Content strategy: Part 2 — Vision

Yesterday I gave an overview of the background research and initial thinking that went into planning the Mosaic Project. The next step was to write a content strategy.

A content strategy is a plan of action. It’s a set of actionable, achievable recommendations, informed by the project’s goals explaining what you are going to create and why, how it will be structured and found, where it comes from, and who’s going to make it (it also deals with delivery, production and governance, but I’ll save you those details for now).

It begins with a clear, succinct description of what the project is trying to do and the values you want it to embody. In other words, a vision.

Our vision

We explore and explain biomedical science and the medical humanities through compelling stories and an open editorial approach (more on this in the coming months).

Objectives

  • To explain concepts and discoveries in science, medicine and the medical humanities.
  • To provide context and give our stories breadth, depth and relevance to our users.
  • To produce informative, engaging and entertaining stories that people want to read.
  • To open up the editorial process.
  • To involve our users and draw on their experience, expertise and enthusiasm.
  • To stimulate and participate in discussion.
  • To use the reputation of the Wellcome Trust to speak with authority and enhance its reputation as a trusted source of information.
  • To feature the best writing, design and production, and to nurture emerging talents.
  • To share our content as freely and widely as possible.

Our governing principles

  • Involve our audience.
  • Be reflective in our content and practice.
  • Be interesting, useful, entertaining and pleasurable.
  • Explain and add context.
  • Don’t underestimate users’ intelligence or overestimate knowledge.
  • Set high standards.
  • Embrace, don’t replace. Do not simply replicate content that already adequately exist -- add something original.
  • Use the most fitting medium for each story.
  • Let the content be the star.
  • Share, link and participate.
  • Strive for clarity, don’t overcomplicate.
  • Be ambitious.

Our governing principles

We are:

  • Open, transparent and collaborative.
  • Informed by our audience but still explicitly edited.
  • Keepers of high editorial standards.
  • Curiosity-led: we ask interesting questions and take the time to explore the answers.
  • Content-led and device-agnostic.
  • International in outlook: we will cover science worldwide, and although our audience focus may be UK at first, we will strive to expand our reach.
  • Producers of content and design that is simple to use and understand.

We are not:

  • PR for Wellcome Trust activities.
  • A news publication/service (although we may be topical).
  • Investigative journalists (i.e. uncovering ‘hidden’ information).
  • A specialist publication for scientific professionals (i.e. a journal).
  • Commercially led.
  • A print magazine put online.
  • Style over substance.

What is Mosaic?

Mosaic is an online publication (primarily a website) about biomedical science and the medical humanities.

Its major selling points are the depth of its stories, its status as a trusted source of information, its open, participatory ethos, and the fact that it is freely available worldwide.

Its primary focus will be on its in-depth, non-fiction standalone stories. In this way, it is not a ‘magazine’ in the traditional sense (i.e. a printed bundle of mixed content sections — news, features, reviews, listings — packaged as a numbered issue and published periodically).

It will aim to open up the storytelling process and involve our audience.

Its most visible form will be a website, but the aim is for each story to be sought out individually (for instance, through search engines and social media) and distributed separately, away from the main publication (perhaps through other distributors such as Kindle Singles or iBooks). Over time the website will become a rich archive of stories and information.

Mosaic will:

  • Tell compelling, well-researched stories that explain the significance and context of biomedical research, and that explore the scientific and social challenges it might raise.
  • Introduce our audience to complex areas of research and inspire enthusiasm and wonder about science.
  • Be open, involving our audience in the editorial process and publishing under a Creative Commons attribution-only license. We will encourage re-use, remixing and syndication.
  • Showcase writing, infographics, film and other content of high quality and accuracy.
  • Draw on the Wellcome Trust’s strong and highly trusted reputation and brand to establish us as a respected provider of explanatory and exploratory content about the biomedical sciences and the medical humanities for public audiences.
  • Be of the Wellcome Trust, but not exclusively about the Wellcome Trust.

We want to produce an exciting digital publication. We want people with an interest in science to want to read it. We want the best science writers to want to write for it. And we want other publishers, newspapers, magazines and websites to take our content and, under our Creative Commons license, publish it for themselves.

Who is it for?

Mosaic is aimed primarily at members of the public who are curious about science, but who do not necessarily have specialist expertise. These people might include students (university and A-level), science graduates now working in other professions, listeners to Radio 4 science programmes, readers of popular science magazines and scientists reading outside their own research fields.

We conducted surveys and focus groups as part of our early user research. Though just a sample, it confirmed that an audience exists and that there is an appetite for the type of long-form content we would provide. The research also revealed an affinity for information from charities like the Wellcome Trust as a trusted source.

And though that's our primary audience, of course, Mosaic is meant to be accessible to everyone — anyone who might stumble across Mosaic should find it readable, understandable and interesting.

Tomorrow: Our content model.

Mun-Keat Looi

Mun-Keat is one of Mosaic’s Commissioning Editors and a Senior Editor at the Wellcome Trust.