Strategic alignment means making sure that the framework you use to establish and sustain your position is mapped through your content and communication projects. That’s what this article is about.
Time to read
Adapting known strategic frameworks to underpin content systems is an easy and reliable way of building a content system, because they tend to have the what, why, when, how, who, plus measurement and feedback loops baked into them. The strategic framework you choose will determine the granularity of your system.
How to hack strategic frameworks to underpin your content strategy
When you hack a strategic framework for your content system, you are choosing to use a reliable, known and tested structure for a critical element of your business. It’s an easy way to establish an effective business system, once you know how to break and remake it.
Step 1: Make sure you understand the framework
Like with any skill, having a grasp of the basics is the only thing that gives you the ability to break and remake the rules to suit yourself.
Whatever strategic framework you select, whether it’s a Blue Ocean Strategy or the McKinsey 7S Framework, do enough reading that you could explain it to someone else.
You can use any strategic framework. But STUDY IT first! #contentstrategy via @brutalpixie
Step 2: Map content elements to the framework
Depending on whether you are an abstract or logical thinker, mapping content elements to the framework will be easy or difficult. Abstract thinkers tend to be better at linking apparently unrelated elements to make them work, while logical thinkers tend to be better at seeing the gaps in a framework. Typically (though not generally) abstract thinkers are faster at matching elements.
There are many content project elements that are precisely the same as many frameworks. Some of them include:
- Strategic objectives: All projects should drive or support the corporate strategy
- Organisation of teams
- Environmental issues: What pressures in the environment might apply?
- Lines of communication and accountability
- Resourcing: Of both people and funds
- Capability: What skills do you have and what skills do you need?
This leaves a number of elements that are not precisely the same. They include:
- Project objectives
- Measures and feedback loops
- Purpose and intention
- Rules and governance.
If you're not an abstract thinker, smooshing #content into a #strategic framework will be hard work for you. @brutalpixie #contentstrategy
Step 3: Align elements
Strategic frameworks are designed to support the operations and sustainability of companies. They are not designed to support specific projects.
Many publishing and content projects feel ‘new’ when it comes to business operations, but this is only because communication and relationships are superseding competition and push messaging. This has happened because of the changing relationships that consumers have with brands, and the fact that technology has changed to allow consumers to more selective, often on a broader range of factors.
The opportunity that the strategic frameworks give you is to align your content project elements with the bigger picture. You then achieve strategic alignment without having to go through days of workshops or team thinking.
Well, unless you don’t already have a clear strategy, in which case you need to do that first.
Below is a matrix that shows you how to align your strategic elements quickly and easily. Many of these strategic elements have been taken from the McKinsey 7S framework, simply to illustrate the method. Your chosen framework will change the elements you need to align (or, perhaps, break).
'Strategic alignment' = strategic framework(content projects + business). ~ @brutalpixie #contentstrategy #strategy
Strategic alignment must be part of your content system’s very fabric
When you have strategic alignment, you have your chosen strategic framework (the only use in your firm to establish and sustain your position) clearly mapped into your content and communication projects.
Actively working to relate the core of your content projects back to the core of your organisation is what is going to make your content project work properly. And when I say ‘properly’, you understand me to mean, ‘driving your corporate strategy forwards’.
What’s in it for you? Sensible question
The process gives you and your teams clarity and purpose.
You may recall our article about establishing the intention of your content. That intention combined with the correct strategic framework gives you the power of choice when it comes to your content.
Getting the right framework in place allows your firm to be creative, innovative and agile. And it stops you looking to chase the lowest common denominator (money) in a competitive market. Any race to bottom is going to doom you to failure.
Intention + strategic framework gives you the power of choice: Agility, flexibility and innovation. @brutalpixie
Adapting a known strategic framework
to underpin your content strategy is an easy and reliable way of building a content system, because they tend to have the what, why, when, how, who, plus measurement and feedback loops baked into them. The strategic framework you choose will determine the granularity of your system.