The Five Elements of (Hip-Hop) Content Strategy

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Content Strategy New England is very excited to welcome Ian Alexander (, content strategist and Vice President of Content at Eat Media (

Hip-hop and content strategy are very similar. They both include multiple elements but are often confused as a singular item. Hip-hop is most often thought of as a music form but it actually encompasses five elements.


Content Strategy is often attributed as a new term for copywriting but practiced correctly it too has multiple elements.

Editorial expertise
Technical expertise
IA expertise
Design expertise
Project management/Change Management expertise

If you align the elements of these practices you begin to see tangible, taxonomic and philosophical similarities.

MC’ing = Editorial expertise
DJ’ing = Technical expertise
Breaking = IA expertise
Graffiti = Design expertise
Knowledge = Project management/Change Management expertise

Through the historical alignment of Hip-hop and Content Strategy Ian Alexander will show how the elements of Content Strategy encompass, and are built upon, the other more established elements (and review why this is a good thing). Content affects design, IA affects content and CMS choices require Change Management. While most content strategists may know this on the surface the practical application of when to wear what hat (and why) is not always clear.

Attendees will be invited to debunk this mystical thing that is “content strategy” by reducing it to individual tactics, most of which have clear explanations and historical relevance across many types of projects. Additionally we will discuss the need for content strategists to cross party lines in order to make allegiances with the more established practices and learn how to most effectively communicate with them.

The Beginning:
In 1978 Hip-Hop was born
In 1980 the WWW was born

The Journey:
The print to web transition
The techniques /elements/ practices we trashed and kept and why

The Now:
In 2010 Hip-Hop still struggles to embrace all the elements
In 2010 Content Strategy is being born

Attendees will walk away with:

A greater understanding of the importance of cross practice knowledge.
The realization that 50% of what is said in the name of Content Strategy is rehashed Web Strategy another 20% is marketing and a good 5-10% is just bullshit. While that may seem negative it is actually the process of definition and in that there is lots of opportunity to redefine and formalize the practice of Content Strategy.
Key strategies on how to view a project from each element’s vantage point.

About the Presenter
Ian Alexander ( is the Vice President of Content at Eat Media ( a full service content agency. He has held fancy titles like Director of Technology Projects and Director of Operations before moving back to his real love of writing. Ian was creating, managing and strategizing content for publishers, retailers, startups, Fortune 500 companies and Pharma long before he knew what "content strategy" was. He is a fervent believer in the alignment of practices and a well-recognized blogger ( He participated in the Content Strategy Consortium at IA Summit 2009 and recently spoke at SXSW about Content Strategy. When Ian's not working, you can find him pointing out the elephant in any room, preaching the gospel of Slint or going to the hole Tiny Archibald style. He, like every other Content Strategist, is working on his second novel.