The Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (JTWC), is soliciting article proposals for an upcoming special issue that will examine content strategy best practices within technical communication and beyond. This special issue will be published in Fall 2022, and the guest editors are Guiseppe Getto, Suzan Flanagan, and Jack T. Labriola.
SPECIAL ISSUE DESCRIPTION
As technical content becomes increasingly important to organizational outcomes within such diverse industries as business, healthcare, education, and government, so too does the role of the technical communicator begin to shift to that of content strategist (Andersen, 2015). Technical communicators are now sometimes responsible for such diverse roles as content management, content auditing, and even search engine optimization (Getto, Labriola, & Ruszkiewicz, 2019). At the same time, we are seeing remarkable growth in jobs devoted to these content-centric skills.
Emerging technologies such as content management systems, social media platforms, open source information architectures, and application programming interfaces are also providing new opportunities for the creation, publication, and delivery of content. Within the field of technical communication, research on content strategy has thus taken various forms, including:
- Content strategy as information design (Albers & Mazur, 2003; Albers, 2012)
- Content strategy as a rhetorical approach to managing content within content management systems and other technologies (Pullman & Gu, 2008)
- Content strategy as an intersection of communication, user experience, and content management (Bailie, 2019)
- Curating and facilitating user-generated content (Walwema, Sarat-St. Peter, & Chong, 2019)
- Component-based content strategy (Andersen & Batova, 2015; Batova & Andersen, 2015)
- Website-based content strategy (Batova & Andersen, 2016)
- Developing localized, multicultural content within content management systems (Batova, 2018)
- The formal practice of teaching content strategy as an important new pedagogical approach (Bridgeford, 2020)
This body of literature demonstrates the widespread applications of content strategy work. And though we can develop overarching best practices for this emerging discipline, it is arguable that specific applications will require specific best practices, as seems to be the case in disciplines like UX.
In this special issue, we seek to showcase current work on content strategy from the field of technical communication and beyond. Specifically, we are looking for work that delves into three of the primary concerns of modern content strategy:
- Organizational strategy: the creation of an organization-wide strategy to manage content (Rockley & Cooper, 2012; Rockley, Cooper, & Abel, 2015)
- Web-based content strategy: the creation of a strategy to manage content online (Halvorson & Rach, 2012; Wachter-Boettcher, 2012; Batova & Andersen, 2016)
- Structured authoring: formatting content for the purposes of single sourcing so that it can be efficiently managed in a single repository and delivered to a variety of audiences in a variety of genres (Andersen & Batova, 2015; Batova & Andersen, 2015)
Within these three broader concerns, we welcome original research articles, annotated bibliographies, and case studies of firsthand experiences that further delve into the central terms of our title: people, practices, and technologies.
We are particularly seeking case studies of firsthand experiences, or even original research, from practitioners working in industry who would like to share their current challenges, insights, and problem-solving strategies.
POSSIBLE TOPICS FOR THIS SPECIAL ISSUE
The guest editors invite proposals for original research papers, annotated bibliographies, or case studies of firsthand experiences that address issues such as the following:
- Workflows common to content strategy work, including collaboration, teamwork, and managing content as it moves through a publication process
- Content strategy within different types of organizations and communities, including large enterprises, small businesses, non-profit organizations, professional societies, online communities, and activist groups
- Types of professions that are cropping up around content strategy work (i.e., content strategist, content manager, website manager, structured authoring specialist, DITA specialist, etc.)
- Emerging best practices from industry and academia involving any element of content strategy (i.e., content development, content management, audience analysis, publication, delivery, etc.)
- The development and application of the term content strategy and related terms (intelligent content, unified content strategy, the content strategy quad, etc.) in a variety of contexts and industries
- Documentation management within a variety of contexts and industries
- Using content strategy within non-professional settings such as social movements and other social justice-related contexts
- Using content strategy within global, international, and/or intercultural contexts, such as through translation and localization efforts
- Emerging technologies affecting content development, content management, publishing, and delivery
- Utilizing DITA and other frameworks for structured authoring and single-sourcing
- Utilizing Content Management Systems (CMSs) and Component-based Content Management Systems (CCMSs) to structure content for reuse
- Utilizing Learning Management Systems (LMSs) and other types of content management for structuring content for educational purposes
- Social media strategy and content delivery
Proposals should be no more than 400 words in length and sent as an email attachment in .docx format. All proposals should include submitter name, affiliation, and email address as well as a working title for the proposed article.
Please include in your proposal the following information:
- Type of proposed article: original research article, annotated bibliography, or case study of firsthand experience
- Connection to CFP: how does the proposal align with the overall aims of this special issue?
- Specific topic as it relates to content strategy: what specific aspect of content strategy would the proposed article discuss?
- Method of discussion: how would the proposed article go about addressing this specific topic (i.e., report of empirical research, report of new process, case study of organization, discussion of emerging technology, etc.)?
- Reader takeaway: what specific knowledge would a reader of the proposed article gain by reading it? Also: what would they be able to do (i.e., structure content for reuse) after reading the proposed article?
The schedule for the special issue is as follows:
September 1, 2021 – 400-word proposals due
September 15, 2021 – Guest editors return proposal decisions to submitters
January 2, 2022 – Draft manuscripts of accepted proposals due
May 1, 2022 – Peer reviews of manuscripts returned to authors
July 1, 2022 – Final manuscripts due
Fall 2022 – Tentative publication date of special issue
Completed proposals or questions about either proposal topics or this special issue should be sent to Guiseppe Getto at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Albers, M. & Mazur, M., eds. (2003). Content and complexity: Information design in technical Communication. New York, NY: Routledge.
Albers, M. (2012). Human-information interaction and technical communication: Concepts and frameworks. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Bailie, R., ed. (2019). Technical Communication, 66(2), 121-199.
Bridgeford, T, ed. (2020). Teaching content management in technical and professional communication. Routledge.
Pullman, G. & Gu, B., eds. (2008). Technical Communication Quarterly, 17(1), 1–148.
Getto, G. & Labriola, J. (2016). iFixit myself: User-generated content strategy in “the free repair guide for everything.” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 59(1), 37–55.
Walwelma, J., Sarat-St. Peter, H., & Chong, F., eds. (2019). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 62(4), 315–407.
Batova, T. (2018). Negotiating multilingual quality in component content-management environments. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 61(1), 77–100.
Andersen, R. (2015). The emergence of content strategy work and recommended resources. Communication Design Quarterly, 2(4), 6–13.
Andersen, R. & Batova, T. (2015). The current state of component content Management: An integrative literature review. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 58(3), 247–270.
Batova, T. & Andersen, R. (Eds.). (2015). Transactions on Professional Communication, 58(3), 241–347.
Batova, T. & Andersen, R. (Eds.). (2016). Transactions on Professional Communication, 59(1), 1–67.
Getto, G., Labriola, J., & Ruszkiewicz, S., Eds. (2019). Content strategy in technical communication. Routledge.
Halvorson, K., & Rach, M. (2012). Content strategy for the web. 2nd ed. New Riders.
Rockley, A., Cooper, C., & Abel, S. (2015). Intelligent content: A primer. XML Press.
Rockley, A. & Cooper, C. (2012). Managing enterprise content: A unified content strategy. 2nd ed. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.
Wachter-Boettcher, S. (2012). Content everywhere: Strategy and structure for future-ready content. Brooklyn, NY: Rosenfeld Media.