Content Strategy — A Raging Debate

This week has been an interesting and very busy week at the office! We’re a multidisciplinary agency; this means that by working together as a team using the expertise from many business areas, we can provide our customers with a more comprehensive service tailored to meet their needs.

We work well together as a cohesive team. This is not something that occurs naturally,  but rather like any other relationship, it has to be nurtured. Ongoing communication is one of the keys to an optimally functioning team. It is one of the hardest elements of team building to keep on track. We overcome this by having regular informal meetings, and yes for those that know me well a lot of them do take place in Starbucks!

The reason for this post today, is to highlight and remind us all that terminology can mean different things to people depending upon their area of expertise. During a series of meetings, this week, it became ever more evident that we had a problematic term in our midsts… “Content Strategy”. Now, this is a term that’s been around for a few years so, you’d think it was well bedded in. The problem with this term is that it means different things to writers, designers, and developers. Worst of all it baffles most clients, you might as well be speaking a foreign language.

The fact is that there’s no hard and fast definition for it. So, what do you do to come to a consensus? It’s important that, as a business, you do have consensus over the terms that you use — common language is hugely important. You’d be surprised how often this type of issue comes up.

As a team, we get together and brainstorm what it means to each of us. From this, we come up with a working definition for the business; this often includes flowing it out diagrammatically. The terms are defined in plain English. We steer away from jargon as far as possible when dealing with clients — but — in the interests of clarity and shared understanding it is important for clients to be familiar with the terms that they are likely to encounter in our sector too.

Working in this way and taking the time to rationalise business concepts and processes as a team depersonalises the issue at hand, it’s a great way to solve clashes in a non-confrontational way. Joint problem solving is a great team building exercise. Opening the communication channels this way leads to shared understanding, common vocabulary and better understanding of each other. Someone has to lead the business to be firmly in charge, but a meritocracy of ideas is something that should be encouraged at every turn.

There must be jargon within your industries and even with the teams in your business. Does each and every person know what the common termenology is and how to explain it to a client? How do you achieve that level of common understanding in your business?

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