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After bringing simplicity and ease to countless content projects, Blaze is proud to announce its acquisition by global technology provider Atlantic BT.

Known for their work in web design, cloud architecture, and online strategy, Atlantic BT has solved tough digital problems for enterprise and global organizations since 1998. Their client base includes NC’s state government, Campbell University, international building materials company Martin Marietta, energy consultancy Scott Madden, detention supplier Bob Barker, North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park and many other leading organizations.

Blaze and Atlantic BT

Atlantic BT’s developers are already at work adding new features and capabilities to Blaze, as well as improving the  interface of the platform. Look for more details about these improvements later this year with demos to begin in November.

“We could not be more excited to add Blaze to our digital solutions at Atlantic BT,” said company VP of Experience Eileen Allen, “Both current and future Blaze users have a lot to look forward to when we relaunch the platform.”

Atlantic BT’s employees led the way in encouraging their company to acquire Blaze, having relied on the platform for their content audit work for multiple clients. According to Senior Writer/Content Strategist Allan Maule:

“It’s a really stellar tool. When I’m reviewing a client’s existing content and webpages, Blaze makes it simple for me to assess everything a client has put out into the world, how well it’s gathering traffic, and share my notes on every relevant detail with the rest of my team. I’m looking forward to seeing how my programming colleagues make this tool even better.”



Click here to schedule a demo.

If you’ve ever dug through the pages of a website while planning a migration or redesign, you’ve probably asked yourself (or anyone within earshot) questions like: “Has anyone *ever* looked at this page?” and “Where do I even begin?”

Screen from Blaze Content Audit Software showing analytics integration

Blaze matches up page metadata, analytics, and your content audit notes. (No vlookups or macros have been harmed.)

Web analytics data can be a great source of answers to those questions and more. Knowing which pages are most visited, result in the most bounces, or are frequent starting points can help you focus your efforts and ask better questions about what’s really going on.

Although it seems like it should be a simple process, mixing analytics data into your content audit can be a struggle. Instead of wrestling with data exports, troubleshooting vlookups, or writing macros, Blaze is designed to do the heavy lifting for you. Here’s how it works:

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Scott Kubie, lead content strategist at Wolfram, is an enthusiastic advocate for content strategy, user experience, and the community that surrounds the practice. Scott is also the next subject in our series of Q&As with industry leaders.

Scott Kubie, Lead Content Strategist at Wolfram

Scott Kubie, lead content strategist at Wolfram

Where did this all begin? How did you stumble upon content strategy?

Content Strategy, with a capital “C” and capital “S”, is an area of practice I discovered long after I was already doing the stuff most content strategists do. I’ve been interested in the web and technology since I was very young. Content strategy (and related disciplines like IA and UX) has been an excellent way to apply my strengths in design thinking, editorial strategy, and writing on web projects.

While all disciplines blend together to some degree, I have personally embraced the term content strategy because a lot of smart people are saying smart stuff about the kinds of problems I find interesting under that banner. It’s helpful to know what section of the bookstore to look in, so to speak.

That’s more the why. As for how, I worked on lots of projects that required writing, describing and marketing new ideas and technology products, and building communities. During all that, some timely connections in 2012 helped steer me toward the Information Architecture Summit community, which opened my eyes to all of the formal discussion around these areas of practice and gave me an opportunity to contribute to the conversation.

Now that you’ve been embedded in the content strategy and UX communities for a while, have you noticed any trends in where the conversation is heading?

It’s hard to discuss trends in so young a field. There’s lots still being discovered, documented, described and tested out. Personally, I’m finding that many of the content problems organizations struggle with are best addressed through good old-fashioned design thinking.

I’ve also observed that more content strategists are doing design work and more designers are working on content strategy — that’s a good thing! I hope the lessons and tools of content strategy thinking become ever more integral to the design process of anyone working with web content.

That’s a theme we’ve been seeing as well. The discussion seems to have expanded lately, from how to work across the silos of the organization to also talk about how strategists collaborate with peers in design, SEO, analytics, and so on. Each domain brings a unique, and valuable, perspective. It sounds like the design perspective brings a lot to the projects you work on?

I believe the world needs more designers. Lots more. So the work I find most rewarding is teaching what I know about design and content strategy to others and helping them feel more empowered to tackle their own content and website problems.

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We’re huge fans of the people out in the field, doing the hard work of content strategy. We also love getting new perspectives and sharing advice. That’s why we’re launching a series of Q&As with industry leaders who can give insight into where content strategy has been and where it’s going.

Becky Vardaman, vice president of strategy at Converge Consulting

Becky Vardaman, vice president of strategy at Converge Consulting

First up is Becky Vardaman, vice president of strategy at Converge Consulting, a higher education marketing firm based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

How did you get into content strategy?

Like many people, I found content strategy while knee-deep in a content problem. At the time, I was faced with a big, unruly corporate website. A smaller site is more easily managed by one or two like-minded folks, but when you add volume and get other stakeholders involved, you have to have a plan if you want your content to be any good. I found a blog by Kristina Halvorson and felt an immediate kinship. I bought her book (and about 20 others), and I’m now a content strategy disciple.

