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Tips for making the business changes to enable and support your organization in publishing better content.

Update, Jan. 2020: I’ll be speaking on this topic at Confab 2020, the content strategy conference. I hope to see you there!

So, you have a set of content strategy documents—a statement about how content helps you meet the needs of your key audiences and achieve your organization’s goals, your voice and tone, your content and editorial style, important things to know about your audience, governance model, taxonomy, content model, content calendar, etc., etc., etc.

The next steps are to make the business changes to enable and support your organization in publishing better content.

This is known as “operationalizing and socializing your content strategy.”

  • By operationalizing, we mean incorporating it into the organization’s regular work. For example, if the guidelines state the content will be measured and that the measurements will inform future content decisions, how will that happen? Whose job will it be? How often will content be measured, and who should participate in conversations about future content decisions?
  • Socializing means making sure those who have the responsibilities have the skills they need to do the job: introduction, training, reminders, and reinforcement.

Here are some techniques for incorporating content strategy into your organization’s regular work:

1. Keep track of content results. Did better headlines produce more clicks? Did removing outdated content drive more use of the remaining, relevant content? Did more people take action because the call to action was clearer?

2. Take opportunities to brag publicly about content successes. This will inspire even reluctant content creators to work with you.

3. Work with HR and management. Make sure those who are responsible for creating and publishing content are recognized and rewarded for their work in the context of the organization’s usual performance review process.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Introduce the new guidelines, policies, and workflow. Make sure people use the tools you’ve given them—post to the content calendar, for example. Train people in the new skills they will need to think about content differently. And remind them regularly about best practices through tips.

5. Leverage your technology. You can ensure that content follows certain rules if you use the capabilities of your content management platform. Most CMSs will let you set character limits for headlines, require metadata, determine expiration or review dates, identify an audience, etc. This means that the system won’t let people publish content that doesn’t fit the guidelines.

6. Finally, remember that you win some, and you lose some. There will be times that you have no choice but to set aside your best-laid plans about scope, audience, lifecycle, etc. because of organizational issues you can’t control. Hopefully those are occasional—but when they happen, smile and just focus on what is within your scope.


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