When I turned my web writing job into this “content strategy” thing back in 2008, I thought I’d hit the jackpot: Finally, I had the tools to solve the problems that plagued my projects. Content wasn’t left ’til last, projects weren’t delayed, concerns weren’t limited to design and development. Win, win, win.
But then some terrible someone always came along to spoil my party. I’d make a style guide; the authors would stop following it. I’d work out a content model; the designer would insist on an interface it couldn’t support. I’d go through the audit results; the client would smile, nod...and go back to business as usual. I wanted to make content meaningful. Instead, I was making documents. I was making fantasies. Sometimes, I was even making enemies.
I was overwhelmed, overworked, and disappointed—until I changed the way I saw my role. Instead of tying things up with a bow and delivering it to others’ doorsteps, I learned how to make the work theirs instead—to create strategy with them, not for them.
In this talk, I share the ways I overhauled how I work, and how that’s led to more successful projects and more satisfying client relationships.