Content Systems Academy


Building a Content System: Stairway to STEM

This blog series follows the development of a content system. Each week, a new installment will show the application of the Content System framework.

What You'll Find Here

Part 1: What You’ll Find Here

Execution. It’s an essential component of all content systems —and the focus of this series of blogs. I spent the last eighteen months leading a dedicated media team through an incredible experience. We’ve built a rich, dynamic website that serves a significant need for a passionate and underserved community, autistic students transitioning from high school […]

Our Process Needed to Evolve

Part 2: Our Process Needed to Evolve

Outside of Stairway to STEM, Pellet Media has its own projects and clients, and we often work with educational partners such as PBS. For more than a decade, we had a method we followed because it brought us a lot of success. In a nutshell, our old model was “Study – Produce – Distribute – […]

Developing Our Proposal

Part 3: Developing Our Project Proposal: Identifying Our Audience and Diving into R & D

Before we get to the challenges, I’ll share our project proposal design timeline to give you context so you can see how our original idea evolved into the current content system. Prior to getting the green light for the Stairway to STEM (STS) project, we identified an audience of educators who needed online training that […]

Project Products Missteps

Part 4: Project Proposal Surprises and Missteps

We began the path to proposal development with the goal of creating an online instructional series of evidence-based practices for educators working with autistic high school students transitioning to college. Our first step was to recruit participants for inclusion in our proposal. We started talking to educators, lots of them. We talked with them in […]

Meeting Mentor

Part 5: Meeting with a Mentor

We were aiming for an October proposal submission deadline, and if we couldn’t pull this together in time, we would have to wait until the following October. I was convinced that if we were to miss the deadline, I’d find myself in the same place a year later. But as the deadline approached, despite the […]

Funded What Next

Part 6: Funded. What Next?

We got the greenlight on our project, Increasing Career Placement for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Identification and Dissemination of Best Practices. (Yes, that was a mouthful!) We understood our audience’s problem: high school and college faculty need to learn how to accommodate students who are autistic. We had our solution: create educational media […]

Football waiting to be kicked

Part 7: Foundational Elements

Twenty-two days after receiving funding from the National Science Foundation, we held a pre-kick-off meeting with internal staff to ensure we were all in agreement with what our autism project was designed to do and how we were going to execute it. Why did we need a pre-kick-off meeting? During the proposal development process, we […]

Part 8: The Critical Importance of a Niche Audience – Part 1

Here’s my take on a sustainable content system that will achieve measurable outcomes or profitable results: identify a niche audience which has an unmet need, consistently produce and publish content to address that need, and maintain high-quality engagement with that niche audience. That’s it. No over-thinking necessary. Identify a small group of people with similar […]

Part 9: The Critical Importance of a Niche Audience – Part 2

So, what is a niche audience? In This is Marketing, Seth Godin suggests identifying the smallest viable market. He says that we should obsessively focus on a specific, tiny group of people who share a similar worldview. Most content creators and marketers use the term niche audience, which is basically a subset of a larger […]

Part 10: The Critical Importance of a Niche Audience – Part 3

Finding a Niche Within a Niche Can Help Your Content Thrive What if you and an established competitor provide content to the same audience? Let’s say you’re just starting out. You have a product or service about which you have content to share. Or maybe you’ve been publishing content for a while, but your audience […]

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