Content strategy is a discipline that functions best when there’s broad-based support at all levels of an organization. And that’s why the issues that keep a content strategy from firing on all cylinders are not isolated to the content creators – they can pop up all over the place. As a manager who’s responsible in part for a functional, productive content strategy, you may not know where the breakdown is. Start troubleshooting now by reviewing these five common content issues and recommended solutions for each one.
Everyone has a piece of our homepage.
This results from conflicting priorities and allowing too many people the authority to publish content on the site’s homepage.
The content strategist needs to get all the high-level decision makers in a room and choose a strategy for the site’s homepage that meets the needs of the business and the user. One person then should be assigned as the keeper of the agreed-upon strategy. There should also be a decision-making framework designed for all additional homepage requests.
Our website isn’t performing/we need more traffic/we need more conversions.
This can happen where there is no content plan, or when senior management doesn’t understand the content plan.
It may fall on the content strategist’s shoulders to educate people on what they can expect from their website. If a decision-maker is not happy with the site’s performance, the content strategist can evaluate the current content production workflow and find inconsistencies and inefficiencies that are impacting performance. The next step would be to validate or adjust the performance expectations, and then design a more productive and effective workflow. Regular reporting should be included in that workflow design.
Whose job is that?
A decision-maker may determine there is a need for a specific type of content, without knowing who is capable and willing to develop that content.
The content strategist needs to sell decision-makers on the value of quality content. If management firmly believes that quality content produces a greater return, then it’s easier to make the case for defining a content infrastructure with dedicated resources. Managers who don’t understand the difference between exceptional and marginal content are more likely to borrow resources who should be focused on other efforts.
We don’t have the right tools in place.
An organization might find itself without the right tools if content has not been a priority in the past or if the team members were not encouraged to identify new ways of doing things. Management may have a vision for the organization’s content future, but implementing that vision in an efficient way is far easier if the right tools are available.
The content strategist needs to network with key people at all levels of the organization to identify technical gaps. Some team members may not view their own processes as inefficient, so the strategist needs to go deeper than asking, “What tools do you need?” Instead, the strategist should make an effort to understand how long certain tasks take and why. If there is a budget for developing content infrastructure, the strategist would need to work with affected teams to prioritize technologies. If there is no budget, the strategist would have to make a case for obtaining a budget.
I have a better idea.
Strong-minded leaders can become attached to certain ideas without a full understanding of the resources required to implement or even the potential upside of following that strategy.
Strong-minded personalities are not easily derailed from their own ideas, even when research shows that a specific idea is flawed. These types of requests tend to come from the same people within an organization. The content strategist needs to find out who those people are and then gain their support and trust. It’s a good idea to collaborate with these strong-minded managers to build a decision tree that can be used to evaluate ideas going forward. The strategist also needs to convince the strong-minded managers of the value of sending worthy ideas off for implementation through the designed content workflow.