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Meaning and Measure http://www.meaningandmeasure.com Misty Weaver: Content Strategy for meaningful experiences with measurable results Sat, 06 May 2017 17:28:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.12 An Abridged List of Content Strategy Resources for UX http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/an-abridged-list-of-content-strategy-resources-for-ux/ http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/an-abridged-list-of-content-strategy-resources-for-ux/#respond Thu, 30 Mar 2017 14:55:04 +0000 http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/?p=366 How do you fold content strategy into your process whether its UX for a product or website or establishing an editorial routine for a marketing team? Some organizations and agencies have content strategists to help guide the process. But many people from business owners to interaction designers find they are in charge of content, without [...]]]> How do you fold content strategy into your process whether its UX for a product or website or establishing an editorial routine for a marketing team? Some organizations and agencies have content strategists to help guide the process. But many people from business owners to interaction designers find they are in charge of content, without explicit roles or instructions for managing it. This article briefly introduces content audits, workflow, the inverted pyramid, and interface copywriting and a set of tools we can use to help make content better aligned and executed.

Since Content Strategy is a huge field with many specializations and all kinds of practitioners, knowing where to start can be difficult. For my students and new employees, I like to point out a few areas which they may not have encountered in school or online that can help make their work more content-aware. This isn’t meant to replace a full content strategy, but even a little bit of content nerdery can make for a better overall user experience.

Being content-aware means you know how to ensure that content is a complement to function and design. That it drives search, supports relevancy, and leads people towards taking action. When you start out knowing how important content will be to your product or campaign, you can make sure that you and your team are better prepared to create, maintain, measure, and improve it over time.

To dive into content strategy and start doing it right away, I recommend Content Strategy for the Web by Halvorson and Rach and the Content Strategy Toolkit by Meghan Casey. For just a taste of the awesome things content tools can bring to a project, read on.

Content Audits

Lichtenstein_ContentAudits

This is my favorite topic and activity in content strategy. Why? If you’ve done one, you know they can be tedious, exhausting and often, not very well received by people who do not like hearing there is that much wrong with their beautiful website. But audits are gaining popularity. More and more articles recommend them and offer quick tips to getting started and getting it done. Why is that? Because they are so freaking useful.

Content audits help you know what you have and what you don’t. And if what you have is any good.

In-house or in agency, knowing the scope and variety of content on your website (or video library, social media channels, intranet, etc.) helps you know how much work needs to be done. It helps you understand what content you have, where it is, whether or not it meets standards for accessibility, SEO, writing for the web, and is useful to your audiences.

The amount of ways and things you can audit is enormous so always start with a plan. A content inventory can tell you how much you are working with. Analytics can tell you what’s performing and what isn’t. But a valuable content audit will mean you look at each of the pages or pieces of content and evaluate their quality. Does this page deserve to exist? A systematic approach of looking at a well-scoped group of content and applying a set of heuristics to each one equally can give you valuable data that’s always available. Inventories and audits give you a list, analysis, and eventually a set of recommendations about what’s really going on and what to do about it.

Some of my favorite audit heuristics.

  • Does it support a business goal?
  • Is it in user-centered or audience-friendly language?
  • Does it answer their questions?
  • Provide valuable and useful information?
  • Does it offer a compelling call to action and functional next step?
  • Is it accurate, up-to-date, and in the same design template or voice and tone as the rest of your communications?

The tools

I use the CAT, Content Analysis Tool. Full disclosure, I worked there briefly because I wanted a tool exactly like it to exist. I’ve worked with many SEOs in the past years and lots of people have their own favorite tools. That’s mine but I use others to complement CAT with deeper SEO or accessibility feedback. Find your favorite tool. If you have questions about CAT, I’m always happy to help you explore.

For deciding what to audit and how, I review Content Audits and Inventories by Paula Land. It has the most examples and situations, so you can plan out the right audit for you and your project. I also use the creating valuable content checklist [pdf] by Ahava Leibtag, especially, when I can only take a best practices assessment approach to a content audit.

