documentation for new media formats like video are incorporated into the design system the importance of standards in communication and design guidance the requirements they're developing for their design system management tooling his preference for a "reliable starting point" over a "single source of truth" Michael's bio Michael Haggerty-Villa is the director of content strategy at Teradata and has also worked on the content design team at Blue Shield of California. He was one of the leaders who launched the Intuit Content Design System, and he has worked on design and systems for brands such as Compass, Disney, eBay, Mint, QuickBooks, and TurboTax. His articles about content in design systems have appeared in Content Science Review, UX Collective, and other sites. His content strategy clients include HPE Software, Kaiser Permanente,, and others. Just to make sure he has no free time, he’s also a father to three children and three cats. Connect with Michael online LinkedIn ADPList Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 184. Many people trace the origin of design systems to the release of Google's Material Design in 2014. Almost a decade before that, Michael Haggerty-Villa was a lead content strategist in the Design Systems Group at eBay. He has since led content strategy and design systems initiatives at enterprises like Disney and Intuit. To this day, he remains at the forefront of practice where content strategy, information architecture, and design systems intersect. Interview transcript Larry: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode number 184 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I am really delighted today to welcome to the show Michael Haggerty-Villa. Michael is a legend, I think it's safe to say, in the content in design systems world. He is in my mind anyway, but he's currently the director of content strategy at Teradata, so welcome Michael. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you're up to at Teradata and in the design system world. Michael: Hey Larry, thank you for having me and again, you're the legend and thank you for all you do about continuing to put out this information about content strategy and content design into the world because we need people like you and Paula Land and other advocates for our craft to be helping us. So thank you, first of all addressing the legend where the legend needs it. Michael: What I'm doing right now, in January, I just started as the director of content strategy at Teradata, a massive data analytics and data storage company, and we're in the process of doing a digital transformation, actually migrating a lot of our business to the cloud. And as we do that, we realize that we need to create better experiences for a slightly different market than we have usual...


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Gladys Diandoki: Content Design Leadership Built on Strategy and Research – Episode 183

Gladys Diandoki Gladys Diandoki brings a strong research mindset and a consistent focus on strategy to her content work. Her approach yields both solid design results and an increased appreciation for content design among her colleagues and clients. It's not only her clients who benefit from her work. Gladys is also an active leader in the field, speaking regularly at conferences, writing, and hosting gatherings like the "Beyond The Cover" book club. We talked about: her content design work with the French government and her teaching at the Gobelins design school and Sorbonne University her early career in broadcast and magazine journalism and how lessons learned then manifest in her content design work her transition from the media world to UX design how content strategy work is integrated into her content design work her approach for getting stakeholders to see the real problems they are facing the content design book she wrote for the French market her designer-first professional identity the importance of framing and reframing her work in ways that illustrate the true benefits of her contributions the crucial role of information architecture and content structure in her way of working the importance of research and testing in the way she approaches her work and how they contribute to her consistent focus on strategy Gladys's bio Gladys Diandoki is a self-employed Content Designer who is based in Paris, France. She has worked with prominent companies such as Le Monde, the French government, Renault, Dailymotion, and Ornikar, among others. She is the author of a book titled "UX Writing, quand le contenu transforme l’expérience" (published by French editor Eyrolles) and is also a lecturer on topics like Content Design, Inclusion, and Accessibility at Les Gobelins and La Sorbonne. Prior to her work as a Content Designer, she worked in media relations for over ten years. During this time, she represented various well-known brands such as HP, Bose, Google, Box, Samsung, and Kickstarter. Connect with Gladys online Beyond The Cover book club LinkedIn Instagram Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 183. It's an unfortunate truism that content designers spend an inordinate amount of their professional energy helping their colleagues and stakeholders understand the full range of benefits that they bring to product and design work. Few content professionals are as persuasive and authoritative in this work as Gladys Diandoki. Her constant focus on strategy and her ability to reframe design problems in pragmatic, user-focused ways lifts up the whole profession. Interview transcript Larry: Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode number 183 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I'm really delighted today to welcome to the show, Gladys Diandoki. Gladys is an independent content designer based in Paris, working mostly with the French government now, but she's done a lot of other stuff as well. Welcome to the show, Gladys. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you're working on these days. Gladys: Hey, Larry. Well, thanks for having me in the podcast. So today, like you just mentioned, I'm working with the French government since a few months now, and that's really fun, to be honest. And I'm also teaching in Gobelins, which is a famous design school and Sorbonne as well. I'm teaching inclusion content design and with someone else, I'm also having a new class about accessibility for designers. Larry: Nice. So you're a real designer, but you come from, like many of us in this profession, from journalism, and I love how you talk about how that came to be because I think as we talked before we went on the air, it became, I think, clear to me that your core competency is curiosity.


