Consulting roles

New CMS? Starting to blog? Moving into social networking? The missing ingredient is often the process of producing good quality content that is timely, relevant and easy to find and use.

In my consulting work, I play a variety of roles depending on an organization's goals and resources. I've grouped them into content wrangler, user advocate, information designer and social media guide. Your needs are likely to be a combination of several roles with some aspects more important than others.

Content wrangler on the new frontier. Content in a mess? Is stale or hard to find? New project buried in paperwork?

I put out content fires and bring to your audience fresh, engaging and easily found and navigated content. This includes standalone assignments as well as site and as part of a CMS implementation project.

My work includes:

  1. performing requirements analyses (what do we need and how will we use it);
  2. conducting content audits (what have we got, where is it and who uses it);
  3. developing strategies, plans and business cases (what are we trying to accomplish and what is the ROI justification); and
  4. creating topic plans and style guides for authoring and publishing (what will we write about and what are the standards and practices we support);
  5. structuring and organizing content for finability, navigation and reuse (don't make them work to use it);
  6. marketing and distributing content including SEO (how will we bring the right traffic to the site and how do we ensure they return).

User advocate for the organization's non-IT people. In the planning and implementation of a CMS or site, users play a crucial role in both determining requirements and ensuring user acceptance or adoption. There isn't much point in a new set of capabilities if they aren't used. Users need an advocate and guide to navigate the technical and other mysteries of the process. In short, they need a peer leader who can bridge the divide between IT and the business. This is important in the requirements front end and to the UI design and usability issues throughout.

My work includes:

  1. coordinating the work of user stakeholders and representatives so their input is realistic, timely and easily understood;
  2. educating users on capabilities and the tradeoffs which affect costs, security and timing;
  3. inventorying business processes and the content associated with them;
  4. advising on adapting work routines and configuring workspace for content types, templates, workflow, web parts, etc.) especially for high-performance workgroups;
  5. conducting usability reviews and testing.

Information designer for information products and content applications (aka composite business application) that build data and information into existing products and services and business processes. Some examples of work in this role are:

  1. a new product design/launch;
  2. annual organizational budget;
  3. a customer service survey;
  4. self-service employee procedure for vacation; and
  5. a strategic project with cross-departmental representatives and processes;
  6. redesign of a public website or intranet;

Social media guide to bring the opportunities and benefits of social networking to businesses. The three things organization's need are:

  1. use cases to decide where the opportunities lie and their costs and requirements;
  2. usage and security policies to govern their use;
  3. developing the capabilities of the people who are to lead the way.