Workflow

Content is people. People are political. When teaching, I constantly remind my students that content does not exist in a vacuum. Many of the problems we find in doing our research and conducting audits come from how content is created, maintained and promoted in an organization. A content-aware approach means understanding the resources an organization has to create and maintain its content from website to blog to social media to every other little communication it makes. We have to have empathy for our clients and their employees.

In my experience, even an organization with great talent and great content can have problems with workflow. C-suite members may not see the value that their content team brings. Content teams may not have a clear path of communication with other silos. Emails are handled over here by this group that doesn’t talk to the marketing team or the copywriters. There’s a million variations on how communication breaks down. What can you do?

Figure out the workflow. Interview the internal staff (and good luck, by the way, it’s not always easy to make happen but it is worth it.) Find out how they are making content happen now including maintenance and measurement. Work with them to help streamline processes from ideation to approval. Show the C-suite person who’s out of town 3 weeks of the month that her approval on each blog post may not be the most efficient process. Workflow can mean changing how people work so approach with caution, make everyone feel heard, show them the benefits they will all enjoy.

The tools

My workflow hero is Vanessa Casavant, who you can see at Confab this June. Her work is featured in Content Strategy at Work by Margot Bloomstein.  I’ve used her approach and style on many projects and it’s enormously helpful. Track each step in the process and hand-off for each kind of content. You’ll show the team how much work making high quality content really involves and find efficiencies. Sometimes, you’ll be documenting a process that works well, sometimes you’ll be creating a process that works much, much better.

Content Strategy, Inc (and Melissa Breker, another personal hero) has an excellent tool for defining roles and responsibilities around content. RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed) charts can help you track down content responsibilities in a fair and open process.

Interviewing stakeholders, and then a big wall and a lot of post it notes is my favorite tool for the beginning phase of discovering workflow.

Inverted Pyramid

I studied journalism. The inverted pyramid was drilled into my head early on. Edward Baldwin (in an article I can no longer find online) applies the inverted pyramid to content showing that the idea of the most important message comes first and ideally leads us to an appropriate and persuasive call to action in the end. Instead of starting with a lead, we begin with a hook. To me, that hook is relevancy. Someone should absolutely know the link they clicked took them to the information they want.

For each piece of content, especially anything long-form such as web pages, blog posts, articles, videos, it’s important to define the purpose of the piece and prioritize all information for the intended audience. Keep organizational politics and marketing speak out of your leads and hooks. Put what readers or viewers need first and entertain them along the way to their next step.

The tools

For understanding content purpose, I recommend the Core Model. Illustrated by Ida Aalen in an A List Apart article in 2015, the core model, though not new, is a great tool for collaborating with stakeholders and finding alignment. It helps build content value as well as information architecture inside and outside of your website. It respects reality and people’s lives. I’ve had clients do it alone and I’ve done it with teams, either way, it’s a cheap, fast way to make sure you have what you need before you start building.

For priority, I still love Page Description Diagrams. Though, I call them panel description diagrams or whatever unit of content I’m working with at the time. Nick Finck introduced me to them 10 years ago and I will hug him every time I see him for that introduction. Even if it’s with post it notes or a white board, description diagrams help us define each element and its order of importance from the user or audience’s perspective. This tool is another fast, cheap way to make sure you’ve got the content and elements prioritized before you make a prototype or build.

Interface Copywriting

fenton-interface

These days, I see the job title UX Writer or Interface Copywriter. To me, it shows that people are starting to understand a word person or content-nerd needs to be involved in the interface process. Interface copywriting, when you look closely, is about CARING. It helps you carry voice and tone throughout every interaction with a customer. It means avoiding mixed messages, bad grammar, or flat-out insults to your customers. I don’t always get to be involved with this end of the process but I audit and edit enough websites to know that interface copywriters are brilliant, wonderful people we should give high fives to daily.

