Guiseppe Getto, Mercer University, email@example.com
Suzan Flanagan, Utah Valley University
The role of content strategist is growing within TPC and intersects strongly with more established roles such as technical writer and technical editor. At the same time, it boasts skills and workflows all its own, including search engine optimization (SEO), content management, content modeling, and maintaining an editorial calendar. As with many emerging roles within TPC, it is now up to TPC researchers, educators, and practitioners to consider how we fit content strategy into our existing curricula and/or develop new curricula. That is the purpose of this special issue: to zero in on specific pedagogical approaches to the teaching of content strategy.
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, or someone who primarily manages content across channels rather than developing technical documentation (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; Getto, Labriola, & Ruszkiewicz, 2023). At the same time, we are seeing remarkable growth in jobs devoted to these content-centric skills, with many TPC professionals transitioning directly into roles as content strategists (Flanagan, Getto, & Ruszkiewicz, 2022).
The workflows and skills associated with content strategy are well-documented at this point by TPC researchers including the above and also many others (Albers, 2012; Albers & Mazur, 2003; Andersen & Batova, 2015; Bailie, 2019; Batova, 2018; Batova & Andersen, 2015, 2016; Getto & Labriola, 2016; Pullman & Gu, 2008; Walwema, Sarat-St. Peter, & Chong, 2019). The field even has its first edited collection devoted to content management, an important subset of content strategy (Bridgeford, 2020). There are still a wide variety of workflows and skill sets within content strategy that we don’t have pedagogies for, however, including
- Accessibility of content and collaboration with differently abled users
- AI assistance with content development
- Audience analysis
- Content design or the creation of systems and technologies that allow for large-scale content publishing that meets the design requirements of specific genres
- Content modeling or the creation of repeatable frameworks for content publishing and delivery
- Content strategy planning
- Localization and development of content for English as a Second Language (ESL) and multilingual users
- Maintaining an editorial calendar
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Structured authoring
- The use of tools specific to content strategy (e.g., Component-Based Content Management Systems, SEO crawlers, structured authoring architectures such as DITA, etc.)
- UX writing or the strategic development of usable content within user interfaces of software and other applications
If our students and trainees are to remain competitive for jobs in content strategy, then we need to develop sound pedagogical and training approaches to these skill sets and workflows.
We invite article proposals from U.S. and international scholars and practitioners in academic and workplace contexts. We are particularly seeking tutorials, or original research, from practitioners working in industry who have experience training their teams in one or more of the above skill sets and who have validated their training through evaluations, outcomes, or formal data analysis.
POSSIBLE TOPICS FOR THIS SPECIAL ISSUE
The guest editors invite proposals for original research papers, original contributions to technical communication theory, case studies, and tutorials that address issues such as the following:
- Approaches to teaching or training in specific skills that are not historically a part of TPC, such as SEO, analytics, content modeling, or maintaining an editorial calendar
- Approaches to teaching or training in skills that are shared by many roles within TPC but that are also important for content strategy, such as audience analysis, localization, and structured authoring
- Approaches to teaching or training in entire assignments, modules, courses, or even course sequences in content strategy
- Approaches to (and ethics of) teaching and training in emerging technologies such as chatbots and AI-generated text
- Service-learning approaches to teaching and training in content strategy
- Community-based and social-justice-oriented approaches to teaching and training in content strategy
- Experiences practitioners have had training professionals in one or more areas of content strategy within professional organizations and associations
Proposals should be no more than 400 words in length and sent as an email attachment in .docx format. All proposals should include the submitter’s 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 paper, original contribution to technical communication theory, case study, or tutorial
- Connection to CFP: how does the proposal align with the overall aims of this special issue?
- Specific topic as it relates to the teaching of 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 (e.g., teach structured authoring) after reading the proposed article?
The schedule for the special issue is as follows:
August 15, 2023– 400-word proposals due
September 1, 2023 – Guest editors return proposal decisions to submitters
January 15, 2024 – Draft manuscripts of accepted proposals due
May 1, 2024 – Final manuscripts due
August 1, 2024 – Publication date of special issue
Completed proposals or questions about either proposal topics or this special issue should be sent to the special issue editors Guiseppe Getto and Suzan Flanagan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Albers, M. (2012). Human-information interaction and technical communication: Concepts and frameworks. IGI Global.
Albers, M., & Mazur, M., (Eds.). (2003). Content and complexity: Information design in technical Communication. Routledge.
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.
Bailie, R., (Ed.). (2019). Technical Communication, 66(2), 121–199.
Batova, T. (2018). Negotiating multilingual quality in component content-management environments. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 61(1), 77–100.
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.
Bridgeford, T., ed. (2020). Teaching content management in technical and professional communication. Routledge.
Flanagan, S., Getto, G., & Ruszkiewicz, S. (2022.) What content strategists do and earn: Findings from an exploratory survey of content strategy professionals. In Proceedings of the 40th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication (SIGDOC ’22), pp. 15–23.
Getto, G., Labriola, J., & Ruszkiewicz, S. (Eds.). (2019). Content strategy in technical communication. Routledge.
Getto, G., Labriola, J., & Ruszkiewicz, S., (Eds.). (2023). Content strategy: A how-to guide. Routledge.
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.
Pullman, G., & Gu, B., (Eds.). (2008). Technical Communication Quarterly, 17(1), 1–148.Walwelma, J., Sarat-St. Peter, H., & Chong, F. (Eds.). (2019). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 62(4), 315–407.