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Content Assess & Progress: How to identify high-impact content initiatives and next steps

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With so many competing content needs within a large organization, you can’t do everything at once. So how do you know where to begin making content improvements? Now, there’s a better answer than, “Wherever you can!”

In this interactive webinar, we’ll introduce you to our “Content Assess and Progress” methodology. It helps you hone in on the specific aspects of your content, or content practices, that need the most work and will have the biggest impact on your organisation.

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Content Assess & Progress: How to identify high-impact content initiatives and next steps

  1. 1. Photo by Gabriel on Unsplash Content assess and progress How to identify high-impact content initiatives and next steps Twitter: #AssessProgress @Kathy_CS_Inc
  2. 2. Welcome content leaders! • Strategists • Directors and managers • Lead practitioners Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash
  3. 3. What keeps content leaders up at night?
  4. 4. What keeps content leaders up at night? • Building a business case and getting budget • Aligning teams around common content standards • Knowing where to start
  5. 5. Where’s the problem? We have different backgrounds, and often see only through the lens of our past experience. Photo by Amanda Kerr on Unsplash
  6. 6. When we look for only one thing we miss so much good stuff.
  7. 7. If you don’t want to miss anything, follow a recipe.
  8. 8. Our recipe for selecting high-impact content initiatives and next steps. Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash
  9. 9. Content strategy ingredients • A generous scoop of access to people across your organization • A pound of ability to listen • One open mind • A heaping spoonful of time and patience • A pinch of ability to connect the dots • Budget, to taste Photo by Calum Lewis on Unsplash
  10. 10. The method Strategic direction Front stage CX of content Practitioner Back stage Governance Manager & Practitioner Objectives and priorities Strategist
  11. 11. The method Strategic direction CX strategy Digital strategy Product strategy Channel strategy Marketing strategy Research… Needs Interests Preferences Capabilities …related to content Contentstrategy Get new customers? Retain/extend customer? Do more with less? Improve customer experience? Compete in digital space?
  12. 12. Audience Needs Tech Skill sets Message Brand MetricsBusiness Goals Structure Content Types Content Channels Department Goals Process That’s a lot to think about! It’s complicated and messy
  13. 13. I can’t do everything all at once! Where do I start?“ ”- Content Leaders Everywhere
  14. 14. Most frequently We go with what we know and ignore the rest. • Feels less overwhelming • Have the skillsets to immediately make a difference, to something. We can “move the needle”. • Position ourselves as experts This approach does work. But it could work better.
  15. 15. What if you were able to take a holistic view of content, and cut through the complexities? Then, you could find what’s best for the company. • Needs a system to help you see areas not obvious to you • May not have the right skill sets, right away • Position yourself as a detective, and a learner And that can be scary. But the pay off is worth it.
  16. 16. The steps 1. Identify your priority initiatives and next steps 2. Get prepared 3. Do the work 4. Measure and evaluate 5. Repeat
  17. 17. The steps 1. Identify your priority initiatives and next steps 2. Get prepared 3. Do the work 4. Measure and evaluate 5. Repeat
  18. 18. The instructions: Identify your priorities 1. What do you have control over? Influence over? Global marketing WebsiteProduct content Corp Comms Social media Media Relations Product marketing Digital Regional marketing
  19. 19. The instructions: Identify your priorities 1. What do you have control over? Influence over?
  20. 20. The instructions: Identify your known priorities 2. What’s most important to your business? To your department? 3. What content priorities have already been defined? What are the relative priorities between these things?
  21. 21. We have some heuristics to help Let’s try it! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GC-Set1
  22. 22. Don’t expect to do this yourself • Talk with people • Investigate • Listen • Bring cookies This is the part where you play detective! Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash
  23. 23. Most important Quite important A little important Not important Priority of business goals Example: Regional Utility Company Area of impact: Primary customer-facing digital content (non-product) Improve customer experience Strengthen brand awareness reputation Build product/ service awareness Change audience perception /behaviour Improve digital maturity/ presence Better support existing customers Increase online conversion Reach inter- national markets Provide accessible XPs to everyone Target specific audiences/ customers Based on degree of importance and urgency
  24. 24. Most important Quite important A little important Not important Improve customer experience Strengthen brand awareness reputation Build product/ service awareness Change audience perception /behaviour Improve digital maturity/ presence Better support existing customers Increase online conversion Reach inter- national markets Provide accessible XPs to everyone Target specific audiences/ customers Priority of business goals Example: Regional Utility Company Area of impact: Primary customer-facing digital content (non-product)
  25. 25. Most important Quite important A little important Not important Person- alize content Make easier to find & understand Help people to make a decision Improve consist- ency Nurture advocates/ champions Make a product easier Translate & localize quickly & easily Improve/ increase UGC Improve SEO Reuse content Priority of content considerations Example: Regional Utility Company Area of impact: Primary customer-facing digital content (non-product) Based on degree of importance and urgency