Personally, I take the audit approach for critical web content, combing through every word, icon, and call to action buttons, ensuring that they are aligned with messaging, accurate, and persuasive. I do not love writing interface copy because I am a perfectionist – but I’m lucky enough to work with others who will get down to the syntax with me and help create messages that are clear, consistent, and show our empathy for audiences.

I create content libraries in Google docs or dropbox folders, so that my team members and I can treat reusuable content elements as designers treat elements in pattern libraries.

The tools

Nicole Fenton is my go-to. She has an excellent article on interface writing as well as the book, Nicely Said. Of course, the MailChimp style guide is the most commonly used example of how to ensure that voice and tone as well as message consistent across your communications.

That’s just 4 things

I know there are dozens more. But if you’re new to content strategy, these resources are quick to read, easy and understand, and very useful. If you are a crazy passionate content strategy nerd like me, then here’s some favorites I hope you enjoy discovering or revisiting. And if you find other tools that help with audits, workflow, priority or interface copywriting, please let me know – you can reach me at @ meaningmeasure on the Twitter.

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Quick Reading list from The Power of Process Talk at Fandango http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/reading-list-ux-content-strategy/ Wed, 01 Jul 2015 22:19:50 +0000 http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/?p=345 The Power of Process: How UX Team’s can cover Content Strategy. Big thanks to SoCal Content Strategy Meetup and Fandango for hosting my talk on the power of collaboration between content and UX teams. The conversations before and after the event inspired me to share my sources. I just [...]]]> The Power of Process: How UX Team’s can cover Content Strategy. Big thanks to SoCal Content Strategy Meetup and Fandango for hosting my talk on the power of collaboration between content and UX teams. The conversations before and after the event inspired me to share my sources. I just want people to be able to read more about content strategy. Right now.

Unicorns

While I usually spend some defining of content strategy, the purpose of the talk is to discuss some pieces that UX teams can incorporate into the design process when there isn’t a dedicated content strategist.

• What to make of content inventories, assessments, and audits
• How to build workflows for the people
• How to prepare for handoffs in real life
• Why the inverted pyramid is so critical to all content creation
• What you can do about interface copywriting

The real juicy part is the homework. Here are some of the wonderful things you can read to learn more about Content Strategy and UX working together.

Paula Land http://amzn.to/1JwNle8 and http://content-insight.com/
Karen McGrane http://karenmcgrane.com/2010/11/03/we-are-all-content-strategists-now/
Kristina Halvorson http://amzn.to/1LE0ODc
Meghan Casey http://www.amazon.com/The-Content-Strategy-Toolkit-Guidelines/dp/0134105109
Meghan Casey http://uxmag.com/articles/get-your-content-strategy-out-of-the-drawer-with-governance
Richard Ingram http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/06/03/content-strategy-optimizing-your-efforts-for-success/
Richard Kirk http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2269352/designing-a-content-strategy-to-destroy-your-seo-nemesis#
Donna Spencer http://uxmastery.com/how-to-conduct-a-content-audit/
Ahava Leibtag http://www.amazon.com/The-Digital-Crown-Winning-Content/dp/0124076742
Margot Bloomstein http://appropriateinc.com/book/
Edward Baldwin http://www.wearerecurve.com/blog/the-inverted-pyramid-a-content-framework/
Nicole Fenton http://nicolefenton.com/interface-writing/

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Scaling Content Audits: Confab Presentation http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/scaling-content-audits/ http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/scaling-content-audits/#respond Fri, 09 May 2014 17:30:13 +0000 http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/?p=337

Scaling the Content Audit: ConfabMN 2014 from Misty Weaver]]>

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Lean Startup Seattle Get Started with Content Marketing Exercise http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/lean-startup-seattle/ http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/lean-startup-seattle/#respond Mon, 02 Dec 2013 23:33:20 +0000 http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/?p=327

Lean Content and Lean Startup Seattle from Misty Melissa Weaver Kelsye Nelson and I led an exercise at the Lean Startup Seattle Meetup. In thinking about how to use content to reach audiences once you start [...]]]>

