Want more respect? Money? Don’t talk content

This Web content expert says senior executives don’t want to hear about your content strategy.

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If you want to get paid more, don’t talk about content. If you want more respect, don’t talk about content. If you want to make progress in your Web career, don’t talk about content.

I love content. My best friends are writers and we can spend hours and hours talking about the minutiae of writing. It’s good fun. But it’s one thing to talk about content to your friends and peers, and entirely another to talk about it to senior managers.

Yesterday evening I had a conversation with a senior manager. It lasted about three and a half minutes. It was for a large intranet. I talked about employee productivity, efficiency, being task driven, helping them do their jobs better, getting products out the door faster, being more flexible and adaptive. I didn’t mention content once. “Send me a proposal,” he said.

If we get this contract, much of the work will involve choosing the right words. We will do extensive research to understand employee tasks. We will come up with a large task list, perhaps as long as 500. We will work for perhaps six weeks to shorten that list to fewer than 100. Practically all that work will revolve around word choice.

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