  26. 26. Most important Quite important A little important Not important Person- alize content Make easier to find & understand Help people to make a decision Improve consist- ency Nurture advocates/ champions Make a product easier Translate & localize quickly & easily Improve/ increase UGC Improve SEO Reuse content Priority of content considerations Example: Regional Utility Company Area of impact: Primary customer-facing digital content (non-product)
  27. 27. The instructions: Identify your priorities 4. Define where and when: • you want to excel • it’s OK to be just OK And what’s simply not your problem.
  28. 28. Try something like this We need to be superstars We need to be good It’s OK to be OK Now In a while Later
  29. 29. Person- alize content Try something like this We need to be superstars We need to be good It’s OK to be OK Now In a while Later Strengthen brand awareness reputation Build product/ service awareness Change audience perception /behaviour Better support existing customers Increase online conversion Provide accessible XPs to everyone Target specific audiences/ customers Help people to make a decision Nurture advocates/ champions Improve/ increase UGC Improve SEO Reuse content Make content easier to find & understand Improve customer experience Improve consist- ency Improve digital maturity/ presence First priority Next steps Not our problem (right now): Reach inter- national markets Make a product easier Translate & localize quickly & easily
  30. 30. Person- alize content Try something like this Strengthen brand awareness reputation Build product/ service awareness Change audience perception /behaviour Better support existing customers Increase online conversion Provide accessible XPs to everyone Target specific audiences/ customers Help people to make a decisionNurture advocates/ champions Improve/ increase UGC Improve SEO Reuse content Make content easier to find & understand Improve customer experience Improve consist- ency Improve digital maturity/ presence 5. Find overlap, categorize. These are your high-impact initiatives Integrate what you can, plan for quick fixes, and roadmap out the rest. Initiative A Initiative B
  31. 31. Identify next steps: 1. Determine if initiatives are foundational or discrete.
  32. 32. Foundational content initiatives Download a more detailed maturity model here: http://www.contentstrategyinc.com/understanding-content-maturity-model/ Characteristic Lack of uniform practice Some content support structures are in place Strong leadership. Staff committed to standards Commitment to customer needs. Not leadership dependent. Promote value of quality content throughout organization How to progress Initiate common processes & standards Firm commitment to implement standards Commitment to quality practices even under time pressure Increase business and customer understanding Focus on sustaining Are relevant to all content and help to mature your organizational content practices. Ad hoc Rudimentary Organized Managed Optimized
  33. 33. Discrete content initiatives Are relevant only to specific audiences, purposes, or moments in time. For example, campaigns and blog strategies are discrete content initiatives.
  34. 34. Foundational vs discrete initiatives Foundational content initiatives Discrete content initiatives Focused on how content is created and managed across its lifecycle (Back-stage, or content governance) Focused on what content is created and distributed (Front-stage, or content experience) Aimed at improving overall quality and efficiency over time Aimed at achieving specific and immediate goals Includes systems and support tools applied to content Focused on the content itself rather than systems and tools Substantially impacts both existing and future content Minimally impacts content not directly related to the initiative Impacts long-term organizational goals Impacts short-term organizational goals Will evolve over time but won’t lose importance Will lose importance over time Will require changes to how people work Usually rolls easily into how people currently work Many companies don’t have sufficient internal skills or time to tackle large foundational initiatives alone Many companies have internal skills and time for these initiatives but may also work with vendors Usually takes more time and money and results in lower short- term ROI but higher long-term ROI Usually takes less time and money and results in higher short- term ROI but lower long-term ROI
  35. 35. What does that mean to our priority initiatives? Build product/ service awareness Change audience perception /behaviour Nurture advocates/ champions Improve/ increase UGC Make easier to find & understand Improve customer experience Improve consist- ency Foundational initiative: Improving content experiences Discrete initiative: Encourage people to use less electricity
  36. 36. The instructions: Identify next steps Assess your readiness • What have you got already? • What’s not useful anymore? • What’s missing? If things are not documented and approved, there’s more risk.
  37. 37. The instructions: Identify next steps 2. Assess your strategic readiness • Are your business objectives clear and documented? • Are audience needs related to content clear and documented? • Are your channel considerations clear and documented? • What other strategies or initiatives do you need to align to?
  38. 38. Some more heuristics to help Let’s try it again. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GC-Set2
  39. 39. This is where you may need to be a learner. Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash
  40. 40. Channels support each other You have channel success metrics Defined audiences for each channel Formats work well on each channel Content displays well on all devicesResearch to know needs on channels Channel mix is strategic, not ad hoc Channels reinforce consistency Content supports X-channel flows Clear purpose for each channel Formalized CX method- ology Design/ validation research for content Clear how content supports audience Research to measure effective- ness Appropriate research methods Situational consider- ations for audiences Primary & secondary audiences understood Discovery research for content Audience needs are driving force Each piece of content has a primary audience Strategic goals for 3 years Depts support, don’t competeDept’s leadership works together Tech & resourcing understood & realistic Approved CS guiding principles Clear how content supports goals. Dept goals prioritize against each other Clear corp vision & mission Dept goals & budget for next year X-dept goals are prioritized and timed If there are too many gaps, there’s a risk of: Not meeting audience needs with content Unexpected shifts in business objectives Not meeting audience needs in delivery
