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A Great Example of a Non-Agency Content Strategy

This months Web Smart Newsletter is all about developing an effective content strategy, particularly slanted toward creative agencies

I was recently pointed to the website for Cadence Design Systems (see homepage image to the left), an electronic design company based in California, and was very impressed by both the design and content strategy. The first thing I noticed was that the homepage immediately and clearly positions Cadence as an expert in high-level synthesis technology by specifically pushing their C-to-Silicon Compiler product in the main slideshow. The other two slides concern an upcoming conference, affirming Cadences leadership in their field, and their 20th anniversary, affirming Cadences success over time.

The rest of the homepages real estate is almost entirely devoted to promoting the Community content of the website. There is a From the Community box beneath the slideshow which displays 9 categories of blog, forum and resource content. To the right, there is an elegant News widget, some quick links, and a graphic promoting an upcoming acquisition. All in all, this homepage shows that Cadence is an established, successful company, confident in its expertise, and more than willing to promote its employees by giving them the freedom to contribute what amounts to the majority of the websites content.

As I mentioned above, the Cadence community is very well developed. First, Community is placed within the main navigation, with a robust menu of community discipline categories as well as format categories. On its landing page (see image above), there is a featured post area at the top, as well as a promotion for their upcoming conference and quick links to the blogs, forums and resources landing pages. Beneath is an aggregate list of recent blog posts, forum posts, and an updated indicator of which forum members are currently logged in. In total, there are 9 communities by discipline, 32 bloggers contributing to the various disciplines, and 15 different forums.In the sidebar are polls and recent news.

The blogs (see landing page image above) are organized by the 9 disciplines, with the 32 employees contributing posts among them. The landing page shows a list of the most recent posts, along with an avatar for the author, a brief abstract, and the tags used by the author. There is also a most popular tags cloud in the sidebar which will give the user a quick indication of the kinds of topics theyll find in the blog.

Cadence has done a really fantastic job with their Resources landing page. There is a simple search filter to the left, which allows users to search by design area (2 main categories and 11 sub-categories), product (3 main categories, over 50 sub-categories), type (25 categories- not just your average white paper) or keyword. On the right is an aggregate list of latest publications, which includes a recommendation system allowing users to give a thumbs up to resources they found helpful. The icon shows the number of recommendations given to each resource.

Lastly, I really appreciated this sidebar which appears on most product, solutions or services sub-pages. In addition to having expected content (i.e. links to news, cross promotions, etc.), there is also a widget showing related blog posts, presumably by discipline area and/or tags. Well done!

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