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Wojtek Aleksander: Inclusive Content Design in Poland – Episode 182

Wojtek Aleksander Wojtek Aleksander is a business-focused, inclusive content designer based in Poland. Working in a profession in which English-language educational materials dominate, he addressed the need for Polish-language content guidance by writing "UX Writing: The Power of Language in Digital Products." One big challenge he faces when crafting inclusive content in Polish is working with the language's strongly gendered and inflected grammar. We talked about: his 20+ -year career in content strategy his book, "UX Writing: The Power of Language in Digital Products" (currently available only in Polish) his take on the design and content professions in Poland the importance of inclusion when designing content for Polish-language experiences and the challenges presented by the gendered and inflected nature of the language how he teaches plain language, inclusivity, voice and tone, and other content-design principles in his workshops and classes the recurring theme of the need to "unlearn" basic grammar and usage concepts to design inclusive experiences in Polish his business and economic argument for inclusion, equity, and diversity the importance of speaking in the language and using the metrics that are relevant to your business-oriented collaborators how he ties content-design efforts to business outcomes the importance of teasing out content contributions from broader experience metrics Wojtek's bio Wojtek has been shaping the digital world for almost 25 years, giving it an increasingly human dimension. Whether he supports tech, banking, healthcare, or marketing, he erases the technological dryness of the services and products. His professional radar always pings when it spots inclusion and accessibility challenges. In his product career, Wojtek has worked in many specialties and at various levels, e.g., as an individual contributor or content team leader. In December 2023, he published the book “UX writing. The power of language in digital products” (in Polish). He is a philologist and IT expert by training. After hours, you will find him walking by the sea, reading a comic book, or looking for an authentic Korean restaurant. Connect with Wojtek online LinkedIn Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 182. The profession of content design is notoriously generous and helpful, but most of the resources for practitioners in the field are in English. To support the large and growing content community in Poland, Wojtek Aleksander wrote his book - "UX Writing: The Power of Language in Digital Products" - to address design issues unique to his country, in particular the challenges of crafting inclusive content in a language whose grammar is strongly gendered. Interview transcript Larry: Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode number 182 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I'm really happy today to welcome to the show, Wojtek Aleksander. Wojtek is a content designer and content strategist. He also does content strategy training and does a lot of stuff in the content world, including, he's just written a new book called UX Writing: The Power of Language in Digital Products. Unfortunately, the book is only in Polish at this point, but we're hoping to see a translation one of these days. But welcome to the show, Wojtek. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you're doing these days. Wojtek: Hello. Thanks for having me. It's a pleasure. I'm talking to you from the north of Poland, from the shore of a cold Baltic Sea, the sea that is colder in summer than the Mediterranean in winter. As you said, I'm a content strategist working in the industry for a long time. My career, it stands over 20 years. I've supported different domains and brands, domains like healthcare, banking, application performance management,


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Barbara Blythe: Content Design Operations at Cisco – Episode 181

Barbara Blythe Most enterprises and software companies now have design systems, and many have content operations and/or design operations teams. At Cisco, Barbara Blythe works on the content design operations team. She focuses on sharing content guidance across the products she serves, enabling not only content designers but also their UX design and engineering partners to efficiently create consistent product content. We talked about: her content design ops work at Cisco how content design ops differs from content ops their cross-functional approach to empowering designers and engineers, as well as content folks, to use the content design system her involvement in the design of new bots to govern voice and tone and style her thoughts on how AI might affect content design ops some of the benefits, beyond consistency and the efficiency, of using a content design system how systems like hers permit content designers to focus more on content strategy and other work that may be more impactful than surface-level UX writing some of the work she does to evangelize their content design system Cisco's federated model of integrating their many design systems how they share content practice lore across Cisco her advice for folks interested in creating a content design system Barbara's bio Barbara was a Classics professor for six years before transitioning from academia to tech. As a content designer specializing in content design ops and content design systems, she creates tools that help content designers, UX designers, and engineers create consistent product content more efficiently. She designed and built a content design system for Cisco’s CX Cloud and PX Cloud products, and she’s now expanding it and developing ways to use tools like AI integrations to make it even easier to use. Barbara lives in Virginia Beach, where she enjoys birdwatching, gardening, and growing shiitake mushrooms. Connect with Barbara online LinkedIn Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 181. Over the past decade or so, enterprises and startups have adopted design systems and built teams to scale their design operations. In a few places, those practices have come together in content-specific design operations. Barbara Blythe works on the content design ops team at Cisco. As in many modern enterprises, there are never enough content designers to serve all of their needs, so Barbara's operation focuses on empowering cross-functional partners to also work with content. Interview transcript Larry: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode number 181 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I'm really happy today to welcome to the show, Barbara Blythe. Barbara is a senior content designer at Cisco, big hardware manufacturer you may have heard of, probably runs half the internet stuff you're doing every day. But welcome, Barbara. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you do there at Cisco. Barbara: Yeah. So thanks, Larry. It's great to be here. So at Cisco I'm working on CX Cloud and PX Cloud, which are SaaS products that give network administrators a unified view of their network assets along with insights and analytics. And I specialize in content design ops. So over the past about two years, I've been working on building a content design system and I can talk in a little bit more about what I mean by that because I think it means something a little different to everyone who's building them. Barbara: Now I'm really expanding it and trying to find ways to increase adoption and trying to find ways to use tools like say AI chatbot integrations to make it easier to use for people who might be, say, a little reticent to dive into a style guide or to sort of sift through documentation. What are some ways that we can make it easier to use these tools.


