Do I need a content strategy consultant?

Alan Pringle / Content strategy3 Comments

Do you need a content strategy consultant? If the following signs are uncomfortably familiar to you, the answer is yes:

    • You have contradictory content across departments. Customers get frustrated when the specifications in product literature don’t match what’s in the sales content they read earlier. They then call support to clear up the contradictions. It’s much more efficient to create the content once and reuse it across departments. Increased consistency and accuracy follow.

  • Content lags product releases, particularly in international markets. Gaps between the releases of a product and its content indicate your processes aren’t nimble enough—especially for the globalized industries of the 21st century. See our premium post about localization strategy (free registration required).
  • Content is not in formats the users want. You need to give customers options in how they engage with your content. And merely switching from PDF to some online format is not the best way to handle that.

Oh, please. Can’t I solve these problems without a consultant?

Yes, you can solve these issues on your own. But your chances of success are far greater with help from a content strategy consultant:

  • A seasoned consultant has solved the same kinds of problems for multiple clients. That experience means you get an informed solution. You avoid pitfalls you wouldn’t have anticipated on your own.
    owl giving side eye

    Oh, please! (flickr: Steve Brace)

  • Consultants who have worked with many vendors know which tools and technologies are good fits for particular requirements and corporate profiles. A content strategy consultant can also act as a firewall against less than accurate claims from vendors about solution capabilities. (But be aware of any reselling agreements a consultant has with vendors.)
  • Developing a content strategy requires a dedicated effort. Strategy (and implementation later) cannot be done in the margins of day-to-day work. Often, it’s not feasible to shift internal resources away from existing work to the new strategy. Hiring a content strategy consultant will expedite strategy development without sacrificing resources for existing projects.
  • If a new content strategy requires you to convert source content from one file format to another, a consultant can help you more quickly identify and implement the best migration paths. A good consultant will also keep exit strategies in mind when developing your new processes. It’s smart to have an escape hatch, even if you don’t use it until years later.
  • Change management is the key to any successful project, including content strategy projects. A consultant will recognize the warning signs when people aren’t excited about the project and will have techniques for mitigating change resistance.
  • Often, executives are more receptive to recommendations coming from an outside party—even when the recommendations are identical to what employees have suggested. Is it fair? Not really. But don’t rely on this increased receptiveness to get a content initiative approved. Instead, work with your consultant to hone a strong business case with specifics on the return on investment. A consultant’s project experience can ensure your business case is realistic and compelling.

So, do you need a content strategy consultant? Contact us.

About the Author

Alan Pringle

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Content strategy consulting. Publishing (electronic and print). Eating (preferably pastries and chocolate). COO at Scriptorium.

3 Comments on “Do I need a content strategy consultant?”

  1. Great post Alan! The problems you describe are present in so many organizations, they ought to be chiseled in stone. If the digital world can become more sensitive to the path of content before it gets to its point of delivery, we will see both a better digital experience and a lot less angst and cost in the content preparation and management processes. With the growing influence of the Internet of Things, getting a better hold on content strategy will only become more critical.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing! I definitely have to agree that having streamlined content across every department is extremely important. You just can’t afford to lose potential customers because of inconsistency— stuff like that shows that your company is disorganized at best, and you could also look maliciously misleading. You definitely don’t want people saying negative things like that about your business!

  3. Content creation and distribution is one of the biggest challenges for local businesses and I can’t imagine why someone would want to attempt doing all of it themselves, without understanding the landscape of different social media platforms.

    And completely agreed that executives are more open and receptive to external expertise than internal. I don’t know why, but it almost makes them more confident when they hear it from someone who does not know the intricacies of their business.

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