Content Strategy Network: balancing standardization and creativity

Alan Pringle / Content strategy, Content Strategy NetworkLeave a Comment


In our second online meeting, the Content Strategy Network discussed balancing standardization and creativity in content development.

Almost 40 percent of the attendees had implemented a balance between standardization and creativity, and nearly 25 percent thought it was possible but hadn’t yet implemented:

40 percent implemented balance; 25 percent say it's possible but have not implemented, 20 percent not sure, 10 percent nope.

Everyone thought that technical content required the most standardization (surprise!):

100 percent: technical content requires standardization

80 percent of attendees indicated marketing and training required more creativity:

Creativity" 80 percent indicated both training and marketing content require it more

I wondered about the high percentage for training, and an attendee gave a good reason: because of e-learning videos and activities.

The group offered up some very good comments about balancing standardization and creativity. Here is a sampling:

  • What I see for my group, there is a focus on standardization because of business rules, yes, but I also see a focus on standardization because of the people. For example, some of my content creators just want to be told what to do. “Just tell me what to do.” And it can be hard to nudge some people to be more creative within the standards.
  • We haven’t tried structured authoring yet, but I believe that creativity and standardization can co-exist. Creativity will take place in different areas than the writing part.
  • I think training content should be developed for the target audience and [with the] delivery method in mind as well, though template/branding/SCORM compliance etc. should be standardized.
  • Technical, training, [and] support [content] should be consistent in message and have the same facts. But not necessarily look the same or be the same media.

Watch the Content Strategy Network LinkedIn group and Google mailing list for details about the next web meeting.

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About the Author

Alan Pringle


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

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