The Randall Cunningham Effect and Content Strategy … Wha?!

Randall Cunningham should be in the NFL hall of fame. He was among the first African-American NFL quarterbacks to be given the starting role on a major market team — the Philadelphia Eagles. At the time, the Eagles sucked. They’d lost a Superbowl, badly, and rebounded into the cellar. Along came Cunningham.

He passed with a strong arm and acute accuracy while standing strong in the pocket and executed play action fake handoffs along with the best of them. But he was also the team’s leading rusher. He had to scramble because his offensive line just couldn’t keep the opposition’s defense from flattening the quarterback.

Cunningham was the archetype of today’s NFL superstar quarterbacks. He had all the skills — passing, reading defenses, calling audibles PLUS running, scrambling and improvising. But the media and most fans couldn’t fathom that a Black QB could do all that. He single handedly raised the bar and set a new standard for excellence, yet nobody was willing to give him the credit he was (and is) due.

As the result of Randall Cunningham, any athlete who aspires to become an NFL quarterback needs to have skills above and beyond the previous generation’s established bar — without slipping an iota in the mastery of ALL those skills as well.

So it goes with interactive marketing. Great design is not good enough to engage consumers in the Conversation Cloud along the Consumer Decision Journey. That’s why the recent (ugh … if we can call 2-3 years “recent”) rise of content strategy has become so important.

Successful brand communication, presence and engagement across digital and physical channels requires the focused effort and diligent discipline of content strategy. These areas of content strategy work are essential for launching and maintaining successful programs made of persuasive content:

Editorial Strategy

  • Definitions for the guidelines by which online content is governed: values, voice, tone, legal and regulatory concerns, user-generated content, etc.
  • Define the editorial calendar including content life cycles.

Web (Interactive) Copywriting

  • Writing useful, usable content intended for online publication.
  • Understanding the basics (and better) of user experience design.
  • Translate information architecture documentation.
  • Write effective metadata.
  • Manage a flexible, fluctuating content inventory.

Metadata Management

  • Identify the type and structure of metadata.
  • Outcome: identify, organize, use and re-use content in ways that are meaningful to key audiences.
  • Title
  • Description
  • Keywords and phrases
    • Market Defining Keywords (MDKW)
    • Informative Content Descriptors
  • Sample Meta Data (for ChilliwackLife.com)
    Title: Chilliwack BC Canada – Chilliwack Life
    Description: Your source for living, working and playing in Chilliwack BC
    Keywords: Chilliwack BC british columbia canada

    What the actual meta data looks like in HTML
    <TITLE>Chilliwack BC Canada – Chilliwack Life</TITLE>
    <meta name=”DESCRIPTION” content=”Your source for living, working and playing in Chilliwack BC”>
    <meta name=”KEYWORDS” content=”Chilliwack BC british columbia canada”>

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Edit and organize content on pages, screens and/or across a website – including metadata – to increase relevance to search engine keywords and phrases.
  • Apply link building best practices

Content Management Strategy

  • Define the technologies needed to capture, store, deliver and preserve content.
  • Considerations include publishing infrastructure, content life cycle(s) and work flow(s).

Content Channel Distribution

  • Define how and where (and sometimes why) content is available to users in various user-centered scenarios and across digital platforms based on personas/consumer insights.

Source: Kristina Halvorson, “The Discipline of Content Strategy”

More on this topic soon … This entry is a DRAFT (aka work in progress) that I’m posting for the benefit of feedback, discussion and my own inner process.

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