Content Strategy uses credible, trustworthy, transparent media to communicate stories and information to enhance an organization’s strategic goals. In this sequence of courses, you will learn best practices from recognized industry and academic experts on how to create and implement engaging content across media platforms that the people you want to reach will really value. The Specialization concludes with a Capstone project that allows you to apply the skills you’ve learned throughout the courses in response to a real challenge facing organizations today.
To fit easily into busy schedules, the sequence is constructed as four, three-week courses to better fit into any lifestyle. It is a program for you as a professional to master and then be able to use what you learn here and take it back to work. It’s knowledge that will improve both your effectiveness, and your organization’s.
Each of the individual courses can be audited for free. Click on the following links to navigate to each course in this Specialization: 1-Engaging Audiences, 2-Managing Content, 3-Expanding Your Content’s Reach, 4-Ensuring Your Content’s Impact.
Persona (User Experience)
Content Strategy for Professionals: Engaging Audiences
In this course, professionals at all levels of an organization will learn the best ways to engage an audience they want and need by smartly implementing their important, strategic stories and information and by using proven tools and techniques to enhance an audience’s experiences and interest. Content Strategy is a conversation that provides thought-leadership. It starts a “conversation” with users and stakeholders inside and outside an organization. Conversations are the natural way people think about complex issues. Conversations also enable people to develop “stories,” which lead to understanding and helpful mental pictures. Content Strategy practitioners are at all levels of the best enterprises – in all departments and sectors from the top leader to the newcomer in the ranks. In this complex information age, forward-thinking employees know that if they and their organizations are to thrive, they need to go beyond their job descriptions. They must master the most demanding communications frontier – creating engaging, strategic, honest stories and information that is valued by their most important audiences. In turn that will make their enterprise stand out. Regardless of their area of work, position or expertise, Content Strategy practitioners know how to use words, pictures, video, and social and mobile media to interact with their most important constituents with trustable, actionable information that the audience values and will use. The strategic content they produce enhances the user’s lives and deepens their understanding and engagement with the organization. Guest lecturers in this course include: -- Rachel Davis Mersey, Associate Professor, Medill, Northwestern -- Ed Malthouse, Theodore R. and Annie Laurie Sills Professor of Integrated Marketing Communications, Medill, Northwestern -- Bobby Calder, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing & Director of the Center for Cultural Marketing, Kellogg, Northwestern -- Steven Duke, Associate Professor, Medill, Northwestern -- Janice Castro, Assistant Professor Emerita, Medill, Nothwestern
Content Strategy for Professionals: Managing Content
In the second course of the Content Strategy Specialization - "Managing Content" - you will dive deeper into Content Strategy by learning some great options for managing your important content once it's been created. You will look at media platforms and how best to tell an organization’s “content story” across those platforms using a human-centered design. Then, you'll take a close look at ways to best utilize social and mobile media, as well as some of the issues around insourcing/outsourcing content. Finally, you'll get an inside look at how legal issues associated with Content Strategy are handled in companies large and small around the globe. This course serves professionals who want to learn to manage their trustable, engaging and often interactive content to advance their enterprise’s future and their own career in it. As a bonus, we've also included a toolkit to download and take back to work. Can’t remember the 3 truths that frame all communications in the digital age? Need to convince a co-worker that a human centered design approach is best for your project? Want to review how you create an engaging brand for your content? You will find answers to those questions and more in the toolkit. Guest lecturers in this course include: -- Emily Withrow, Assistant Professor, Medill, Northwestern -- Jeremy Gilbert, Director of Strategic Initiatives, The Washington Post -- Randy Hlavac, Lecturer, Medill, Northwestern (and lead professor of the Social Media Marketing Specialization also on Coursera)
Content Strategy for Professionals: Expanding Your Content’s Reach
In this, the third Content Strategy course, participants will learn actionable ways to grow internal and external audiences. They will deepen their understanding about those target individuals and will use a host of known and emerging tools and social networks to meaningfully reach them. As its name makes clear, this course will expand your content's impact and reach. You will begin by learning how to utilize content trends to jump-start your organization's influence. You'll also look at how to engage with multi-channel digital communities across all social media. Finally, you'll hear about some of the best ways to enhance your content with new interactivity tools and gamification. In this information age, every organization depends on its employees and those it serves to understand where it is going and what advances the organization has made. Content Strategy will enable you to tell your important stories with far greater impact and to a large, more valuable audience. Guest lecturers in this course include: -- Randy Hlavac, Lecturer, Medill, Northwestern (and lead professor of the Social Media Marketing Specialization also on Coursera) -- Emily Withrow, Assistant Professor, Medill, Northwestern
Content Strategy for Professionals: Ensuring Your Content's Impact
In the fourth course of the Content Strategy Specialization - Ensuring Your Content's Impact - you will look at visual communication and the ways you can be more effective with your font choices, photography, and video. You'll also dive deeper into social communities to help you understand how these communities form and what you can do to build your role within them. The last module is pivotal for Content Strategists. It will help you to understand how best to measure your content to maximize its effectiveness relative to the time you commit to it. While this MOOC does share the theoretical elements of Content Strategy, there is a much greater emphasis on its application. Creating trend-worthy headlines and blogs, social media plans, digital measurement templates, video and photography content are all skills you will have in your toolkit by the end of the MOOC, ready to apply at your organization. And speaking of toolkits, we have included one that you can download and take back to work which includes the practical tips from the learnings in this course as well as the previous one on Expanding Your Content's Reach. Guest lecturers in this course include: -- Zach Wise, Associate Professor, Medill Northwestern -- Rich Gordon, Professor & Director of Digital Innovation, Medill, Northwestern -- Randy Hlavac, Lecturer, Medill, Northwestern (and lead professor of the Social Media Marketing Specialization also on Coursera)
Content Strategy for Professionals: Capstone Project
The Capstone Project will let you demonstrate all that you have learned throughout the Content Strategy Specialization. It is an exciting learning experience that takes you through developing an effective Content Strategy package to meaningfully understand its scope and impact. The Capstone is centered on a fictional web startup, Wish I Was There, which aims to be the go-to travel guide for anywhere in the world using recommendations crowdsourced from local experts. While it is not a real company, the assignment you are asked to complete is similar to the work you would do in the real-world. By the time you’ve finished developing your response to this case, you will see how it directly relates to what confronts you in your own work. For the Capstone assignment, assume you have been selected to develop a Content Strategy for the section of Wish I Was There’s website for the region, people and culture where you live and work. You will need to create a visual mock-up of a webpage that appeals to the audiences you want to reach as well as a comprehensive plan to engage with them.
It is for professionals at all levels of an organization who want to significantly improve their abilities to understand audiences and develop strategic words, pictures, graphics, and videos to convey their organization’s most important goals.