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June 19, 2017

Tools are not a content strategy

This post is part of Scriptorium’s 20th anniversary celebration.

Content creators love their tools. So much, in fact, they sometimes mistake selecting tools for developing a content strategy.

When evaluating content processes, focusing too intently on tools is an understandable reflexive action that content creators must control:

After all, tools are what we use every day to get our jobs done. That relentless focus on tools, however, can be a detriment when evaluating new strategies for developing and distributing content. Sarah O’Keefe and I wrote about this in Content Strategy 101:

A high level of proficiency in a specific tool fosters a sense of achievement and security in team members. But a strong attachment to a tool can cause “tool myopia.” … The straightforward (but admittedly painful) cure for this myopia is building requirements. Strategic thinking about content cannot happen when early discussions are framed as “Tool X can do this, and Tool Y can do that.”

A tool-based approach does not address change management, either:

[Tool] investments are useless if you don’t communicate the value of process change. Getting buy-in from all affected parties means you need to offer tailored messages to the different groups. For example:

  • Executives: increased revenue because of shorter times to market.
  • Middle management: cost reduction through more efficient workflows.
  • Content creators: eliminating tiresome manual chores and learning new skills for career longevity.

Your well-selected tool will make it easier to justify process changes to all parties, but it is not going to introduce itself to the different stakeholders, explain its value to them, or train users.


Photo: Pixabay

You don’t understand the art of sculpting because you have selected a chisel. And you cannot fully support your company’s business requirements for content by merely choosing tools.