So many content strategy careers were launched by Kristina’s writing. Now that you’ve been at it a while, where do you see things going next?

I see a lot of trends in the field. Here are a few:

  1.  More people know what content strategy is now and actually acknowledge that it’s necessary. That is a huge victory. However, most of those people have no idea how to actually DO content strategy day to day. I expect more organizations will invest resources in execution.
  2. Another trend I’m seeing is the development of some great tools, like Blaze, that help get this stuff done at scale. Some of the most tedious tasks are being streamlined, like content inventories, audits, and card sorts. This is one of the most exciting trends!
  3. There are also more platforms to worry about now, and more are entering the scene all of the time: social media networks, video platforms, microsites, and third party applications. Mapping and improving your content is a job that’s getting bigger, and I only expect that scope to grow.
  4. With every search engine algorithm change, the line between content strategy and search engine optimization blurs a little more. Many of the tactics are the same, and you really should be looking at them together. Good content = good search visibility. This is a good thing!

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Content Lifecycle: Plan, author, publish, evaluate

This post originally appeared on Geonetric’s GeoVoices Blog.

Have any of these ever happened to you?

  • You discovered new content (or entire websites) halfway through a project?
  • You struggled to decide what content was in or out of scope for a project?
  • You were afraid to look at some of the content on your site out of fear of what you might find?
  • You’re constantly debating whether you have too little or too much content?
  • You spent more time developing content than anticipated?

If you’ve worked with websites for more than a couple of months, you can probably relate to some of these situations. If you’ve been around for a couple of years, you’ve probably experienced them all. If these problems are so common, how do we wind up in these situations?

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Letters spelling "Confab" on stage with red curtain.

Hundreds of content strategists assembled in Minneapolis to celebrate the trials and triumphs encountered while helping organizations tell their stories online. What is it that sets this conference apart?

Umm, obviously it’s the cake.

A rapidly expanding number of events are filled with sessions on content — how to create content for your brand, how to promote and distribute content, how to layer marketing on top of your marketing. Confab, however, is one of the few gatherings where you hear genuine empathy and concern for the human being on the other end of that content. This hold true both from the stage and in the halls. Not only that, the people in these rooms are empowered with the tools to make a difference.

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Mountain climber

A content audit doesn’t have to be a heroic effort by a single person. [Photo: “Climbing” by Michael Pollack]

“In a world where content rages out of control, where metadata has lost all meaning, a lone hero comes forth to audit all the things.” Sound like a preview for your worst week ever?

A content audit is often a solo effort — one person’s battle against a mountain of information. Sounds dramatic, but audits are so often about raising the visibility of content problems. The process finally brings to light issues that have been swept under the rug.

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Mixed up and overlapping social media icons

Capture a two-day social media conference in six words? Here goes: Be useful. Be honest. Be there. Sounds simple, but it’s just the beginning.

At Social Brand Forum 2013 last week the topics ranged from video to marketing automation, mobile devices to ethical practices, but the principles of being useful, honest, and present remained unbelievably consistent throughout the event.

Be useful

Jay Baer opened up the conference with the concept of “Youtility” —creating marketing so useful your audience would pay for it. Picking up the baton, Laura Fitton encouraged us to “solve for the humans.” Marcus Sheridan closed the conference on the same theme, explaining how his business found success creating content to answer the customer questions his competitors avoided.

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Logo: Social Brand Forum

Keynote speaker Jay Baer has said, “Content is fire. Social media is gasoline. The combination is powerful.” We couldn't agree more.

We’re excited to help sponsor a fantastic event — Social Brand Forum 2013 — October 24-25 at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, Coralville, IA. Listed among the “10 Top Social Media Conferences For Marketers,” this event features nationally-recognized speakers on social media and content marketing. Last year’s forum attracted a sellout crowd of digital marketers and social media strategists. (Time is running out, so register right now.)

Blaze will be on hand to share how we’re helping digital strategists discover valuable insights and develop a solid content strategy. Stop by our table to learn more about our content strategy software, currently in private beta.

Content strategy for the social brand

Compelling content is the foundation of successful social engagement. If you’re like most digital marketers, you’re feeling the pressure to publish more content, more frequently, in more media. It’s essential to take full advantage of the content you’ve already created, and make wise investments in new content development.

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Logo: Innovation Expo 2013, October 23, 2013, Coralville Marriott

Join us at Innovation EXPO 2013! We will be showing off our content strategy software alongside products from 60 Iowa entrepreneurs.

Blaze will be exhibiting and providing live demonstrations of our content strategy software as part of the EDC Entrepreneur Showcase on October 23, 2013. The showcase runs from 4:30 to 7:30 pm at the Coralville Marriott.

Stop by the Blaze booth to learn how we’re helping digital strategists deliver more valuable insights. Our software assists with the chore of evaluating online content, fueling the development of an effective content strategy.

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