How to convince your team we need one and why?
Imagine a team of competent and hard working individuals. It can be from any field. Each of them has their own goals and dreams they want to make happen. All goes well until they need to bring those goals and dreams together…
Clashing interests and goals was (or still is) one of the biggest struggles I had when working with my team to get them on board with my own or anyone else’s big ideas. The clash can be as simple as deciding on which radio station we should listen to today in the office; or who is going to water the plants this week or who already has done it or who doesn’t want to deal with them at all. But then we have to decide on more important ones. Like which products we are advertising this month or what email campaigns are getting written up and sent out to our subscribers?
We always come back to the same problem – we don’t have an established (content) strategy that would help us with easier problems and bigger ones.
What to do at the beginning: Explain the function of content strategy
So I decided to slowly introduce the concept of establishing a strategy. At first, there were immediate setbacks. Written content team thought they already had some sort of content strategy in place, SEO and PPC teams pitched in and said they would do this on their own.
At the start, I formulated a clear answer to the main question: WHY? Why do we need content strategy? And why do we have to work on it together? Why can’t a team leader of each of those departments set one up and we will just follow?
I sat everyone down and talked about using the strategy to:
- achieve our long term goals,
- avoid conflicts in the future,
- connect multiple departments and work together on the issues that arise,
- bring together experienced individuals in the team and
- define the tactics.
When the reason behind my idea was more clear, I already got some nodding. First step: check!
Okay – we know the why, here’s how: Set the organizational structure needed for execution
In a team I think it’s important that everyone feels valuable.
“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.”Simon Sinek
By including them in the planning process I wanted to get everyone aware of the failures we would face and success we would achieve. Everyone had the opportunity to chime in and tell their own setbacks. At the end of that meeting we decided the positives outweigh the negatives.
That brought us to the next step: deciding on the main leader and sub-leaders. With bigger teams, project leaders are a necessity to ensure the flow of the project and resolving the issues quicker. Because this was a project that involved many departments (written content, visual content, SEO, PPC, …) we chose a main leader that would be in touch with sub leaders from each of those departments. Along with that, we assigned roles. Each person had their own purpose in the project – this helped with the involvement of everyone.
Second step: check.
When you get buy-in: Write everything down and keep clashing
A rule we followed throughout the planning process and later in the actual development of content strategy – everything was put in writing. All the issues and concerns were fixed more easily when written down. To that we added check-in meetings. We decided on weekly meetings where all team members would get together and talk about their progress.
Step three: check.
The end: We are always better together
Last but not least was sharing the success. Because everyone was so involved in the process, they all had their little successes that felt bigger when they were shared. This helped with overall motivation and sense of achievement.
A little party never killed nobody – so we also celebrated the success with champagne.
There is no right or wrong in convincing your team members to establish or follow the content strategy because each team can be different. That’s why it’s important to get to know your members and give them the feeling of being important. Only then they will feel confident enough to share the failures and successes with you. And that’s where the magic happens.
Let’s content strategy together!