Getting a content strategy underway (part 2): Explaining content strategy to your stakeholders
In part 1 of my “Getting a content strategy underway” series we looked at how you might explain return on investment as a means of justifying spend on your shiny new content strategy. But a big part of getting the go-ahead involves explaining to stakeholders what a content strategy is and why you might need one. This is the main focus of module 1 of my 16-week online programme, Creating a content strategy for your school, college or university. But let’s cover the general principles here.
What do you see content strategy as being?
Before you can tell anyone else in your school, college or university what content strategy is, you have to get clear on what you see it as.
I have my own definition:
“The process of supporting organisational goals by planning, creating, distributing and maintaining content in a way that is useful and usable to your audience, and understandable and adaptable to machines and intelligent systems.”
However, I’m a content strategist. This description is written for me and for people who work in adjacent fields (such as communications, marketing, and digital engagement roles) who have a certain level of knowledge and a pre-existing understanding of a) what content is and b) that content strategy is important.
So what about those who don’t have a clue what content strategy is?
The secret to really getting stakeholders interested and supportive is to make your description of content strategy as relevant to them and their needs as you possibly can.
So, once you’ve got clear on your own definition, then you can get to work crafting a definition that:
– Describes content strategy in a way that would actually resonate with them
– Shows its value to the things that are important to them.
For example, if you needed to get your Director of Finance to understand what content strategy is, you might choose to talk about how it’s a process of designing an efficient and effective approach to content creation and management that delivers organisational efficiencies. If you’re talking to a marketing person on the other hand you might describe it more in terms of compelling and engaging storytelling…
Writing their user story
A helpful tool for getting inside your stakeholder’s heads in order to create a content strategy definition that will resonate with them is to use the user story template (As a… I need… so I can…).
For example, “as a finance director I need to ensure that our organisation makes the most efficient use of our resources and budgets so that I can ensure we stay solvent”. You see how an insight into their priorities and concerns would then lead you to talking about content strategy from the perspective of content efficiencies?
Tell me more
Luckily for you, stakeholder engagement is a big theme of my online learning programme, during which I’ll take you through the whole process of developing a strategy. But if you’re just interested in talking about content strategy to stakeholders, you might also find the free webinar that I offered through GatherContent on Getting non-specialists on board with content strategy useful too.
Stakeholder engagement is one of my content strategy superpowers, so if you need help with this, get in touch and I’ll happily help you to convince your colleagues.
In the next part of this series we’ll take a look at how to assemble your content strategy team or working group, and look at the skills, capabilities and capacity that you’ll need to develop your strategy.