10 European content strategists to watch

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The task of identifying 10 European individuals that make a difference when it comes to content strategy has not been easy. The emerging field is dominated by US-based consultants and at least in Europe, many don’t use the term to describe what they do.

I was first introduced to the concept of content strategy, when Kristina Halvorson, author of Content Strategy for the Web, spoke at the J. Boye 2009 conference in Denmark. She introduced and defended this still up-and-coming practice as a valuable, necessary addition to web strategy and user experience design.

Since then, content strategy has come up as a term mostly on my travels to the US. A recent blog asked when content strategy will break out of the US and in an interview with Gerry McGovern from last month he said he wasn’t quite sure what content strategy really meant.

This is a list of 10 interesting European individuals who make a difference in the emerging industry and who share their thoughts with the world either on their blog, Twitter or elsewhere. It includes some well-known as well some new names. For each I have picked a selected quote or something they’ve recently shared to give you a taste of their style.

  1. @faundex_alex: Alex Faundez is working as web project manager at UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) in Geneva, Switzerland. Outside his day job, Alex also organizes local Geneva Content Strategy Meetups.

    Instead of starting the social media discussion on the tools, focus on the comm needs of your client or company first

  2. @boudewijnbugter: Boudewijn Bugter is commercial director and co-owner at Sabel, a Dutch-based communications agency. Previously he worked as content manager for the Dutch Road Traffic Safety Association (Veilig Verkeer Nederland) and as web manager for ProRail, the government organisation that manages and maintains the railway network infrastructure in the Netherlands.

    Make your intranet as task oriented as possible to get more satisfied users

  3. @BrianBentzen: Brian Bentzen is online communications manager at Servicestyrelsen (The National Board of Social Services) in Odense, Denmark. A regular speaker in Denmark and previous Lecturer of Communication Studies, he has also worked at a local digital agency

    Most important thing on the web? Content – nothing but good important content that matters to the reader. It is actually quite simple.

  4. CJ Walker is CEO of Firehead, a Swedish-based recruitment firm, which  specialises in placing both contract and salaried English-speaking communications professionals throughout Europe. Firehead runs a popular blog which features columns by guest writers and must-read content strategy links.

    Flowchart: Who can sort your content strategy?

  5. @destraynor: Des Traynor is lead UX designer at Contrast, a Dublin software firm. He’s also a lecturer in Computer Science at the National University of Ireland. He writes about content in the broader context of business development.

    No one joins an empty network just for the hell of it

  6. @elreiss: Eric Reiss has been actively involved in the creation of menu-based programs, hypertext games, service programs, multimedia, and web projects for over 30 years. Today he lives in Copenhagen and is the CEO of the FatDUX group, a full-service interactive agency. He is also a professor at the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain where he teaches usability and design.

    Usability is often quantitative. But design is qualitative. Is this why usability experts so often make poor design recommendations?

  7. @gerrymcgovern: Gerry McGovern has been around the Web longer than most. Gerry has spoken, written and consulted extensively on web content management issues since 1994. Gerry has written four books including Killer Web Content in 2006.

    Web content is not a cost to be minimized but an asset to be maximized. Tech. doc. is the new sales

  8. @lucidplot: Jonathan Kahn is principal and founder at Together London, the London-based agency behind Content Strategy Forum 2011.

    It’s time to regain control of our content management systems by harnessing the power of content strategy

  9. @lisejanody: Lise Janody, president and chief content strategist at Dot-Connection, a small, bilingual consultancy based in Paris. Lise was previously with Alcatel-Lucent in various roles, including as Digital Content Management and Online Maketing Director, Enterprise Solutions and Intranet Content Manager

    Hard for geeky engineers to explain what they do in simple terms. Video great for this., plus can be used at events

  10. Nikki Tiedtke, senior content strategist at eBay Europe in Berlin, who recently presented at the Content Strategy Applied conference where she told the story of how she turned business seller communications around from being reactive and driven by corporate needs to user-focused, consistent in tone and written in plain language. You can view her slides on Slideshare

    A content strategy framework enables us to continuously improve, react fast and structured within virtual, international teams

Who did I miss? If you think we have left out any unmissable European content strategy expert(s), please feel free to leave a comment!

Learn more

Web content and online corporate communications was the theme of our very first group launched back in 2005 and we’ve since expanded with several groups around Europe and North America.

You can also attend our online corporate communications conference track in Philadelphia, US on May 5. The conference also features a talk on the value of content strategy by Marko Hurst.

Janus Boye

8 thoughts on “10 European content strategists to watch”

  1. Thanks for adding me to that list, I feel really proud to be included in this top ten together with great CS advocates and web professionals!

    Btw, my family name is Faundez, not Foundez (people always get it wrong, that’s ok) :-)

  2. Janus,

    I came home from holiday to find a nice surprise. I’m very honoured to be included on your list of European content strategists to watch. There are some pretty esteemed professionals on your list!

    We’re working hard at Firehead to build community around content strategy and get the field the recognition it deserves. Your blog is a great resource for the community and we admire your work. Thank you for including Firehead in that.

    CJ

  3. I would add Olivier Binisti (www.twitter.com/obii1).
    Not the most famous, but he is the head of Content at Nurun France, and I met him when he was working for TF1 (TV).

    During our talks, he insisted on 3 main subjects:
    - brand content as a new way to develop brands’ communication strategies (http://www.slideshare.net/obinisti/le-brand-content-prsentation-et-illustrations-par-olivier-binisti / in french)
    - content as the way to enhance brand visibility (and this is beyond SEO)
    - we must think beyond the web: content strategy is only a part of an audience strategy, that drives people to websites, interactive TV, mobile apps & content, etc.

    Problem: he mainly works for the french market, and with french brands…

  4. Fully agree about Olivier Binisti, in France he is probably the most active person online and has clearly understood multi channel content strategy, and more generally content marketing. He is very also very involved in brand content strategy discussions online. (I am as well French and based in France so I support the few French involved with Content Strategy!!) Not sure it is a “problem” that he works for French brand by the way. He is based in Paris and works for large international French brands, that sell their products and services around the world. I also believe there are many good content strategist that does not call themselves as it because it is a new term and in Europe many people just have no clue about that “title”.
    We at EnVeritasgroup.com have been Creating, designing, managing, distributing, localizing, curating Multilingual content for fortune 500 companies for 10 years now, before it was even called content strategy… And only for 12 to 18 month we have been called content strategist. It is a good thing however to label this type of work and by doing this help to structure the role and company services offers.
    Regarding the List there I know as well Nikki (great great presentation at CSS2011) and CJ (Hey!!) that I met at CSS2011 in Ebays offices and I can only agree with what you say above!
    Thanks for this great post Janus;
    Eric

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