Engaging the Leadership Team and Identifying Roles in Your Content Marketing Strategy - dummies

Engaging the Leadership Team and Identifying Roles in Your Content Marketing Strategy

By Stephanie Diamond

Throughout your content marketing project, you want to focus on keeping upper management engaged. You can make your plan easier to shepherd by understanding how the best leaders approach change.

According to the Project Management Institute’s “In-depth Report on Enabling Organizational Change through Strategic Initiatives,” highly effective leaders do the following:

  • Focus on well-defined milestones and metrics

  • Ensure that their senior managers are committed to the change

  • Take ownership and expect accountability

  • Use standardized project management practices

  • Expect that the executives who sponsor the project are actively engaged

With these criteria in mind, read on to discover the kinds of questions you need to answer as your quest for management buy-in continues.

Understanding what leaders want to know

Be aware of the fact that the managers who have to sign off on your initiative may be just as fearful about losing their status or their job as everyone else on the project. For this reason, be proactive and answer the questions that keep managers up at night:

  • How can you demonstrate that the plan will be successful? Managers want to know that you have thought the project through and are prepared to make it a success. If they feel that you are ill-prepared to take the project to its conclusion, you will know that immediately. You need to lay out the pros and cons and discuss how to deal with possible failures. Of course, you can’t foresee everything that will happen, but you can plan for the ups and downs that go into a typical initiative. Your manager wants to know that you are aware of things that could go wrong and have thought about how to mitigate them.

  • What metrics will you use? It’s important for leaders to know that you have consulted with IT and other departments about which measures will be the most predictive of success.

  • How long will it take before we see results? Managers hate risk. Can you do an experimental project that takes a short time and demonstrates positive results?

  • What are the budget implications? Can your experimental pilot program use a small budget instead of moving into a big upfront expenditure?

  • How will this help us overtake the competition? You must be able to answer questions about the competition. Be clear what your competitors are doing. Do they already have a program like this in place? Are they likely to use it to take your customers away?

  • What else can you do to ensure success? Try to present more than one alternative pilot plan that you can implement in the event that the first one doesn’t succeed. Show your manager that you have a plan B.

  • What happens if we don’t go forward with this project? One of the key points that every manager wants to know is what happens if the company doesn’t move forward with the project. Will there be consequences that the manager is unaware of? Aside from what the competition is doing, you want to present any trends you see. Demonstrating that your company will be left behind can help promote buy-in.

Understanding how roles will work

After you have made sure that you have looked at all the issues that may arise from implementing the project, you need to spell out the specific roles that each person needs to play. Although those roles may be obvious to you, they’re not always obvious or viewed in the same way by other team members.

Let stakeholders know what’s expected of them. Ask them what they need to complete their roles. Your greatest expense will most likely be your staff allocation. Create teams of stakeholders and work together with each group to spell out roles and responsibilities.