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Managing the Politics of Content By: Hilary Marsh (USA), Content Strategist


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Politics play a big role in the success or failure of an organization’s digital efforts, both in the way they are created and in their day-to-day use. If a site is built based on aspirations rather than reality, then while user needs might be satisfied, the organization's internal roilings may prevent the site from making a positive difference for the business. If the cloaks of accountabiliity remain unspoken, then it's incredibly challenging to tie digital efforts to metrics that are meaningful to the organization (and that ensure ongoing staffing and budget). And if the internal clients don’t have organizational buy-in, they may go down with that ship too.

Politics often dictate what goes on the home page, what can or can be cross-linked, and even what content is exempt from usability guidelines. Everyone involved in creating or maintaining a digital presence needs to have a shared understanding and speak with a common voice about the need to get past politics in order for the work we do to achieve its intended goals. Session participants will share their own “war stories” and come up with specific, actionable suggestions for solving their political challenges.

Session Takeways - How organizational politics sabotage success
- Roadmap for how to overcome politics
- Real-life stories illustrating every step of the way, and how practitioners have learned from successes and failures
- Ideas from session participants that they can start using right away

Published in: Marketing, Internet

Managing the Politics of Content By: Hilary Marsh (USA), Content Strategist

  1. 1. Managing the Politics of Content Hilary Marsh JBoye Conference 2015
  2. 2. Marketing Product Line
  3. 3. Everyone Else Web Team
  4. 4. What Politics Look Like
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
  7. 7.
  8. 8. 2004 2007 2010
  9. 9. What else?
  10. 10. How do you react?
  11. 11.
  12. 12.
  13. 13.
  14. 14.
  15. 15.
  16. 16. “We have a carousel on our website because politics.” – Dave Olsen, Confab Higher Ed 2014
  17. 17. Content is… Event Product Class Program Research
  18. 18. Content strategy is… Event Strategy Product Strategy Class Strategy Program Strategy Research Strategy
  19. 19. Content is political
  20. 20. Content is… Event Product Class Program Research
  21. 21. Content is… My Event My Product My Class My Program My Research
  22. 22. 30
  23. 23. “Every pixel has an owner.” – Paul Ford, former web editor at Harper’s magazine Confab 2013
  24. 24. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair, 1935
  25. 25. 33
  26. 26. Department Message Audience Department Message Audience Department Message Audience Department Message Audience Old thinking
  27. 27. Organization: Programs, offerings Audience Messages Audience Audience Audience New thinking
  28. 28. 36 Content strategy is CHANGE MANAGEMENT
  29. 29. 37 Digital is CHANGE MANAGEMENT
  30. 30. What Doesn’t Work
  31. 31.
  32. 32. Real-Life Solutions
  33. 33. “Be transparent, help people prep while they’re waiting for their project to start.” —Amanda Costello, University of Minnesota
  34. 34. “Be an evanglist for others’ work, and help people realize that you are their champion and making way for them to do what they do best.” —Matthew Grocki, Grassfed Content
  35. 35. “Pre-sell your ideas. Pull someone aside and get their input on a draft, so by the time you officially reveal it, you’ve gotten their buy-in.” —Sara Zailskas Walsh,
  36. 36. “Build strong relationships. Remember that everyone is trying to do a good job but don’t always have the resources or skills they need.” —Claire Helme and Mary Sabotoski, a university in Australia
  37. 37. “Employ “strategic nagging:” patient but persistent repetition of a message. —Carrie Hane Dennison, @carriehd, American Society of Civil Engineers
  38. 38. What Has Worked for You?
  39. 39. What Has Worked for Me
  40. 40. 49 Shared focus on the audience
  41. 41. Show, don’t tell
  42. 42. • Useful • Relevant • Timely
  43. 43. • Org-focused • Narrow interest • Not actionable
  44. 44. 53 Get your governance in order
  45. 45. 54 Do a pilot project (or several)
  46. 46. 55 Keep trying
  47. 47. Get buy-in from the top
  48. 48. Your agenda 1. Show what’s broken and why 2. Show solutions and potential, and what it will take to get there 3. Talk about the pilot efforts and the lessons learned 4. Anticipate roadblocks – raise “what if” scenarios, talk them through in advance 5. Determine follow-up frequency 57
  49. 49. Respect the depth
  50. 50. 59 Be patient
  51. 51. Show them how
  52. 52. Foster collaboration • Form a cross-departmental editorial board to review major requests together • Most impactful stories require information from multiple sources • Facilitate, then gradually pass on ownership
  53. 53. Motivate and recognize
  54. 54. I put the information up online –now I also need to know how many people have used it??? Redefine success
  55. 55. Educate and remind 64
  56. 56. Operationalize and socialize 65
  57. 57. Offer options for creativity 66
  58. 58. 67 Be there for your colleagues
  59. 59. 68 Look, if it were up to me, I would leave that content on the site, but the decision is out of my hands
  60. 60. Solid rationales and alternatives 69
  61. 61. 70 Report on progress
  62. 62. 71 Working together for customer satisfaction
  63. 63. Thank you! @hilarymarsh