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Nicole Michaelis: Thoughtful Content Design Leadership – Episode 180

Nicole Michaelis Nicole Michaelis brings a thoughtful leadership style and deep and varied experience to her content design work. Like all of us, she is pondering how to best use AI in her practice and wrestling with the impacts of layoffs and other change in the content and design professions. Despite the current challenging business and labor environment, she's hopeful for the future and offers encouragement to both current and future content designers. We talked about: her current concerns and focus as a content design leader the broad-reaching impact of AI on content design, in particular how it can make our jobs more interesting her hope that AI may permit her and other human-centered designers to actually spend more time with the humans using the products she works on her explorations of the possibilities of AI helping with personalization her impressions of the benefits of AI in writing briefs and copy how they train AI models on glossaries, tone, and voice the paradoxical intersection of the ideas that transparency is crucial when working with AI but also that the boundary line about where to credit GPT for your work is fuzzy the unexpected impact of her post last year entitled Why I No Longer Believe in Content Design, which resulted in both support from other content-design leaders but also some criticism that felt unduly harsh and overlooked her deep and diverse professional background her encouragement for folks who are job hunting or looking to get into the content-design field Nicole's bio Nicole Michaelis is the Content Design Lead at Wolt/Doordash and runs the Content Rookie pod. She’s into authentic leadership, questioning any best practice, and figuring out how to scale all the benefits of content design across large product orgs, while not losing focus on what really matters: the people who can benefit from the product. She lives in Sweden where she relaxes with all things #nature, pottery and running. Connect with Nicole online Content Rookie podcast LinkedIn Medium Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 180. The field of content design attracts professionals from a variety of backgrounds and brings them together in one of the most cohesive and generous communities that I've ever been a part of. As AI sucks the oxygen out of the room and companies discard content talent at an alarming rate, we need all of the camaraderie and generosity that we can muster. Nicole Michaelis brings a thoughtful leadership style and deep professional experience to these challenging times. Interview transcript Larry: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Episode Number 180 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I am really delighted today. Welcome back to the show, Nicole Michaelis. Nicole is one of the best-known content leaders, I think, in the field. She works for a big product company. And welcome, Nicole. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you're up to these days. Nicole: Hi, Larry. Thanks for having me again. It's been a while, I think. Definitely an episode under the hundreds, so I'm very excited to be back. Yeah, what am I up to these days? So I'm a content design leader at a big product company, like you said, and I generally reflect a lot. And I recently wrote an article about my content design focus areas for the year, because I think it's really, really important to pick a couple of main focus points so you not get too scattered and too excited about too many different things. And actually, it's also relatively new to me to be a lead. Originally, when I got this role, I was hired just as a staff content designer. And then after just a couple of weeks, my boss said, "Hey, you have what it takes to lead this discipline here." Nicole: They promoted me to lead. And since then, I've been hiring and firing,


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Terry Roach: Building Ontology-Based Enterprise Operating Models – Episode 179

Terry Roach Terry Roach helps enterprises build a "web of connectedness" that helps them understand what's happening across the span of their business Built on an ontological understanding of business that is expressed in a knowledge graph, his methods and technology help enterprises develop a holistic understanding that can be expressed as an operating manual that all stakeholders can consult. We talked about: his work as the founder and chief product officer at Capsifi how they do business enterprise modeling how business modeling helps businesses develop a holistic understanding and dynamic representation of their enterprise his definition of an enterprise ontology: "a conceptualization of a business, a common, universal model" the importance of enterprises having an operating model the role of a knowledge graph a framework that he uses which grew out of his academic work that accounts for business capabilities and value streams and tracks customer journeys how he measures the success of his work the challenges he has overcome in helping businesses develop a mental model of a business operating model his observation that the work to generate the operating model for any one business can almost always be used as a template for any business in its industry the extent of work that goes into the development of an enterprise ontology how his work as an enterprise solutions architect exposed him to the need for the work he currently does his belief that "the combination of knowledge graphs, enterprise ontologies, and AI can really bring the future and the potential to the enterprise." Terry's bio Terry Roach is the Founder of Capsifi and lead architect of the Jalapeno business modelling platform. He holds a PhD from the University of New South Wales where his 2011 thesis developed “The CAPSICUM Framework”, a semantic meta-model for the design of strategic business architecture. Connect with Terry online LinkedIn Capsifi Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 179. Any reasonably complicated product that you buy, like a car or a washing machine, comes with an operating manual, a comprehensive representation of the product that helps you understand and use it. Many enterprises operate without that kind of comprehensive understanding of their business. Terry Roach has developed a framework that helps organizations holistically and ontologically understand their business operation and all of its moving parts. Interview transcript Larry: Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode number 179 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I am really happy today to welcome to the show Terry Roach. Terry was the CEO, he's the founder and now chief product officer, at a company called Capsifi down in Sydney in Australia. Welcome to the show, Terry. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you do there and what Capsifi does. Terry: Hi, Larry. Thank you so much. I'm really pleased to have this opportunity to chat with you. Capsifi, we're a software business down in Australia, a startup about 10 years old now. Hard to call us still a startup. We do business enterprise modeling. We help organizations bring together all the fragmented information that explains how a business functions, tie it all together, and give them a live, interactive, dynamic representation of the business operation in such a way that there's a common conceptualization of what the business is, how it's performing, where there are opportunities to optimize, and really drive an innovation and transformation agenda for an organization. Larry: That's it, because every organization in the world seems to be in a perpetual state of adaptation and advancement and change and transformation. The way you just said that, it sounds like you're talking about capturing all the busin...