Kelsye Nelson and I led an exercise at the Lean Startup Seattle Meetup. In thinking about how to use content to reach audiences once you start your startup, you’re also probably thinking if you’ll have enough time and resources. With this exercise, Kelsye and I show that you can start building a rhythm for regular content creation that will help you establish good content practices.
  • Start engaging with topics and audiences on social media. Listen what people are saying on social media channels and blogs, you’ll learn a lot about people you’ll want to reach.
  • Start creating your own content that best fits your values. Serve up helpful and inspirational content for others.
  • Keep a schedule and use tools to make the process consistent.

This is a Lean Startup Content Template I developed with the team at Factorfirm to help everyone engage in the content creation process as well as facilitate posting on various channels.

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LavaCon Preview: Mad about content audits http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/lavacon-preview-mad-about-content-audits/ http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/lavacon-preview-mad-about-content-audits/#respond Mon, 21 Oct 2013 23:49:38 +0000 http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/?p=305 LavaCon 2013 is swinging along in Portland, OR. We’re talking Content Strategy, Content Management, ROI, Money, Power, Dragon-Slaying (maybe, that’s just @nozurbina).

On my agenda, 2 days, 2 talks about how the content audit process works in my class at the UW iSchool: Content Strategy in Information [...]]]> LavaCon 2013 is swinging along in Portland, OR. We’re talking Content Strategy, Content Management, ROI, Money, Power, Dragon-Slaying (maybe, that’s just @nozurbina).

On my agenda, 2 days, 2 talks about how the content audit process works in my class at the UW iSchool: Content Strategy in Information Architecture. Preview versions are embedded here so you can help me find all of the errors before I go on stage. There are a lot of great talks and people at LavaCon, it’s an honor to be among them.

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Indie Writers on Self Publishing : Writer.ly Seattle Event http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/indie-writers/ http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/indie-writers/#respond Fri, 02 Aug 2013 17:57:27 +0000 http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/?p=292 I’m not planning on self-publishing a book. Just yet. But I’m not one to close doors, so went to Writer.ly’s self-publishing panel Friday, August 2 in Seattle. It really was packed with bestselling indie authors, . With all proceeds benefiting Seattle Free Lances, it’s a good talk for a [...]]]> I’m not planning on self-publishing a book. Just yet. But I’m not one to close doors, so went to Writer.ly’s self-publishing panel Friday, August 2 in Seattle. It really was packed with bestselling indie authors, . With all proceeds benefiting Seattle Free Lances, it’s a good talk for a good cause. I saw something I never expected as well: a panel writers, long before the event, tweeting away with NO COFFEE. That’s dedication.

SelfPubSeattle.jpg

Meet the Day:
Kelsye Nelson, CEO, Writer.ly @kelsye
Abigail Carter, Co-founder Writer.ly @abigailcarter

Indie Authors:
Jasinda Wilder @JasindaWilder
Jack Wilder
Tina Folsom @Tina_Folsom
Jana DeLeon @JanaDeLeon
Liliana Hart @Liliana_Hart
Debra Holland @DrDebraHolland
Theresa Ragan @theresaragan
Jane Graves – @<janegraves
Denise Grover Swank @DeniseMSwank
Colleen Gleason @colleengleason
Dorien Kelly @dorienkelly

My Take-aways:

Jasinda and Jack Wilder’s story: They started self-publishing to save their house. And they did it. Falling into Success is an apt title for their story.

  • Create a pricing strategy by reviewing competition and their prices. Be well-researched and deliberate.
  • Maintaining the rights to your work is critical. From cover design to choosing new formats. Self-publishing allows you the flexibility to pivot and reach new markets and formats as they emerge.
  • Controlling the marketing is essential. People do judge books by the cover, so yours better rock. Build a relationship with a cover designer and create what’s right for the marketplace right now. You are the best advocate for your work, no publisher will market your work as well as you can.

