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To the CS Community, With Love

by Erin Kissane on November 17th, 2011

Yesterday morning, I helped launch a magazine.

For the last several months, I’ve been working with Krista Stevens (Executive Editor, A List Apart), Ethan Marcotte (author, Responsive Web Design), and Brain Traffic’s own Erik Westra (Director of Media and Events) to build Contents, a new magazine for content strategists, online editors, new-school publishers, and everyone else obsessed with content online.

The village that it takes

Contents isn’t a Brain Traffic project, but at every step of the way, Erik and I have been inspired, grounded, and supported by our friends and colleagues here.

On one side of the building, two-thirds of our leadership team is immersed in the final stages of writing and revising the second edition of Content Strategy for the Web—and another of my colleagues is editing it as they go. Across the office is one of the co-organizers of the Minneapolis-St. Paul CS Meetup. Down a couple of steps toward the kitchen, Erik is laying the groundwork for Confab 2012. And in every room, on every conference call, and in every meeting over bagels and coffee, my colleagues are building the future of content strategy on real-world projects for clients around the globe.

Ultimately, client work is the heart of our company, and in the eleven months since I joined Brain Traffic, I’ve seen a lot of fantastic projects created and launched. It goes without saying (or it should) that our client work benefits tremendously from the shared work of the larger content strategy community, the members of whom are tirelessly creating these events and publications and resources.

For me, at least, it’s impossible to do either client work or community building well without plenty of exposure to the other. And maybe it’s because so many of us started out as writers and really love to blog, but the CS world seems to understand the importance of that symbiotic relationship more than any fledgling discipline I’ve seen before.

What’s coming up at Contents?

In the coming months, we’ll be publishing columns, articles, interviews, conference reports, product reviews, and more. Some will be practical and focused on tools and techniques. More will focus on expanding our understanding of the work we do, and to create connections between fields we still think of as separate worlds, but that have much to share with each other: content strategy, but also digital data preservation, library science, new journalism, communication theory, and many others.

As Mandy Brown put it in her article for our first issue, successful communities require two things: “a place to gather, and things to talk about.” And we clearly have a lot to talk about—have you seen us on Twitter? With @Contents, we hope to provide a place—an equivalent, maybe, to the auditoriums and conference-center hallways where our community comes together in physical space.

In the end, this is about you. Our doors are open and our writers are smart, curious, and excited to share what they’ve learned. We hope you’ll come in, grab a coffee, and join us.

  • Thevesparider

    i like the story above. nice nice.
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  • http://twitter.com/a_mom_of_4 AMomof4

    Sounds great! I hope you are planning to reach past the normal group of strategist and UXers for this effort. I for one am tired hearing from the sound alike look alike group. Good luck!

  • http://twitter.com/a_mom_of_4 AMomof4

    Sounds great! I hope you are planning to reach past the normal group of strategist and UXers for this effort. I for one am tired hearing from the sound alike look alike group. Good luck!

  • http://lauracreekmore.com Laura Creekmore

    Erin, love your point about the necessity of client work and ongoing learning. It’s funny; I am just drafting a post about that very topic. If we’re not always learning, we aren’t doing our best work.

    Thanks for Contents and all that you do. We’re learning from you!

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