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Anna Potapova & Arnaud Frattini: Content Design in China – Episode 178

Anna Potapova & Arnaud Frattini With more than a billion internet users and half of all global e-commerce transactions, digital business in China is huge. Anna Potapova and Arnaud Frattini work in content roles at Alibaba, the biggest online merchant in China. Lately they have been looking beyond their desks, trying to connect with their peers at other companies and to develop a broader understanding of content practice in the country. They've shared some of their discoveries in an article on content design in China, and they're building a new community to share practice ideas with other content strategists and designers. Here's a QR code if you'd like join their new Wechat community. We talked about: their work as content designers for the AliExpress app at Alibaba the fast-paced and competitive business environment in which they work a foundational difference in the information density preferences of Chinese consumers how they localize their content-design content how content design is organized and managed at Alibaba the new content-design community meetup that they are organizing the origins of their article about content design in China two major approaches to content design that they identified as they researched their article Anna's curiosity about - and her hot take on - whether consistency is truly important their take on the difference between user experience and customer experience the unique nature of branding and customer service in China an invitation to join their new content community Anna's bio Anna Potapova is the Content Strategy team leader at AliExpress (part of Alibaba Global Digital Commerce group). She changed team positioning from pure localization to Content Design, built a style guide and a system to maintain it, initiated the upgrade of internal writing and translation tools, and improved business metrics while reducing production and localization costs. She spoke at Button Conference and UX Evening @ Google. Previously she worked as a localization specialist, and hosted LocLunch Shanghai. In addition to her work, Anna writes a blog, teaches cross-cultural communication class at Alibaba new employees training, and mentors Content Designers at ADPList. She’s currently working on building a content community in China.” Arnaud's bio Arnaud is a content designer at Alibaba Group helping AliExpress expand into new markets. His role is to oversee product documentation and help strategize different content forms that best communicate with users and answer business needs. His expertise spans user research, localization, UX writing, customer acquisition and member retention. His passion lies in crafting stories for digital product, facilitating user interaction, engagement, and learning. Beyond his work, Arnaud enjoys sharing his experience on how to build a career in China, and works on building a content community there. Connect with Anna and Arnaud online Anna Potapova on LinkedIn Arnaud Frattini on LinkedIn Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 178. China is home to over a billion internet users, and half of all global e-commerce transactions happen there. Given these statistics, you might picture companies with huge design teams. But business works differently in China. Anna Potapova and Arnaud Frattini work together in content roles at Alibaba, the biggest online merchant in China. They're researching and writing about content strategy and design practice in China and building a new content community there. Interview transcript Larry: Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode number 178 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I am really delighted today to welcome to the show, Anna Potapova. Sorry, I'm doing my best to pronounce that. And Arnaud Frattini.


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Sophie Tahran: Org Design for Content-Design Orgs – Episode 177

Sophie Tahran As the field of content design grows and matures, so too do the organizations in which content designers practice. At Condé Nast – the publisher of iconic brands like The New Yorker, WIRED, and Vogue – Sophie Tahran has built content-design orgs from one-person units to company-spanning teams. Her latest work has been informed by original research that she conducted to learn more about how other companies design and manage their content-design organizations. We talked about: her work as a design director at Condé Nast the evolution and growth of the content-design profession over the past 10 years her research on org design for content-design organizations the trends and models that emerged in her research one of the key findings of her research: the importance of have a community of craft the Condé Nast multi-brand design system how they incorporate content design into their design systems how difficult it remains to adequately staff content-design teams what she discovered in her research about industry ratios of content designers to product designers the benefits of "working at a place where everyone really understands the value of excellent writing as a craft" the differences between centralized, embedded, clustered, and other content-design organization practices Sophie's bio Sophie Tahran is a Director of Design at Condé Nast. After establishing content design as a discipline at The New Yorker, she built out a team of content designers across Vogue, Architectural Digest, Bon Appetit, and more publications before moving into design leadership. Connect with Sophie online LinkedIn Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 177. As the field of content design has grown and matured, the design of the organizations in which content designers' work has also become more complex and interesting. In her role as a design director at the big publisher Condé Nast, Sophie Tahran has had to figure out the best way to design her content-design organization to serve Condé Nast's many brands. Part of her process was conducting original research to discover how others had organized their content-design teams. Interview transcript Larry: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Episode number 177 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I am really delighted today to welcome to the show Sophie Tahran. Sophie is a design director at Condé Nast, the big magazine publisher based in New York. Well, I guess do you even say magazine publisher anymore? Anyhow, welcome Sophie. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you're up to these days. Sophie: Yes, thanks so much, Larry. I'm so excited to be here. Yeah, I am speaking to you live from New York City in Manhattan. This is Condé's New York US headquarters. We also have locations in London, India, really all over the world. But I have been here for coming up on five years, which is wild to think about, was the very first UX writer as we called ourselves when I first started here, focused on The New Yorker and have since built out the content design team, which I'm really, really excited about in terms of the work that we've been doing. And have lately been stepping into a bit more of a design leadership position. So I'm now looking at it and really helping push forward the product design work, including content design across really all of our brands. The New Yorker, Vogue, our Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Vanity Fair, WIRED, the list goes on. Larry: That's such an impressive list. And I was a magazine journalism college magazine major in college, so in journalism school, so I'm totally envious of all those brands. But hey, I want to talk about, you just mentioned that you were the first, and you've grown this, you've grown the content design team,


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Jorge Arango: Duly Noted – Episode 175

