Hello, new subscribers, and welcome! The Content Technologist's audience grew by about 2.5% in a single day, which is the largest growth spurt we've had in a while. So excited for you to join us!

A few of you subscribed from a very sweet LinkedIn recommendation, but most of you arrived from an email newsletter that is completely unknown to me! I know that it's hosted by the email service provider Sailthru, but that's about it, so if you're new, would you mind sharing the mailing list you arrived from?

This is an odd-numbered issue, which means that it contains lots of little snippets instead of one big essay. Next week we get in the weeds in our 200th (!!!) issue, examining the many dimensions of contemporary content strategy.


In this week's issue:

  • Announcing our latest course on audience research
  • A content strategy thought-starter for your team
  • Three great content strategy job descriptions
  • Five great tools for content strategy research
  • Also returning: The Chum Bucket, highlighting the worst – but most hilarious – in programmatic content
  • Let's Build a Website now has reruns!
  • Links of the week: Documentation, email changes, social goal setting, and more
  • Did you read? about the rat selfies

More than (key)Words: Audience research for devastatingly useful, thoughtfully organized, inarguably successful, resoundingly trustworthy, authoritatively expert, frickin' amazing brilliant business-building content

More than (key)Words: Audience research for brilliant business-building content

New course dropping on February 29.

Ah, the mighty keyword! It’s at the core of search engine optimization, the word or phrase that users type into search bars to populate a hundred websites, all vying for the number one position. It’s the recipient of a lot of hatred from digitally native writers, forced to put aside their originality and brilliant ideas to write “SEO content” to placate the masses and get found online. 

But somehow, amid all the hate, amid new developments in artificial intelligence and generative search, the keyword is trending up again, more popular than it’s been in a decade. 

In this course, we'll learn to assess and understand the power of the mighty keyword. We’ll develop an approach to keyword research that helps you reach an audience and mine data ethically without breaking your brain or your moral center.

And we’ll dispel many of the myths you may have learned in the past decade or so on the importance of the keyword itself—all while positioning your content for success in front of the audiences you seek.

In case you or your boss were wondering: Yes, we'll get an assist from AI and learn some brand-new techniques to keep you ahead of your cookie-cutter competitors.

Pre-order More than (key)Words now to get the course as soon as it's released. Use the code EARLYBIRDMTK to get the entire course for $199.

But don't sleep – this extremely discounted offer is limited to the first 30 orders and will be retired on February 29.

Content strategy thought starter

Use this thought-starter as a team or individual exercise to tone that content strategy muscle.

What are the ideal non-purchase behaviors that you want to encourage from your audiences? How would you classify the differences in behaviors from brand fans, occasional visitors, noncommittal lurkers, and random passersby?

Events and podcasts

  • This week I was featured on Mind Your Own Marketing Business with Joe Barsness from Minneapolis digital agency Fjorge. We chatted about my background in publishing and strategy, being an evangelist for the web, and why I'm excited about AI (it's probably not the reasons you think).
  • Super excited to be speaking at TBD Conference on February 27. The theme is Fascia, and it's a virtual event, so you can join from anywhere! TBD advertises itself as TED... without the bullshit, and I think we can all get on board with that.

Three good-lookin' content strategy jobs

We're eyeing a return to a full-fledged job board, but in the meantime, here are three great content strategy roles I found listed online that follow the definition of content strategy I set out in last week's issue.

Whether you're looking for a new position for yourself or sketching out the requirements for a new hire at your company, check out these swell-lookin' content strategy roles. I have no connections with these companies, but I like the way they're outlining content strategy responsibilities.

WorkingInContent.com is a wonderful resource for finding great content strategy and content design roles. Not an advertisement, just a nod to a great website.

Our flagship course, Understanding Google Analytics 4, focuses on helping content professionals understand and implement GA4.

In this course, you'll learn:

  • How to set up Google Analytics 4 properly so that your data is accurate and actionable
  • What the different reports and settings in the GA4 interface mean for content publishers—and which ones you can ignore
  • What's the difference between an event and a conversion and which ones you should track
  • Which customizations make sense for publishers to configure
  • How to read and find insights in GA 4's out-of-the-box reports with no custom code

Available on-demand now. Update coming for all past and future attendees in early March 2024.

A smattering of content strategy tools that won't break your budget

Presented without commentary and with zero paid affiliation involved.

  1. Competitive social media analysis: RivalIQ
  2. Social listening: Brand24
  3. Information architecture and service design: Flowmapp
  4. Keyword research and competitive analysis: Mangools
  5. Audience research and influencer identification: Sparktoro

From the bottom of the chum bucket

Our chum bucket explores all the weird programmatic content and ads found online. Because "targeted advertising" is a weird, weird thing.

It's the weird incorporation of the Disney-esque font that gets me. She will so emotional because I'm pretty sure she doesn't want this text-laden blanket.

Let's Build a Website: Reruns starting on Saturday!

In our weekly Wednesday livestreams, we're building a personal website one hour at a time. This beginner-level program takes ideas from the professional website development and content strategy world and applies them to personal websites. We hope to make your personal website journey easier.

If you missed the original streams, check out our reruns, now optimized for different timezones.

Add the weekly Wednesday livestreams to your calendar:

Apple | Gmail | Outlook | Office365

You can also catch reruns of previous episodes at the following times:

  • Saturdays at 8:00AM ET / 1:00PM GMT - Four most recent episodes
  • Thursdays at 8:00PM ET / Fridays at 12:00PM AET - Four most recent episodes
  • Fridays at 12:00PM ET / 5:00PM GMT - Two most recent episodes
  • The 15th of every month - All episodes in the archive, streamed beginning at 4AM ET / 9:00AM GMT

Catch the reruns on Twitch or YouTube, or subscribe to our paid Substack to get all notes, transcripts, and templates as well as every episode on demand.

The Content Technologist is a newsletter and consultancy based in Minneapolis, working with clients and collaborators around the world. The entire newsletter is written and edited by Deborah Carver, independent content strategy consultant, speaker, and educator.

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Cultural recommendations / personal social: Spotify | Instagram | Letterboxd

Did you read? is the assorted content at the very bottom of the email. Cultural recommendations, off-kilter thoughts, and quotes from foundational works of media theory we first read in college—all fair game for this section.

I am obsessed with the selfie-taking rats, per this story in the New York Times. I'm not a huge fan of rodents in general, but these photo-inclined rats are (as we millennials say) totes adorbs.