Content strategies are all about problem-solving. These strategies can focus on solving problems within a business, like easing the flow of communication or making a user-friendly website. On the other hand, content strategy can help solve business challenges and workflow issues.
How Has Content Strategy Changed?
The history of content management and strategy has been around way before the internet was created. Content strategy often refers to digital content, but it has been used for business and written language for decades.
One of the first records of content strategy in use was in 1945 with the creation of standard generalized markup languages(SGML) like HMTL. Don Day, a pioneer of the technical field, comments that these markup systems and languages, “finally made it possible for content policies to be discussed in terms of business rules, process descriptions, roles and responsibilities, syndication and subscription policies, reuse and republishing strategies, content repurposing across the business and its partners, and more.”1 SGML helped solve workflow issues, define roles, and allowed for a streamlined strategy.
Content strategy has evolved ten-fold. There is so much more involved in today’s content strategies. From mobile, artificial intelligence, conversational design, etc., strategists need to incorporate trends, intertwined assets, and engineering into their plan. The idea of streamlining, creating best practices, and implementing infrastructure internally and externally is the root of content strategy throughout the years. No matter how much the content evolves, the root of the strategy will (somewhat) remain the same.
Why is “Buy-In” so Important?
You’ve been hired as a content strategist to create a strategy to streamline workflow and advance business goals. So why do you still need “buy-in” from stakeholders?
Every project you will ever work on has stakeholders, and stakeholder buy-in will make or break your project. Typically, these are people who are big decision-makers and budget holders, but not always. From brand strategy to technical information to legal compliance, almost everyone in the business is involved in some way. Changing their strategy can be disruptive!
Meghan Casey, the author of The Content Strategy Toolkit, says, “They [stakeholders] are people whose insights you need to craft your strategy and whose expertise and skills you need to implement the recommendations.”2 Without convincing and working with stakeholders, your project will fail.
Another reason why you need buy-in and help from stakeholders is for project objectives. You need these folks to help you set and align project objectives before you begin. From your stakeholders, you can learn where they are at, why you were brought in, and where they’d like to be.
Content strategy is ever-evolving with the rapid changes in the digital world. Modifying strategies, infrastructures, and standards take a great deal of effort and implementation. Understanding the root of content strategy and the importance of buy-in are the first steps to success!
2 Casey, Meghan. “Get Stakeholders on Board.” The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right, New Riders, San Francisco, CA, 2015, p. 27.