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August 1, 2016

Your content strategy easy win

You have a content strategy plan. Management has agreed to fund implementation. Time for the happy dance, right?

A little celebration is in order. But you still have to prove your new strategy will work in the real world. Showing early success with an “easy win” during implementation will give you momentum.

What is a good choice for a content strategy easy win? Consider the following criteria—preferably before you get into actual implementation.

(I use the term “easy win” with some hesitation.  Easy is very relative when it comes to implementing any new process or tool.)

Adjust your scope—down, down, down

Finish line this way sign

Kai Chan Vong

Being ambitious when selecting your content strategy easy win is a really bad idea. Instead, identify a part of your strategy that is somewhat self-contained. For example, if you plan to create PDF files, ebooks, web pages, and so on, in the new workflow, choose one output for which you already have a strong set of specifications.

If you are working on a strategy that spans departments or product lines (such as a new review workflow), focus on implementation for just one department or product first to work out any potential kinks and to prove the plan works. Pilot projects are your friend.

Select something adaptable

An adaptable easy win means choosing something that works well on its own but could be augmented a bit to achieve another goal. Following the example of creating new output types, assume you choose HTML output as your easy win. If you also plan to offer EPUB ebooks, you can use a lot of the work for the HTML in your ebooks: an EPUB file is essentially a collection of HTML files in a zip file.

It’s a smart move to demonstrate early that your process can evolve to address other requirements. A good content strategy will scale and adapt as the company’s needs change.

Fix a customer complaint

If the people using your product or service have been complaining about particular aspects of your content, it is wise to address at least some of those complaints early with the easy win.

When content-related complaints come through support channels (calls, forums, chat, and so on), they are costing the company a lot of money: the cost of producing the bad content is compounded by the cost of support services addressing the complaints. Fixing the content means you have happier customers who aren’t contacting support as much, and management is pleased to see the company’s bottom line improve.

Address what upper management wants

An executive will look at a content strategy from a different vantage point than a department manager or content creator.

For example, a reduction in the time it takes to format content means the following:

  • Content creators: more time to focus on creating useful information
  • Localization manager: big drop in costs to reformat translated content
  • CEO: shorter time-to-market interval for worldwide products means more revenue

Be sure that you can articulate how the content strategy easy win addresses the executive sponsor’s views on the overall project.

Yes, there are some office politics in play here. No corporate project goes forward in a politics-free vacuum (not even projects with a strong business case). It’s important to keep the executive sponsor informed—and happy. Choose an easy win that shows progress on the executive’s goals for the project.

 All of the above

If your easy win meets these criteria, you have chosen well. Start a project with a manageable goal, get an easy win, and then move on to the harder stuff.

What have you chosen as an easy win for a content strategy project? Let me know in the comments.