WriterlyPub

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MaxImpact Google Hangout on Air Thursday, July 25 http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/maximpact-google-hangout-on-air-thursday-july-25/ http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/maximpact-google-hangout-on-air-thursday-july-25/#respond Wed, 24 Jul 2013 19:32:04 +0000 http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/?p=285 Max Minzer has invited me to join the conversation at MaxImpact on July 25 at 1pm Pacific.

Join Max and me, on G+. Add questions to the event page.

Some things we’ll cover:
– content strategy
– content life cycle
– content audits
Max Minzer has invited me to join the conversation at MaxImpact on July 25 at 1pm Pacific.

Join Max and me, on G+. Add questions to the event page.

Some things we’ll cover:
content strategy
content life cycle
content audits
when/how/why conduct one
and much much more

I feel some visuals are necessary here.

Content Strategy and the Content Lifecycle:

Content Strategy is really about people strategy. I research then analyze, ultimately creating content that fills gaps by serving both business and community needs. It takes listening, observation, meetings, planning and a lot of post-it notes.

planning

That content exists in a cycle from creation to archival. There’s a lot to consider between birth, death and re-birth of content.  Ahava Leibtag and Aha Media Group offer a useful diagram representing the content lifecycle in terms of strategy.

Content-Strategy

Collection and analysis often happens in the critical content inventory and audit process. At Content Insight, we make content audits less mind-numbing, more actionable. We actually have fun doing it.

AudtiCat

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Content Strategy Seattle: ModCloth as Good Experience http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/268/ http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/268/#respond Mon, 17 Jun 2013 17:56:30 +0000 http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/?p=268 I’m thrilled to present tonight about good content experiences at Makerhaus with Content Strategy Seattle. Big thanks to our sponsors TwoPens and IXDA Seattle. Thanks to ModCloth for providing an excellent example case.

[...]]]> I’m thrilled to present tonight about good content experiences at Makerhaus with Content Strategy Seattle. Big thanks to our sponsors TwoPens and IXDA Seattle. Thanks to ModCloth for providing an excellent example case.

Resources from the meetup

ECommerce Evaluation Questions

  • Do you understand your customer, market and opportunity? Is that clear in your copy and display?
  • What is the curation policy, workflow and experience?
  • Have you invested in faceted navigation and taxonomy?
  • Do you give people a reason to return everyday?
  • What is your product display flow from results to detail?
  • Consider each page without its sisters, is it still understandable and attractive outside of the nav flow?
  • Are professionals writing your copy and photographing your product with customers in mind?
  • What’s your commitment to community?

 

CATmodcloth

Try CAT for content inventory and audits.

Content Strategy Meetup June 17 Seattle

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Links for SMX Advanced Content Strategy Panel Misty Weaver http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/smx-content/ http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/smx-content/#comments Tue, 11 Jun 2013 22:39:11 +0000 http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/?p=256

Think You Know Good Content? Fuggedaboutit. Here’s What Really Counts (#smx #21C)
Content is king, and the search engines reward it. Great content goes viral, attracting links, likes, tweets and other online love. Simply put, great content is… well… how should we define “great” content? Shakespeare? Or silly shake videos? In this session [...]]]> I am speaking at SMX Advanced

Think You Know Good Content? Fuggedaboutit. Here’s What Really Counts (#smx #21C)
Content is king, and the search engines reward it. Great content goes viral, attracting links, likes, tweets and other online love. Simply put, great content is… well… how should we define “great” content? Shakespeare? Or silly shake videos? In this session our panelists skewer the myths of what some call “great” content and offer solid tips for creating content that’s fundamentally satisfying for both users and search engines.

