A Content Strategy Conversation — Lisa Trager

This is part two of the content conversations series. Our guest today is Lisa Trager.

Lisa L. Trager brings a wealth of experience from working on both the agency and client side. She recently joined Verizon Wireless as Senior Manager of Digital & Content Strategy where she leads a national team within Digital Operations.

She will be presenting at IDW in May and is a contributing author to The Language of Content Strategy.


[Frontend Questions]

What delights you the most about the work that you have done so far?

[LLT]: Being able to use both right and left brain to solve business problems. I like the fact that I can be both creative and technical in the work I do. My role often requires me to function as a translator of sorts between business, creative, and technical stakeholders.

What is your dream content strategy project that you want to get involved in? It can be for any group or organization, for any goals, anywhere in the world.

[LLT]: I just landed it! I am now Senior Manager of Digital & Content Strategy for the Support area of Digital Operations at Verizon Wireless!

The reason I say it’s my dream job, is because I am leading a national team of super smart people in two areas: Infrastructure and Content, and together we are working on the best ways to provide support to Verizon Wireless customers for them to stay informed and get answers to questions related to their devices and plans, as well as purchase of new equipment. The areas of the VerizonWireless.com site that I manage specifically addresses Trending Questions, FAQs, Product Support, Simulators, Emulators, Ratings & Reviews, Chat, Communities, Forums, Troubleshooting, and much, much more!

What is the most important need or pain point that content strategists have not been able to address as effectively as they would have loved to? It can be for standards, or defining expectations from CS as a discipline, a tool, or for anything else.

[LLT]: Clearly defining what we do and differentiating what we do from what others already to in the organization. If you were to interview 10 content strategists, you’d probably get 10 different definitions as to what they do and what content strategy is!

What most people do not realize is that what we do is immense and depending upon the project and how the organization is structured, can include a wide array of things. Those who work more on the strategy side are usually tasked with developing the research and insights needed to lay a solid foundation for the structure, tone of voice, and customer experience often related to an omnichannel strategy for the brand. Those who are more on the content engineering side work on developing content models, taxonomies, and tagging the content so that it is in alignment with the needs of users, as well as the content owners and engineers who are developing the architecture for the CMS.

On one hand, we have AI and automation for predictive intelligence and recommendation engines. At the same time, we talk about human centered design, and a personalized experience. How do you see a balance where you can use your awareness and experience to take certain decisions, while allowing technology to automate certain things?

[LLT]: At the heart of predictive intelligence is personalization. The work we do as Content Strategists involves developing critical building blocks used to program the technology, to ensure that it functions properly. I see no contradiction between the work we do to develop standards, rules, and models related to content engineering and human-centered design, and the final output as computers and robots provide predictive results through artificial intelligence. Our work provides the foundation, insights, messaging, strategy, which can be used as a basis for programming AI.

We talk about future friendly content that should make sense for all known devices and channels. Also, this content should be so planned that the architecture can support even unknown devices and unexpected contexts for the way audience may need it in future (as far as possible). How do you prepare yourself to address this massive challenge?

[LLT]: At the heart of what you are asking is the question of how do you create Content Once and Publish Everywhere (COPE). The best way to address this challenge is by building a robust content model, which can be used to define all of the content types, categories, elements and then apply this model across the enterprise.

Having a content management system, which can support modular content and separate content from the presentation layer is also crucial. A system that enables tagging to help define audience types as well as rules for various devices, also makes a huge difference in preparing for the future.

In my current role with Verizon Wireless, I look forward to introducing concepts related to content strategy and content engineering. Together with the business stakeholders, I hope to help the organization understand the benefits, as well as welcome and embrace the changes that are sure to come with the establishment of intelligent content as a model.

Can you name any companies or brands that you admire for their content strategy? And why do you admire them?

[LLT]: These are:

Vox

All of these sites do a great job of creating content models, which work across platforms and devices and they enable the user to find content in a pleasing way.

[Backend Questions]

If you get a chance to have lunch with a content strategist in your favorite restaurant in the city of your choice, whom will you pick, and why?

[LLT]: I have already had that chance when I was in San Francisco last year, and picked Scott Abel! He is simply brilliant on the topic of content strategy, knows everyone in the field, and super fun to be with!

Who are the 3 individuals in CS whom you follow for their talks, writings, or for their social presence? Why them?

[LLT]:

  • Rahel Anne Bailie: Extremely knowledgeable about all things Content Strategy and always on the bleeding edge of integrating content strategy with technology!
  • Scott Abel aka The Content Wrangler: I recommend that anyone interested in the field of content strategy or content engineering following his posts as The Content Wrangler and sign up for his many relevant and insightful BrightTalk webinars.
  • Ann Rockley: What can I say? She is truly the mother of content strategy and together with her partner Charles Cooper have set the bar high for the rest of us.

If you could weave a magic wand to seek one wish, what will you wish as a content strategist?

[LLT]: Greater collaboration and less silos to bring a unified content strategy to organizations!


Thank you Lisa Trager.

Vinish Garg | Products. Experience. Stories.

I am a EEES (External Eye Experience Specialist) for startups and their goals, for content, UX, and for customer experience. Connect with me via @vingar or at vinishgarg.com.