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The Content Strategy Terminology Problem | Content Rules, Inc.

See on Scoop.itM-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications

In order for us to communicate effectively with each other, we need to have a shared terminology.

Danielle M. Villegas‘s insight:

I saw that Val Swisher had posted this on LinkedIn. Excellent article that affects all technical communicators, not just the content managers. One of the reasons that I try to stay involved in social media is so that I know what the latest "lingo" of the trade is, and terminology of responsibilities, requirements, and even job titles gets confusing. Case in point: my brother is an architect. What kind? The kind that draws and creates buildings–physical structures like office buildings, houses, and airports. Because "architect" is used so much in the IT world now, he’s had to figure out how to change his job description because of "information architects" and the like. Not that IAs should change their titles, but the point is that as content changes, and the strategy and management of said content changes, terminology is going to change. Val talks about that in detail here very well, as she always does. 


Definitely read this article. 


See on


Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who currently employed at Cox Automotive, Inc., and freelances as her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, BASF North America, Merck, and Deloitte, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog,, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, TCUK (ISTC) and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. She is very active in the STC, as a former chapter president for the STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter, and is currently serving on three STC Board committees. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog. All content is the owner's opinions, and does not reflect those of her employers past or present.

3 thoughts on “The Content Strategy Terminology Problem | Content Rules, Inc.

  1. Thanks for this pointer, Danielle. As I noted on the post itself, I appreciate Val’s clarification of the difference between “structure-based” and “marketing-based” content strategy. Readers who find that post helpful will want to watch for the book (coming out soon) called “The Language of Content Strategy,” edited by Scott Abel and Rahel Bailie—with a chapter contributed by Content Rules’ own Val Swisher. To Val’s point above (“Houston, we have a terminology problem”), this book defines over 50 terms related to content strategy. The content community can use all the definition help we can get!

  2. Thanks, Danielle and Marcia. As I talk to more and more customers about content strategy, I realize that not everyone has the same definition of the term. This means that we have to be clear from the start what type of content strategy the customer needs.

    1. Exactly, Val. Even on a more basic level, I think you’ve hit a particular point that I’ve learned just from my pre-IT years in customer service. The first thing that customers and companies need to be is on the “same page”, and a huge part of that is using the same terminology. For example, when I worked for a company that made laundry products, a “stain” was not the same thing as a “discoloration”–because you could be told there was a “stain” or a “bleach stain” (which, you can’t exactly stain with bleach–technically, it’s a discoloration), and then our lab technicians would discover whether the discoloration was done by actual bleach or by color brightener of a product. Something simple, but those minutia could make a difference when trying to figure out quality control issues with the product batches!

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