Moderator: Vanessa Fox, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land (@vanessafox)

Q&A Coordinator: Matt Ruud, Director of SEO, Rocket Clicks (@mattruud)

Speakers:

Vanessa Casavant, Content Strategist, AdoptUSKids
Jonathon Colman, Principal Experienc Architect, REI (@jcolman)
Misty Weaver, Community Manager, Content Insight LLC (@meaningmeasure)

Inventory and Audit template by Misty Weaver
includes basic inventory, to enhanced quantitative inventory to specialized task/story audit

SMX21C_BasicContentInventory

Templates you can download

  1. Doing a Content Inventory
 (Or, A Mind-Numbingly Detailed Odyssey Through Your Web Site)
    by Jeffrey Veen (slightly adapted by Gisle Hannemyr )
June 18, 2002
    http://heim.ifi.uio.no/~inf5270/cache/contentinventory_jv.html
  2. A Template for Content Inventory and Audit
    by Paula Land
    http://www.content-insight.com/resources/46-a-template-for-content-inventory-and-audit.html
  3. Personas from Keynotopia – http://keynotopia.com/free-user-experience-templates/
  4. User Journey / Storyboard from Self-Reliant Films – http://www.selfreliantfilm.com/2006/10/storyboard-template/

Slides
http://bit.ly/12FQd6W

Even better when downloaded so you can see the notes. Almost like being there, only perhaps, better.

 

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Community Management is My Jam: Seattle on Content, Design and Interaction http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/community-management-is-my-jam/ http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/community-management-is-my-jam/#respond Fri, 26 Apr 2013 01:19:39 +0000 http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/?p=237 Community service is my main purpose. At this point in my life and career, I’m dedicating some time to help bridge communities in Seattle who are all passionate about this thing: User-centered Goodness. You may be in information architecture, interaction design, user experience, SEO, content strategy, content marketing, marketing, technology, design, development. Most of us [...]]]> Community service is my main purpose. At this point in my life and career, I’m dedicating some time to help bridge communities in Seattle who are all passionate about this thing: User-centered Goodness. You may be in information architecture, interaction design, user experience, SEO, content strategy, content marketing, marketing, technology, design, development. Most of us are working towards the same goal: Leveraging our knowledge and passion to help users have better experiences online and in life.

First, I belong to many meetups. I organize many meetups. My favorite meetup is getting together with other meetup organizers and planning all of these, you guessed it, meetups. People ask me why I do this.

  1. I love organizing things.
  2. I love people who love organizing things.
  3. I want there to be less duplication and more opportunity for people to embrace content and information related design practices.

And I want to create opportunity for the job I can love getting up to every morning – being a kickass content strategist who has strong relationships with other kickass practitioners. Employers are still looking for unicorns while some of us are about to start “taping horns to horses’ heads.” We need to help people ramp up their skills and experience, community service is how I’m evolving my content strategy practice.

Here’s the plan for now. All these groups below are going to talk. We can help each other. This list is going to grow.

IA Meetup meets the 2nd Tuesday of the month at Piecora’s Pizza on Capitol Hill. We’ll have speakers, activities and sponsors.
Content Strategy Seattle will host future events this year and plan to invite some awesome speakers to visit us in cross- organizational goodness.
PSSIGCHI continues to provide top-notch speakers and trainings.
IXDA partners with many orgs to offer stunning speakers and workshops. Check them out at the Seattle Design Festival.
Usability Seattle offers a new venue for networking and knowledge sharing.
UX Happy Hour floats for maximum meet potential.

We are fortunate at the IA Meetup to have sponsors like
AQUENT/Vitamin T
Filter Digital
Content Insight
ProtoShare by Site9

We’ll see more names join this list as speakers and I hope hosts and sponsors: Fell Swoop, Distilled, Portent, SEOMoz, Deloitte Digital, School of Visual Concepts, Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, REI. Did I miss you? Do you want in on this list?

Tell me how you want to help bridge these communities. Find a space. Find a speaker. Find a sponsor. Create an activity. Host a website. Host a shared calendar. Anyone who can handle logistics, low time commitment of all involved and GETTING THE THING DONE no matter what. We are a tribe. Let’s choreograph and then let’s dance.

Join the meetup and contact away
http://www.meetup.com/SeattleUX/suggestion/

 

 

 

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