Boost Your Career with a People-First Content Strategy

People-First Content Strategy

The Chicago STC Chapter meeting in July at the Olive Garden in Downers Grove featured Jack Molisani, president of ProSpring Technical Staffing and the Executive Director of the LavaCon Conference on Content Strategy and TechComm Management. His presentation, People-First Content Strategy (and You) described how Facebook for Business inspired Jack to change his approach to content strategy and his ability to enable customer success. He then went on to describe how anyone can use these concepts to enhance their careers.

Facebook has 1.7 billion customers, with 60 million pages dedicated to businesses. The goal of Facebook for Business is to solve a business problem. However, businesses are made up of people, so the ultimate goal is to solve people’s problems. This was illustrated with the small business success story of Camy Newman’s Pop Up Plus, an online shop catering to curvy trendsetters sizes 14+. What was the goal of the Facebook for Business content strategy team? There were multiple business-related goals (see FBB Goal), but the ultimate goal was to make Camy’s customers feel sexy!

FBB Business Goals and Ultimate Goal.

FBB Business Goals and Ultimate Goal.

This was Jack’s “Ah Ha!” moment, which changed how he approached his job. As LavaCon director, he had always touted conference features: content strategy, content engineering and techcomm management. This led him to the realization that “OMG, I’ve been selling ads, or at best, I’ve been selling dresses.” In turn, he refocused LavaCon’s goals on the attendees: “enhance your skills, find your tribe, make a difference.” The updated mission statement became:

  • To help companies solve content-related business problems
  • To give attendees skills that will advance their career
  • To provide a place where content professionals can advance the field

How does this translate into your career “ah ha” moment? Start by figuring out where you can solve problems, at your job, in business cases, during job interviews, responding to market changes. If you ask STC fellow Andrea Ames, what she does for a living, she won’t say “I’m a content strategist” or “I’m an information architect” (although she certainly does both those things). Rather, she communicates what she does (and her organizational value) to executives by saying “I solve business problems.” What a great personal brand! It instantly communicates what she does and why she is valuable!

If you are building a business case for a content management system, figure out what problem your company or customer is trying to solve. So “we need a CMS” becomes “we’re spending $30,000 more on translation than we should be, we are using (and paying for) different tools to generate the same content for different outputs.” Getting ready for a job interview? Prepare by trying to find out what problems a company is having, and then be prepared to tell them how you have the skills and experience to fix them.

Technical communications is part of the content development revolution. Companies don’t need just user manuals anymore, they need social media, webinars, YouTube videos and multi-channel publishing. These are the areas companies are spending money on, and they need help to do it right.

Whose problem can you solve today?

Pete Wagner
Pete Wagner
Pete is a solutions consultant at Dakota Systems. When he’s not helping folks implement structured authoring, content management and publishing solutions he travels and hikes, brews beer and watches FC Bayern Munich, the world’s greatest football (soccer) club.
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