Jorge Arango The promise of computers augmenting our minds has been a long time coming. We're beginning to see better tools for extending human cognition, but good guidebooks for using them have been scarce. Jorge Arango's new book, Duly Noted, fills this gap elegantly. It shows you how to extend your mind with connected digital notes that capture your thoughts and nourish them in a personal knowledge garden from which you can harvest and share your unique insights. We talked about: the motivation for his new book, Duly Noted how his personal experience with note-taking, the emergence of the digital media, and his background as an information architect converged to inspire his interest in digital networked note-taking the challenge presented to note-takers by the huge variety of kinds of notes, and his taxonomy of types of notes some of the history of computers as tools to augment our cognitive capabilities his concept of the "personal knowledge garden" his take on Brian Eno's articulation of the differences between architecture and gardening the differences between thinking spaces and writing spaces the difference in mental models applied when moving between physical and digital note-taking media the rise of hypertext-based note-taking tools how your content-strategy skills around structured content help your note-taking and knowledge gardening Jorge's bio Jorge Arango is an information architect, author, and educator. For almost three decades, he has architected digital experiences and made the complex clear for organizations ranging from non-profits to Fortune 500 corporations. He is the author of Duly Noted: Extend Your Mind Through Connected Notes, Living in Information: Responsible Design for Digital Places and co-author of Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond, the fourth edition of O'Reilly's celebrated Polar Bear book. In addition to his design consulting practice, Jorge hosts The Informed Life podcast, writes a blog, and teaches at the California College of the Arts. Connect with Jorge online LinkedIn Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 175. Throughout our days, we are all taking note of things for a variety of reasons in a number of ways. A to-do list on your computer. A scribble in the margin of a book. A blog post idea in a Google doc. In his new book, Duly Noted, Jorge Arango sets out principles and practices to create a digital note-taking regimen and then shows you how to connect and cultivate your notes in a personal knowledge garden where you can gather your thoughts and harvest insights. Interview transcript Larry: Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode number 175 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I am really delighted today to welcome to the show Jorge Arango. Jorge is an independent information architect. He's an author. He's an educator, and I asked him on the show today to talk about his new book, Duly Noted. So welcome, Jorge. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you're up to these days. Jorge: Hey Larry, thank you for inviting me. I'm very excited to be here. And as you have noted, I have a new book called Duly Noted, and I'm excited about that. As you also mentioned, I'm an information architect. That's what I do for a living, and I have been doing that for a long time, and what gets me out of bed these days is the fact that we have access to all this information in the world, and those of us who work in this space have been part of making it possible for there to be more information in the world than there's ever been before. And that's a good thing, and it can also be a bad thing. I'm very focused on the good... Let's make it good. So that's what gets me motivated and we can talk more about what that means in the context of this book.


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Peter Compo: The Emergent Approach to Strategy – Episode 174

Peter Compo Peter Compo says that "the number one thing missing in most strategic plans is a strategy." He's talking about the tendency of executives and managers to draft plans that present lists of goals and include a bullet point for every possible stakeholder in their purview. Peter points out that true strategy involves tough trade-offs and lots of collaboration. His pragmatic approach lets strategic objectives emerge organically, includes a variety of stakeholders, and applies adaptive thinking to address tough questions that have no obvious answer. We talked about: the origins of his book, The Emergent Approach to Strategy: Adaptive Design and Execution how the "number one thing missing in most strategic plans is a strategy" the reasons that real strategy always involves trade-offs and even pain how to help teams and people cope with the pain of inevitable loss the difference between granularizing the goals you're hoping to succeed into a list and formulating a true strategy how to deal with the bottlenecks that impede your path to achieving a strategic goal a fantastic analogy showing how emergent strategy is like solving a jigsaw puzzle that doesn't have a picture on the box top how emergent strategy "has nothing to do with organizational hierarchy" and can come from anywhere in an organization how an emergent-strategy practice facilitates stakeholder alignment the foundation of his work in complex adaptive systems how the concept of adaptation forms the foundation of not only strategy, but also innovation, creativity, and org change how creativity and innovation and making change require a different kind of discipline than we normally apply to business processes Peter's bio Peter Compo is a corporate business veteran, scientist, and musician who spent twenty-five years at E. I. DuPont in diverse leadership positions, including director of corporate integrated business planning. Peter’s broad view of strategy and innovation began developing during his graduate research. In addition to his studies, his musical background led him to recognize common adaptive patterns in science and the arts, the same patterns he then also found in business and technology at DuPont. He left DuPont to work full time on developing a comprehensive theory of strategy and innovation based on complex adaptive systems and incorporate the theory into practice. Peter comes from a multi-generational family of musicians in the New York City metropolitan area, where he was born and raised. He currently lives in Arden, Delaware. Connect with Peter online LinkedIn Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 174. If you're aiming to create truly strategic guidance for your business efforts, you'll have to address some painful trade-offs. In his book, The Emergent Approach to Strategy, Peter Compo shares a pragmatic theory of strategy and sets out the skills you'll need to formulate a broadly inclusive and genuinely strategic strategy. I think content and UX strategy nerds will really appreciate his design-minded approach and the book's themes of emergence and adaptation. Interview transcript Larry: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode number 174 of The Content Strategy Insights Podcast. I'm really happy today to welcome to the show, Peter Campo. Peter is a 25-year veteran serving in a variety of leadership roles at DuPont, the big chemical, and they do other stuff too, but the big company, the big enterprise, DuPont. More to the point, and the reason I invited him on the show today is he wrote a book called The Emergent Approach to Strategy: Adaptive Design and Execution. So welcome Peter. Tell the folks a little bit more about your book and how your work led you to write it. Peter: Thanks. Yeah, good to be here.


