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.
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.