The success of any plan often depends on gaining buy-in from the stakeholders that are ultimately responsible for implementing it. This concept is often associated with organizational change initiatives but it is also very relevant when it comes to the development of your content strategy. It’s amazing how a great content idea can struggle to get executed effectively (or at all) when the people responsible for bringing it to life don’t stand behind it.
Coming up with content ideas is the easy part of the content marketing equation. The challenge lies is recognizing the level of commitment required to convert those ideas into tangible forms of content and developing a process to make implementation a reality.
As more organizations begin to leverage social media participation beyond the marketing department, a growing number of people inside and outside the organization are becoming content contributors. As a result, it’s important to begin including these brand journalists in the content planning process – to both fuel ideation and to assure that tactical factors such as feasibility, capacity and skill set are taken into consideration before jumping into content creation.
When it comes to thinking up new ideas and strategies, there are a lot of content marketing resources at your disposal. I’m a big fan of using social media to research what competitors and brands in different sectors are doing with respect to content creation. But you have to be careful not to assume that every idea you come across will work effectively in your organization. There are a number of factors to consider when assessing content, including business objectives, demographics, audience expectations, information needs and organizational culture.
My suggestion would be to approach content ideation from a grassroots level first – tap into your internal and external stakeholder network to come up with original ideas and then apply inspiration from other brands where it makes sense.
But how do you come up with ideas and filter/prioritize them?
How Now Wow Matrix
The How Now Wow Matrix is a great tool for taking content ideas and prioritizing them as a group. Use a game like 6-8-5 to generate content ideas and filter those ideas using the matrix. Check out the post over on the Gamestorming site for all the details.
Another way to come up with content ideas and vote on them as a group is to take a hybrid How Now Wow approach:
- Take 5 sheets of flip chart paper and post them on a wall – title them Text, Video, Audio, Photo, and Applications to represent the different types of content formats
- Give everyone a pile of post-it notes and ask them to jot down as many content ideas that come to mind in 2 minutes.
- Get them to stick the notes on the most relevant content format sheet on the wall. Note that there may be some overlap – for example, an idea like “feature the product of the week” could show up in text, photo or video depending on the participants vision for that idea. Some people might see that content in the form of a blog post where others might see it as a photo or video.
- Note: Steps 1-3 can also be conducted virtually for those organizations that can’t get their team together face-to-face. Simply create a shared spreadsheet (using Google Docs) with 5 columns, one for each content format. Participants can enter their ideas in each column.
- Consolidate all the post-its to account for duplicate suggestions and write down and number each idea. If you have a group of 10 people don’t be surprised to see 50-60 ideas.
- Within a few days of your ideation session create an online survey using a tool like Google Docs – For each content idea ask participants to rate how strongly they feel about wanting to do it (1-10) and how difficult it is to implement (1-10).
- Send out the survey and give participants a deadline to complete it.
- Tally the results and post them on a How Now Wow Matrix. See below for an example.
This process gets your brand journalists engaged in content planning and gives them vested interest in the success of any future content marketing initiatives. If the group votes to create certain types of content there is an increased likelihood of that content making the successful journey from the idea stage to published format.
What are your thoughts on the importance of content buy-in? What tools has your organization used to get your content marketing team on the same page? The comments are yours.
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