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Relly Annett-Baker: Stalwart Advocate for UX Content – Episode 173

Relly Annett-Baker Relly Annett-Baker recently said in a LinkedIn post, "The words are an expression of the solution, the last 20%, but we also need to do the 80% that comes before to know wtf to write. " UX writers and content designers spend a lot of their time, arguably too much of it, explaining this core aspect of their work to their colleagues and collaborators. While she sometimes bristles at the need to constantly defend and describe her team's work, Relly also realizes that that is, in fact, the most important part of her job. We talked about: her roles as the head of UX content strategy for Google's corporate engineering group her take on how requests for "wordsmithing" can diminish or ignore the many other design and stakeholder-wrangling skills that content practitioners bring to the table her identification of the unconscious bias that underlies this dynamic, a concept she calls "soft sizing" how she deals with the cognitive dissonance of simultaneously resenting the need for constant explanation of her work and realizing that that is in fact the core of the job the importance of tailoring your messaging about your work for the audience you're addressing her observation that prompt engineering is really just UX writing, that is, structured writing designed to result in a good outcome how prompt engineering and LLM fine tuning can benefit from insights from the practice of conversation design how the "uncanny valley" phenomenon manifests in content design for AI a quick overview of content crafts at Google what UX writers and content designers can learn from conversation designers the importance always tying your content-design work to business outcomes and goals Relly's bio A content strategist for too many years, Relly is the Head of UX Content Strategy for Google Corporate Engineering. She spends her days leading her fantastic content team, writing content strategy docs, overseeing content delivery, and petting the office Dooglers. She’s very good at saying “it depends” to stakeholders. Outside of work, Relly lives in Brighton, England with her husband and a collection of animals and teenagers. Relly recently finished a Masters in Crime Writing at Cambridge University, and she writes murder mysteries for children. She’s never yet turned a content-doubter into a fictional corpse, but there’s still time. Connect with Relly online LinkedIn Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 173. Pretty much anyone in any kind of content role has had to deal with colleagues who misunderstand, diminish, and sometimes even disparage, our work. In her role as the head of UX content strategy for Google's corporate engineering group, Relly Annett-Baker has had many opportunities to help her collaborators understand that the words that we use to express complex concepts are just a small part of the work that we do as content designers and UX writers. Interview transcript Larry: Hey everyone. Welcome to episode number 173 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I'm really happy today to welcome to the show Relly Annett-Baker. Relly is the head of UX content strategy for Google corporate engineering. Relly, that sounds like a really amazing job. Tell us a little bit about, well, first of all, welcome. And tell us what you do as a head of UX content strategy. Relly: Yeah. So Corporate Engineering is an organization within Google that really builds the internal tools. It's kind of like engineering the things that Google needs to be Google. So everything from performance management, procurement tools, legal stuff, kind of everything in between. And so the portfolio is pretty big. My team is smaller, but I manage a team of around 20 writers, user experience writers and user docs writers. So we work on those products and tools.


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Jason Barnard: Conversations with Google’s Knowledge Graph – Episode 172

Jason Barnard Like many digital practices, search engine optimization is becoming more conversational. Not long ago, SEOs had to make their best educated guesses about what was working to get their websites to rank better. Now, by focusing on both feeding information to and gleaning feedback from Google's knowledge graph, Jason Barnard helps companies craft content strategies and messaging architectures that keep their brand prominent in Google's search results. We talked about: his diverse background as an economist, musician, cartoon dog, and brand-SERPs expert how he got interested in Google's knowledge graph how Google can identify the author of an article, even without a byline how your content helps Google understand what your business is about how he uses Google's understanding of a business to plan content that can clarify that understanding his observation that "SEO is just packaging content you should be creating anyway, packaging it for Google" the importance of well-structured, consistent content the challenges of aligning human communication quirks with Google's machine-precise evaluation of web content the reliance of Google's new Search Generative Experience on their knowledge graph Jason's bio Jason Barnard is the CEO of Kalicube. Jason is also an entrepreneur, author and digital marketer who specialises in Brand SERP optimisation and Knowledge Panel management. Jason uses the pseudonym "The Brand SERP Guy" for his professional work. Connect with Jason online Kalicube LinkedIn Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 172. Practitioners of search engine optimization are famous for their fealty to Google. Nowadays, though, what used to be a guessing game with SEO's trying to divine what Google wants to know about a website can now be more of a conversation between a brand's messaging and content teams and Google's knowledge graph and search engine. Jason Barnard knows more than anyone about the content strategies and messaging architectures behind these advanced search-marketing practices. Interview transcript Larry: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode number 172 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I am really happy today to welcome to the show Jason Barnard. Jason is the founder and CEO at Kalicube. But Jason, Google knows you by some other names as well. Can you tell us a little... Well, first of all, welcome and tell the folks what Google thinks you are. Jason: Yeah, Google's had a lot of different opinions about me and thank you for, A, inviting me and, B, asking me that incredibly delightful question to start. My career in the past was a musician. I was a professional musician for years. Before that, I had an economics degree with statistical analysis and I was going to be an economist, that didn't happen. And I joined a rock band playing double bass, punk folk music. And then I became a cartoon blue dog called Bua with a hugely successful website and a TV series that was aired around the world. And then I tried to become a digital marketer and I pitched to clients and clients would seem incredibly interested and then they wouldn't sign, and I couldn't figure out why they weren't signing. Jason: And then one day, one of my clients who actually became a client said, "Well, we searched your name after you left the office and it said at the top Jason Barnard is a cartoon blue dog. And we think that's funny, but most people probably wouldn't want to give their digital marketing strategy to a cartoon blue dog." At which point I thought Google is a child. It hasn't understood what I'm trying to project to my audience, I need to educate that child so it understands the cartoon blue dog is now in the past, and that today I'm a digital marketer and I want to be represented primarily as a digital marketer.