  41. 41. Strategic readiness gaps and risks Example: Regional Utility Company Channels support each other Defined audiences for each channel Content displays well on all devices Research to know needs on channels Channel mix is strategic, not ad hoc Channels reinforce consistency Content supports X-channel flows Clear purpose for each channel Formalized CX method- ology Design/ validation research for content Clear how content supports audience Research to measure effective- ness Appropriate research methods Situational consider- ations for audiences Primary & secondary audiences understood Discovery research for content Audience needs are driving force Each piece of content has a primary audience Strategic goals for 3 years Depts support, don’t compete Dept’s leadership works together Tech & resourcing understood & realistic Approved CS guiding principles Clear how content supports goals. Clear corp vision & mission Dept goals & budget for next year X-dept goals are prioritized and timed Sort of haveHave Don’t have You have channel success metrics Formats work well on each channel
  42. 42. Are there critical gaps that need to be filled before you move forward? To plan for?
  43. 43. Strategic readiness gaps and risks Example: Regional Utility Company Make easier to find & understand Improve customer experience Improve consist- ency Foundational content initiative: Improving content experience Dept’s leadership works together Tech & resourcing understood & realistic X-dept goals are prioritized and timed These need to get addressed before proceeding: The rest can get built into the project plan, as needed.
  44. 44. Strategic readiness gaps and risks Example: Regional Utility Company Build product/ service awareness Change audience perception /behaviour Nurture advocates/ champions Improve/ increase UGC Discrete content initiative: Use less electricity Defined audiences for each channel Channel mix is strategic, not ad hoc Design/ validation research for content Situational consider- ations for audiences Audience needs are driving force These can get built into the project plan
  45. 45. 3. Draft your future vision
  46. 46. The method Strategic direction Objectives and priorities Strategist This is what we’ve covered so far.
  47. 47. The method Front stage CX of content Practitioner Back stage Governance Manager & Practitioner And now it’s time to dive more deeply into your content and content practices.
  48. 48. Foundational content initiatives Discrete content initiatives Is existing content structured appropriately to meet future goals? Do you know which content types you’ll use, and their associated standards? Are current content formats and distribution channels the best to move forward with? Do you know when, where, and to whom you’ll distribute the content? Does your current content effectively communicate what you’d like it to? Do you know the key messages you’re trying to convey to each audience segment, depending on their needs and interests? Does your current content reflect your brand well while meeting user needs? Do you know what tone to use for each piece of content, depending on purpose and audience? The instructions: Identify next steps 4. Assess your content readiness
  49. 49. Foundational content initiatives Discrete content initiatives Are your teams and processes set up well for any needed change? Do you have the right people and processes in place to get started? What constraints do you need to adhere to, or push against? Do you know how you’ll measure success? Do you have the right tools, technology, and training in place? The instructions: Identify next steps 5. Assess your content governance readiness
  50. 50. We have some more heuristics to help But you can make your own. Or ask us and we’ll send you some.
  51. 51. Do you need to make adjustments?
  52. 52. 6. Refine your future vision 7. Create your plan
  53. 53. You know your starting place, your first steps, and your next steps. And you’ll roadmap out the rest.
  54. 54. 8. Socialize the vision. Share your plan. If you haven’t already, get commitment for budget.
  55. 55. Review: Identify high-impact content initiatives 1. What do you have control over? Influence over? 2. What’s most important to your business? To your department? 3. What are your current content priorities? 4. Where do you want to excel and where is it ok to be just ok? 5. Find connections in items considered important (to get started) now. These are your priority high-impact initiatives. You’ll roadmap for things considered important but not as urgent, and find quick fixes in the meantime, if you can.
  56. 56. Review: Identify next steps 1. Determine if initiatives are foundational or discrete 2. Assess your strategic readiness 3. Draft your future vision 4. Assess your content readiness (structure, meaning, style) 5. Assess your governance readiness (people and process, metrics, tools and technology) 6. Refine your future vision 7. Create your plan 8. Socialize the vision and share your plan
  57. 57. Your recipe for identifying content initiatives that work for: • Your company • Your department • Your audience • You budget • Your timeline
  58. 58. It will be different for everyone And for you, at different times
  59. 59. This is just a methodology. Adapt it to your needs.
  60. 60. Content strategy never ends Identify priorities Get prepared Do the work Measure & evaluate
  61. 61. What we’re planning Online diagnostic tools & analysis Group, in-person training workshops Online resource library To help you build your in-house expertise in creating foundational content strategies.
  62. 62. If you want more • Get updates • Be part of our testing and advisory group • Download a PDF version of today’s heuristics http://www.contentstrategyinc.com/content-assess-and-progress/
  63. 63. Questions? And thank you Kathy Wagner Content Strategy Inc kathy@contentstrategyinc.com @Kathy_CS_Inc | @Team_CS_Inc

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