Every time I give a content strategy workshop, there are two things I hear from participants.
The first is this:
We’re still doing content wrong in our company, and I’m really embarrassed about it.
Even if these aren’t the exact words attendees use, it’s the message they’re sending loud and clear every time they raise their hand to ask a question. “Sorry my company is so behind the curve, but…” or “I realize everyone else knows what they’re doing, but…”
Let me tell you something: There are very, very few organizations that actually have their acts together when it comes to content. Furthermore, no one knows where to start fixing their content. Tools? People? Time? Nonexistent.
If you’re sitting in a content strategy workshop, you’re an early adopter. If you’re participating in the content strategy Google Group, attending (or starting) a Meetup, planning to come to the Content Strategy Forum in Paris … you are, quite literally, a pioneer in this field.
You’re not late to the party. The conversation has only begun.
Here’s the second thing I hear:
This is hard.
Well, HELL YES, it’s hard. You’re not going to leave a workshop or a one-hour talk and go back to your company and suddenly find yourself with funding and staff and group hugs. (If that were the case, I would charge a lot more. Booyah.)
There’s a reason content strategy is The Next Big Thing, and it’s not because it’s easy or cheap. It’s because content is a huge, pain-in-the-ass, expensive, out-of-control problem. And, as with any big messy problem, getting to a solution is going to take time. Creating a smart plan for the creation, delivery, and governance of your web content means research and reflection. Trial and error. And selling your plan to The Powers that Be—winning attention, approval, and resources—is going to take even longer.
Ask smart questions. Be brave about sharing your insights. Don’t hesitate to point out what’s broken, or how your competition is doing it better. Use SEO results (or lack thereof) and content inventories and workflow analyses and anything else you can think of to frame your content problem.
Remember: While content strategy isn’t new, the conversation is. And it’s early. Don’t be in a huge rush, and don’t lose hope.
Patience. Persistence. A sense of humor. You’ll need them all if you want content strategy. Now, get to it.