Content Management and Leadership. Content Playbooks? Content Leadership?

This week’s readings revisited a number of concepts that I’ve learned throughout the technical and professional communication program.

Chapters 2, 3, and 5 essentially summarize that technical communicators should not just view themselves as writers, but also rhetorical tool experts, information designers, and content managers. It was a solid review and there were actually some things that caused me to stop and think more deeply about my own role as a technical writer.

Content Management Perspectives

For instance, Hart-Davidson makes an argument that there are three perspectives for creating and managing content in Chapter 5.

  • The first perspective is making texts — this is the dirty work, the actual writing we do for clients, users, and customers.
  • The second perspective is creating and managing information assets — from my understanding, this is the process of making content reusable and “evergreen”.
  • Lastly, (and this is the part that made me think more deeply) Hart-Davidson argues content mangers should design and manage workflows and production models — this last perspective focuses on the responsibilities of those who are involved with content management in an organization context.

Hart-Davidson elaborates more on this third perspective later in the chapter:

“Here, technical communicators take on supervisory roles at the level of a team . . . They study how people work to create and manage information and they then look to make improvements.”

After reading this, I started to ask myself, “How do we do that?” Particularly when we’re not always in leadership roles to manage how other people create and manage information? The answer sounds simple, but I’ve found it to be rather difficult in some instances.

The Content Playbook

For example — this week, my team conducted our monthly content calendar review to discuss what will be published in the month of November. This meeting included my directors and other marketers. During this meeting, me and the other content manager started to discuss our process for creating and publishing new content. As we were explaining this, my director suggested that we make a “content playbook” that basically describes the process of how we publish content.

Now, this isn’t the first time my director has asked for something like this. He has briefly brought up a similar request months ago. However, I haven’t acted upon this request because it sounds like a waste of time. Not because I feel it is a bad idea necessarily, I don’t think anyone will actually use it. Immediately, my content management brain kicks in because I think, “Who is going to read that?

Should I be spending time creating a playbook for something that (that I feel) no one will read? At my work, there are only two content managers (me and another writer on a separate marketing team). I feel he would be the only other writer who would benefit from something like this. However, after reading this week’s readings, I may be feeling differently.

Content Leadership

If I was to put on my managerial content marketing hat, or as Hart-Davidson describes ” study how people work to create and manage information and then look to make improvements”, I would have a few recommendations.

One thing that I wish the other writers would do is amplify the content they have created. Once they publish an article on the company blog, they do not try to republish it on other websites or share it that often enough on social media. Earlier this week, I was listening to a presentation about why content marketing fails and the podcasters mention that writers often fail to ask this simple question during the content creation process:

why-content-marketing-fails-47-638.jpg

Source: Slideshare: Why Content Marketing Fails

I do not feel the other writers ask this question. Typically, I’ve chosen to just do my own thing and not worry about the process in which they publish content. But, our readings this week have got me thinking more about it. How do you lead others to write and manage content effectively? How do you become a content leader and inspire others?

Content Management Revisited

Like I mentioned before, the readings this week got me thinking about the content playbook. If I created a content playbook that describes how to amplify your content, would that change anything? I’ve shown my colleagues the results and statistics of amplifying their content, and that still doesn’t seem to change anything.

But maybe it’s not that simple. In the same presentation that I mentioned earlier, they suggest that content marketers don’t try enough. If their efforts fail, they should try again. Maybe I should at least try this content playbook.

I’m interested to know what you guys think. If your director suggested you write a content playbook. What would you do? Have you already done it? Do you feel others (have or would) use it? What are other ways you manage the content and information in your own organizations?

Posted on November 4, 2018, in Marketing, Social Media and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You ask really good questions. It’s hard to get behind creating content that you feel no one will read, but perhaps it is best to at least try it once? Maybe you start with a very brief playbook, heavy on visuals with built-in checklists or to-dos? One problem I see a lot in my college (and most companies) is how to disperse content/communications in a many that people will actually read. We’ve formed a communications team since one of the recent survey results revealed that most employees didn’t feel like they were receiving adequate communication. We have a once-a-week LONG email that goes out with updates, but peoples’ inboxes are already full, and I’m guessing many don’t take time or have time to read the emails. Is the answer a short video? A text? A mailed newsletter?

    The notion of amplifying work is a strong one. Maybe if fellow co-workers can see that it saves them time in the long run, they’ll be more interested in it?

    • Hi Amery!

      Dispersing content / communication with internal teams can be a challenge. I started sending a monthly round-up of marketing activities to the sales team after they asked me for more communication on content updates. However, I hardly ever receive a response that they are reading the email. It makes me wonder if it is actually an effective practice, or if I’m wasting my time. I feel like people want to be in the loop, but they sometimes ask their team members to do things that won’t necessarily help them stay in the loop in the ways that they want. That’s what I worry about with this content playbook. It sounds good in theory, but is it actually effective? Like you said, the only way to know it to try. After that, you probably need to get feedback, and possibly try again.

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