The slow road to content strategy

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I’m always wary of buzzwords and industry fads, and will always take, primarily, a business focused view on any new theory (or strategy) that I hear about until I fully understand its real life application. Such is the case with Content Strategy.

It’s something I’ve talked about on here before (under the guise of Information Strategy) but whilst I’ve a good idea of how it could benefit our company, I’ve struggled to get buy-in. Whilst Content Strategy discussions go well, everyone thinks that a coherent and consistent set of content is a good thing, where we seem to struggle is getting commitment to getting the actual work done to bring things into line. The high level Content Audit I completed about 18 months ago is about as far as we got.

So, rather than try and get everyone on-board from the outset we are now starting from the bottom up by providing a technical product information service to our sales team. Essentially, our team will be providing source content that can be used by our PreSales team to inform potential customers what our product can do. It’s an important part of our sales cycle, and will mean that we will have a consistent set of information, used across different areas of the company, all sourced and developed with a common view (and reuse) in mind.

The route we are taking towards a company wide content strategy may take us a while (my gutfeel is that, once the ball is rolling and word gets out, other areas of the company will soon come on board) but ultimately we will end up in the same place. The advantages are that we can make decisions on the way, replan a lot more easily (we don’t need to get it as ‘almost’ right as we would if we were tackling a larger amount of work) and crucially we don’t need any ‘stop the world’ moments.

I work in a fast paced company, we are light on paperwork, and whilst we apply good rigour and quality to what we do, we only do whatever we need, and are quick to change or drop processes if they bring no value. It’s a great place to work, but keeping up with the pace of change in our product is a constant challenge to the technical writing team, so this approach to tackling the introduction of a content strategy stands a very good chance of succeeding.

Naturally this approach will present some challenges, we will probably need to schedule some form of review of the work as it progresses to make sure it’s not becoming too focused on it’s initial use, and I’ve no doubt that we may have to rework some of the content later on when we have a better understanding of the big picture, but I think it will work.

And hey, life’s nothing without a challenge!

One thought on “The slow road to content strategy

  1. Arnold Burian

    Hm…that is interesting. I have normally found that anyone associated with sales wants a “marketized” version of what the product can do (the 30000 foot view, as opposed to the nuts ‘n bolts usually in documentation). Still, this sounds very interesting.

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