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Melinda Belcher: Inspirational Design Leadership – Episode 171

Melinda Belcher As content design becomes entrenched as a UX design practice, leaders from the craft are beginning to move into design leadership positions. Melinda Belcher's ascent to her current design executive management role is an instructive and inspirational story of professional development, creative team leadership, and community building. We talked about: her path to her current role as the head of design for the Freedom and Slate credit card portfolios at JPMorgan Chase her history of building content teams in a variety of contexts her practice of creating user guides for herself and team members the importance of modeling the behavior that you want to see in others the differences between content design practice in the New York area versus Silicon Valley how she brings creativity into her work in the tightly regulated financial services industry her take on the differences between leadership and management and between being in those roles versus being an individual contributor the process of her transition from individual contributor to team leader her professional pivot from brand and content-marketing content to product content a recent panel that she and her colleagues put together in NYC to discuss AI tools her prediction that AI will help content designers scale up their work how her community work and internal thought leadership helped her get her current designer leadership role Melinda's bio Melinda Belcher likes to build content teams from the ground up. A certified Product Owner, she helped start IBM’s Tokyo Design Studio. A veteran of New York brand and design agencies, Melinda has also built out content teams at Interbrand, frog and Havas. Currently, Melinda heads up Design for the Freedom and Slate credit card portfolios within the Consumer and Community Bank at JPMorgan Chase. In 2018, Melinda co-founded UX Content Design NYC, New York City’s only product content meetup, with Selene De La Cruz. Along with the UXCD-NYC team, Melinda has organized content design meetups at Google, Condé Nast, Mastercard, Capital One, and more. Connect with Melinda online LinkedIn Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 171. Design leadership now is mostly folks who came up through interaction and visual design careers. Melinda Belcher is one of a growing number of design leaders emerging from the content world. The story of her professional development is truly inspirational, whether she's talking about her proactive immersion into management theory and practice, her creative approach to leading teams, or her commitment to building community, whether in her own company or the broader content profession. Interview transcript Larry: Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode number 171 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I am really happy today to welcome to the show Melinda Belcher. Melinda's the head of design for the Freedom and Slate credit card portfolios at JPMorgan Chase. Welcome, Melinda. Tell the folks a little bit more about what you're up to these days. Melinda: Yeah, so I'm currently the head of design, as you mentioned, for Freedom and Slate, which are two of our largest credit card portfolios within the consumer and community bank at JPMorgan Chase. I've been with JP for I think about two and a half years at the moment, and I've been in a design leadership role for about three months. Larry: Nice. And your path to that role is really curious to me. We've talked a tiny bit about it, but I would love it if you could just walk through because you have the kind of background that you could easily ended up in one of these principal senior-level content design roles or something like that, but you're the head of a design department. I think people are going to be curious about how you got there...


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Scott Abel: Content Unification from The Content Wrangler – Episode 170

Scott Abel Navigating the complex and multifaceted online media landscape can be a disjointed and disorienting experience. Scott Abel has a method for smoothing out online customers' experiences. His "content unification" approach benefits both the organizations that create content experiences and the customers who navigate them. We talked about: the origin of his personal brand, The Content Wrangler, and his content strategy evangelism for Heretto the concept of content unification examples of companies that are benefiting from a more unified approach to content the relationship between content unification and customer experience the results of his survey of research on API documentation, which shows that, like most human beings, developers don't always actually behave in the same way that they say that they do the two kinds of developers that researchers have identified: systematic developers and opportunistic developers the need for AI superpowers across the content spectrum how AI, in particular copilot agents, can help content practitioners across their workflows the importance of delivering at scale content for self-service environments Scott's bio Scott Abel is a Content Strategy Evangelist at Heretto, CEO of The Content Wrangler, and an expert in technical communication management and content strategy. He hosts webinars and conferences, writes for industry publications, authors books, mentors students, and speaks at events globally. Connect with Scott online The Content Wrangler blog The Content Wrangler webinars Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 170. As the digital landscape has become more diverse and complex, online customers end up consuming all kinds of information, jumping from one location to another to piece together the answers they need. Scott Abel has thoughts about how to improve this situation, a concept that he calls "content unification." Unifying your content operations both improves your company's ability to create and deliver useful content experiences and smooths out your customers' journeys. Interview transcript Larry: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode number 170 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I'm really delighted today to welcome back to the show Scott Abel. Scott is best known as The Content Wrangler. That's probably how you've heard about him online, but he also serves as a content strategy evangelist for a company called Heretto. So welcome, Scott. Tell the folks a little bit more about your wrangling and evangelism these days. Scott: Hey, thanks for having me on the show today. I appreciate it, Larry. Yeah, my name is Scott Abel and I serve as a content wrangler. And that really just means I'm a content strategist and I created a name for myself, a brand name about 20 years ago called The Content Wrangler. It just seemed like what I was trying to do at the time, wrangle content, or herd cats, or however you like to say it. Scott: But today, I also wear a second hat and I serve as a content strategy evangelist for a company known as Heretto. Heretto makes a component content management system, which is a type of advanced content management system that's designed to handle modular pieces of smaller granular content, and weave them together for you in meaningful ways using automation and other kinds of technology tricks. Larry: Yeah. And that sounds like, the reason I wanted to have you back on the show, we talked a few weeks ago about the notion of content unification. That sounds like one tool in that kit. But tell me, I was really intrigued by just the term content unification. Tell me what you mean by that. Scott: Yeah. When I say content unification, I'm really just using dictionary definitions. And if you think about it, the opposite of unification could be anything from...


