Can Content be Engineered; Can Writers be Certified?

tl;dr: We can apply engineering methods to content development, but we do not have the body of proven algorithms or known-good data to justify formal certification of communication professionals the way we have for doctors and engineers.

We talk about content engineering. I call myself a content engineer sometimes. But can content really be engineered? Is content engineering engineering in the same way that engineering a bridge is engineering, or only engineering by analogy?

This post is prompted by a fascinating conversation with Rob Hanna and others at the monthly STC Toronto Networking Lunch. The conversation morphed into something I think I can fairly characterize as: is there a uniform methodology to technical communication, one that can form the basis of a curriculum, a certification, or a toolset, or is there a legitimate diversity of approaches, roles, methods, and tools. read more

Optimize Your Content for Social Curation

We worry a lot about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I suspect we don’t worry enough about Social Curation Optimization (hereby dubbed SCO). Social curation plays a large role in how people find content on the Web. Google’s Eric Schmidt was recently quoted as saying:

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter also allow users to leverage their social networks to find answers to their questions. Google is therefore competing with all methods available to access information on the Internet, not just other general search engines.

To focus on SEO and neglect SCO would be to neglect a huge source of traffic.