How to drive results in content strategy when you have to deal with people

Estimated read time: 5 minutes




To drive results through any project – especially content – a few things are typically at play:

  • timing
  • commitment to the project
  • personnel and budget
  • existing workflows and company believes
  • understanding and existence of target audience

Just to name a few.



Read next: My content performance philosophy and how teams can implement it

Understanding all of these factors might be one of the most important things to drive results.

At the end of the day there needs to be forward progress. How is forward progress measured and over what time period? Are you looking at your watch when others are looking at their calendars?

Read next: How to measure content performance

A big lesson when it comes to this really hit home during a livestream I moderated about building sales teams. I challenged one of the panelists and asked but what if the product doesn’t sell because of product problems and not sales problems?

He said that sales people need to do the research before they agree to sell a product. If they don’t think it’s a product that can be sold don’t agree to sell it. Now, I do hope product leaders take sales teams feedback for product improvements. But at the end of the day it does come back to understanding the situation.

The importance of mindset

Some change takes time but how do we get there? These characteristics help teams tremendously move forward.

  • Explicit and declared buy-in from the top
  • Some kind of daily implementation and successes
  • Sharing of what’s working and what was learned
  • A sense of urgency
  • Can-do attitudes
  • The technical skills

Innovation only happens when there is daily forward progress. It can be minimal but it has to be there.

Drive results with ongoing, useful content

There are distinctive parts to any  content – driven project and its implementation:

  • Deciding what topics we have something to say about and then deciding to get started.
  • Workflow – who is doing what and when and how long will it take?
  • Maneuvering relationships – included the dreaded game of office politics

All three, alone or as combinations can kill projects when not handled well. Maneuvering office politics and outdated processes inefficiently can stop any good story from being shared publicly. And you know what happens to stories that aren’t shared: They die.

Sharing useful  stories takes a bit of conviction, guts and motivation to begin with. The more difficult it is to maneuver things the more likely  it is that the projects fails.

Content expert Marcus Sheridan may have said it best with his quote:

”If, as a marketer, you’re not scaring your CEO and leadership team at least once a quarter (because of your bold, audacious content)then you’re not pushing the envelope enough.

Seriously folks, push that dang envelope, and push it often.

This is where greatness and innovation are found.”

Changing how stories are shared from the traditional marketing model can be scary and it’s likely that somebody will fight it. This can happen openly or covertly.

And sometimes it just happens because there is constant personal change. For example, Author Christina Del Villa mentioned in her book “Sway” the number of managers she went through at a company in a relatively short time period.

It’s hard to get anything done when team members spent the majority of their time getting used to new leaders. She also shares useful tips and her method on how to get stuff done.

Drive results with these ideas

These steps can help you maneuver the process (though not necessarily quickly):

  • Identify your advocates on all levels. Who is on board and who isn’t? Who is willing to voice their support vocally and help influence others? Remember that advocates on all levels of an organization can have influence. The higher you go the more formal power and influence advocates can offer.
  • Identify influencers of internal leaders. Leaders in many organizations are influenced by people on the outside. In a nonprofit, the CEO is likely to listen to his or her volunteers. Friends of a leader in your organization might use your product and know a C-level executive. The outside people’s feedback to internal leaders can help move projects forward when positive.
  • Check in with your executive sponsor. Make sure your executive is up to speed on how things are going. This way he or she can share successes and continue to advocate for the project with other executives and across the organization
  • Share successes as publicly as possible. The more people know the better. Definitely share stories with leaders. If possible, share some successes on a blog and – depending on your market – share them with the media or a local, regional or national journal that covers your industry. Consider an internal podcast.
  • Find some quick wins that you continuously can accomplish. If I host a podcast for my company and then write articles from the podcast I can pretty much get that done on an ongoing basis because at the end of the day it just includes me. It’s potentially an easy way to drive some success while you’re working on longer-term things.

Every company has stories

Every company has so many stories that their target audience cares about. Really it just comes down to:

  • Identify the story.
  • Document the story.
  • Publish the story.
  • Distribute the story

Grow as a business because people who believe in your stories join you as customers.