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Dan Mall: Creating a Sustainable Design System Practice – Episode 169

Dan Mall The basics of building a design system are fairly simple. Ensconcing a system in an organization's culture so that it's actually adopted and used is a more complex undertaking. Dan Mall takes a content-first approach as he helps organizations evolve their design systems from projects to products and ultimately to firmly embedded practices that let teams deliver the efficiency and consistency benefits that such systems offer. We talked about: his Design System University an overview of the professional challenges that come with building and running a design system his new book Design That Scales: Creating a Sustainable Design System Practice his addition to the conventional list of design-system benefits - in addition to efficiency and consistency - relief the tragically common story of how design systems can end up becoming "ghost towns and graveyards" how to ensconce good design-system ideas and practices in company culture how you can benefit by adopting a humble attitude toward design-system work how good design systems evolve from a project to a product and ultimately to a practice focus the importance of repetition in design system messaging strategy the crucial role of content in design systems how, when he teaches design-system process, he always starts with plain, unadorned text how design systems make it possible to quickly iterate on possible ways to present content to users how new technologies and practices like headless CMSs and microservices-based architectures work with design systems his thoughts on content orchestration and experience orchestration how AI fits into the design-system world the importance of having a vision for your design system, but to also appreciate and embrace detours and serendipity along with way Dan's bio Dan Mall is a husband, dad, teacher, creative director, designer, founder, and entrepreneur from Philly. He runs Design System University, where he creates, collects, and curates curriculum, content, and community to help enterprise teams design at scale. Previously, Dan ran design system consultancy SuperFriendly for over a decade. Dan writes about design systems, process, and leadership and other issues on his site and in his weekly newsletter. Connect with Dan online Twitter Instagram Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 169. The basic idea of a design system is simple enough to grasp and easy enough to prototype, but turning a collection of components and design guidance into a coherent system that people actually use - that's a whole other story. Dan Mall helps organizations embed design systems in their organizational culture so that designers, engineers, and product folks can efficiently and consistently deliver excellent experiences, always starting with content concerns at the forefront. Interview transcript Larry: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode number 169 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I'm really excited today to have with us Dan Mall. Dan is like, if you google design systems, his name pretty much comes up, I think, and part of it, and what he does nowadays is he, he's the founder and runs the Design System University. So welcome, Dan. Tell the folks a little bit more about what's cooking there at Design System U. Dan: Yeah, awesome. Thank you, Larry. Thank you for having me. Design System U is a place where people can get support and content and community around designing at scale. That's something that I think a lot of us as designers and engineers and content folks and all those things, we just don't get training in that kind of stuff. Dan: And so I wanted to create something that allowed people to have some support and community and content and training to really work at scale when we make digital tools and we mak...


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Jarno van Driel: Semantics, Accessibility, and SEO – Episode 168

Jarno van Driel Jarno van Driel is a true pioneer on the semantic web. Even before you could add machine-readable semantic markup to webpages, he was discovering ways to help search engines understand what web pages were about. Much of that success grew out of his early focus on accessibility and usability. When semantic markup was introduced, he was among the first cadre of experts on RDFa, Microdata,, and other semantic practices, and he is to this day one of the most respected practitioners of this craft. We talked about: how he arrived at his work at the intersection of semantics, accessibility, and SEO his early introduction to the importance of accessibility in content work his surprise and curiosity about how his small primary school websites were outranking big commercial websites how now-common practices like on-page navigation helped his SEO efforts 20 years ago how he discovered semantic metadata by reading Drupal documentation the dearth of ontology guidance and syntax documentation in the early days of semantic markup how semantic markup started to take of with the introduction of Google's knowledge graph the small early communities that formed around semantic search how the arrival of Google's knowlege graph filled gaps the ability to disambiguate entities, especially in multilinqual contexts his take on the notion of the Semantic Web the evolution of his work over the past 10 year from getting rich search results to actually structuring meaningful websites how well-structured, properly marked-up webpages can deliver better results for a company, even when the page gets fewer visits the importance of focusing on messaging and content over technical markup if you want to be found on the web Jarno's bio Jarno van Driel is an international Structured Data and technical SEO consultant. He started his career in 1998, during the early years of the web as a print and web designer, Flash and 3D artist, frontend developer, and accessibility engineer. Jarno has continuously embraced new and challenging roles throughout his career to become a well-rounded digital professional. Jarno's activities can be categorized and classified in many different taxonomies and ontologies. Yet labeling Jarno's job title is a near impossible task because his activities overlap with a multitude of departments and specialists. An ambiguous state, because of which most simply know him as 'just Jarno', that structured-data fanboy from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Jarno became fascinated with the 'semantic web' when he discovered something called 'semantic metadata' (2008). Semantic annotations piqued Jarno's interest because of his background in web accessibility, which is about expressing structure and meaning. Structured data markup takes things to a whole other level, making it the obvious path ahead. As an early adopter of linked open data, his work was mentioned in several W3C discussion groups. Mentions for which Jarno is very grateful because it would lead him to start publicly participating in (2013). Through this, Jarno met and learned from many of the pioneers who are at the forefront of the semantic technologies being used today. Connect with Jarno online LinkedIn Twitter Mastodon Bluesky Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 168. We all want our content to be found on the web. It's always been the case that that's easier said than done. Jarno van Driel discovered early on that focusing on accessibility and usability would give his clients better visibility in search results. When semantic markup was introduced so you could add metadata to HTML pages, he found that he could do even more to help search engines understand web content - and to help his clients get better business res...