We’re sharing our approach to content strategy
Our work at Content Strategy Inc (CSI) has always been methodology based. We describe our process as a mix of science and art: a research-based, creative collaboration. Now, we’re excited to be able to share our approach with others, through the Content Assess and Progress (CAaP) methodology.
I sat down with CSI’s Founder, Kathy Wagner, and talked to her about CAaP and what content teams can look forward to.
Kathy, how will the CAaP methodology help content teams?
Clients keep telling us that they like that we have a methodology; partially because it gives them confidence in what we do, that we have an evidence-based approach, but also because it’s something they could adopt as their own.
CAaP will help content teams figure out which specific aspects of their content, or content practices, need the most work and will have the biggest impact on their organization. It will then show content leaders which content strategy tools and resources to use to improve those high-priority content areas.
Why did you want to add more of an education piece to your content strategy work?
There aren’t a lot of educational opportunities for those looking to learn more advanced content strategy skillsets. Once you have the basics down, where do you go to become an expert? Partly because I don’t think you can become an expert through education alone, there just isn’t a lot of options for people.
We’re committed to raising in-house content strategy expertise. There are content strategists who won’t take a master’s program in content strategy because it may not be relevant to their needs at work. The CAaP program will encourage people to bring their working problems and situations to use as their learning, and then they bring the methodology and resources back to their workplace.
What gaps or problems have you seen that CAaP will address?
We’ve seen a few common gaps and problems from our work with clients that CAaP will help address.
1. There’s always a real challenge in getting budget and making a business case for content strategy in organizations because content teams lack evidence, or they don’t think through the implications of what they’re asking for. CAaP will help people to identify high-impact content initiatives that align with business priorities, make sure that they’re realistic about the efforts required to make that initiative successful, and give them the tools to get started. Over time, content leaders will be able to start showing that content is a business asset that actually has value.
2. Content leaders are also experiencing challenges with getting other teams across the organization aligned to content standards. If you don’t have control over departments, how do you influence them enough to bring everyone on board to create a more consistent content approach across the organization? CAaP facilitates that conversation and shows where and why it’s important for teams to work together to build more mature content practices.
3. Other people who are new to content leadership roles don’t know where to start. There are so many different approaches to take with content and different projects to take on. Often content leaders aren’t clear which ones will to bring the best value to the organization.
These are some of the problems clients come to us with. So, we thought it might be useful to share our methodology so that clients can actually build these skills themselves and take it in-house.
You’ve talked about the importance of taking a holistic view of your company’s content. Why is that so important and how does CAaP help?
So many of us come to content strategy from different backgrounds. We tend to see through the lens of our experience and training, which tends to be very specific like marketing, corporate communication, tech comm, or digital. And we may be good at certain aspects of content, like copywriting, but not at other areas like taxonomy or information architecture. Content strategy looks at content through all of those lenses. When you’re looking at maturing or evolving your in-house content practices, you need to create a solid foundation to move your organization forward, or you won’t be able to maintain or sustain the changes that you’re making. Taking a holistic perspective allows you to identify what’s most needed at the time to create that solid foundation.
The CAaP methodology challenges you to look beyond your natural bias and see what else is possible.
Are there certain industries or company types that CAaP will work best for?
Our methodology tends to work best for companies who have at least a few decades of content chaos to deal with, and multiple departments or teams that are creating content. It’s been designed to help companies evolve their historical content practices to become more efficient and digital, which are huge needs for a lot of organizations right now. This will help them to close that gap.
What are the different ways content teams can learn about the CAaP methodology?
We’re developing an in-person, multi-day workshop where content teams bring own their own work scenarios to work through as they’re learning the CAaP methodology. The workshops will come with access to an online tool and resource centre, which can also be accessed without the workshop if you don’t need the in-depth training.
How can content leaders implement what they learn through CAaP? Is it something they can do on their own?
Yes, absolutely, that’s the whole point of the workshops—to give people the knowledge and tools they need to progress their content practices in-house. If you’re an experienced content strategist you may be able to just take the tool and resources and run with them, but if you have gaps in your knowledge areas then the workshops will be helpful.
When will the CAaP workshop and online tool officially launch?
We’re in the process of developing both now. We hope to have the workshops in beta format for select users before the end of this year, and the tool out in beta in 2019.
Is there, perhaps, some way interested content leaders could get in on the ground floor and help to make the tool as helpful as possible?
Yes, actually, there is. Thanks for asking! If you’re a content leader, you can sign up to join our advisory group to see and use the tool as it’s developed. Your insights and feedback can help shape how it all comes together.