In this week's light issue:

  • In the final pre-order push for More than (key)Words!
  • A thought starter for finding your company's path to creative idea approval
  • Three content jobs: Probing the creative and editorial sides of content strategy
  • Content tech links of the week: How users feel about social media and more
  • Did you read? About the time a major consultancy mislabeled and misused its stock footage at the expense of (my) taxpayer dollars

In next week's heavy issue: braiding quality sourcing and trust signals into content development processes.

Coming March 31 (and yes, after a couple of delays, that's the final delivery date! I can see the light at the end of the editing and platform configuration tunnel): A course that will change how you think about audience research in just a few hours.

According to this week's big splashy research from SparkToro (itself a great audience research tool!), around 82% of referral traffic to long-tail websites arrives from keyword-based search engines.

No matter how you've felt about SEO in the past, your potential audience is typing keywords into search bars to find content like yours. The only difference between this behavior now and a decade ago is that the search engines are much smarter — and actively looking to prioritize higher quality content.

Do you know what language your audience is using? Do you know how to organize and position that keyword research to match your human-created, idea-rich content with your audience's needs?

More than (key)Words covers editorial-focused keyword research, step-by-step, to expand your toolkit and reach your audience. Get started right away by researching keywords that support your current content creation goals from the point of view of building useful authority, not just achieving rankings or traffic.

With this course, you will:

  • Gain an understanding of why keywords are important and how they work within natural language processing algorithms
  • Learn the tools and techniques to mine and organize keyword data usefully, empathetically, and practically to build an audience
  • Understand where your website already has search authority that you might not know about
  • Develop techniques to build audience via human-navigated knowledge graphs, rather than relying on flimsy software recommendations
  • Complete your own keyword research exercise as you complete the course—on your own content, or using sample data

Best of all, More than (key)Words is relatively short (approximately 2.5 hours of videos plus exercises) and can be completed in 5 days—or at whatever pace you choose.

Use the promo code MTK60 to get the exclusive preorder pricing of $199, available only until March 31.

Content production thought starter

Knowing that it's often challenging for stakeholders to provide feedback on incomplete work, how does your organization sketch our or wireframe ideas with your clients or stakeholders? How do you get critical feedback and approval early-on before full resources are devoted to its production?

Do you sketch out storyboards and create shot lists? Create outlines or source lists for stakeholders to respond to? Do you force stakeholders into long meetings to discuss several ideas that aren't yet fully baked? Write approval points into the contract? Remind them in every email what they previously agreed to?

Getting approval for in-progress concepts doesn't look the same for every agency/company, but having them in place and testing what works can make or break great content.

Creatively focused content jobs

This week's three jobs are not for the generalists or the "everything is content" people. These roles require skills far more specific than "content designer" or "content strategist." Check 'em out.

Tomorrow: A full day of Let's Build a Website

Beginning at 8:00am EDT on March 15, watch all 9 complete episodes of Let's Build a Website on YouTube and Twitch. Drop in. Play it in the background. Learn a little bit about building a website.

Watch on YouTube

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.

Advertise with us | Manage your subscription

Affiliate referrals: Ghost publishing system | Bonsai contract/invoicing | The Sample newsletter exchange referral | Writer AI Writing Assistant

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.

This week in automation whoopsies, the city of Minneapolis (where I live) paid global consultancy Accenture $950k to create a police recruitment campaign... and the resulting ad displayed footage of the rowhouses of Baltimore.

Now, Baltimore is a great city, but it looks very different than Minneapolis. Specifically, we don't have rowhouses. Baltimore does, and we know that because we've all watched The Wire.

The stock footage of the city was just mislabeled, says Accenture. Wow! What incompetence, says me. Why the city couldn't hire one of the many high-quality video ad agencies based in town is baffling. After all, Minneapolis is one of the top advertising cities in the U.S.

But instead the city hired behemoth Accenture and spent nearly a million dollars on a campaign that, though now corrected to depict MPLS, does not address the main barrier to recruitment: the fact that the MPD is under a consent decree from the federal government because of its long, globally recognized history of racist policing. Instead of addressing and overcoming complications, we get toxic positivity. But ideas aside...

Get your taxonomies correct, especially when labeling stock footage. In this day and age we shouldn't be farming out the taxonomy to the part-time college student or AI. Facts matter. Labels matter.