Google the definition for “strategy” and you’ll get more than 187 million results. Do the same for “content” and you get 2.2 billion (well ok, that includes all the results for that state of emotional well-being). Mash them up and the search results for “define:content strategy” stand at over 131 million. Obviously all three terms rate a lot of research and debate. Jacquie Samuels’ informative piece on Building a DITA Content Strategy also rated some debate recently, including a worthwhile blog post from Sarah O’Keefe of Scriptorium. And debates tend to make really nice TechWhirl poll questions.
Content and content strategy are big business, and producing technical content is a pretty signficant niche within the content industry. The recent debate centers on whether DITA, a standard for authoring content in XML, can be a strategy. The Google definition of strategy “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim” is just nebulous enough to make this an interesting and viable debate. Jacquie likens a DITA Content Strategy to a map that shows you how to get to your destination. Sarah says with “a resounding NO” that DITA is not a strategy, but rather one alternative to implement a content strategy. For another viewpoint on the definition of content strategy, check out The Language of Content Strategy website (or the companion book by Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie from XML Press) Then it’s time for your take on the strategy debate.
Two things aren’t in dispute: 1) business objectives should always drive strategy 2) strategy comprises a significant element of planning. But as you vote in this quick poll consider a couple of questions. Can you have a strategy that is a component of a larger strategy? Are content strategy and DITA content strategy peer-level concepts? Can you substitute one for the other? Voting is quick, and commenting is welcome (if not quite as quick).
p.s. For a clear, simple explanation of the difference between goals, strategy, objectives, and tactics, take a look at this Forbes magazine post by Mikal Belicove.