Should Your Content Team Play to Its Strengths or Fix Its Weaknesses?

Do your personal energy? What about your weaknesses?

One enterprise administration and management principle suggests that folks and groups will obtain extra success by constructing on their strengths than by making an attempt to repair their weaknesses.

The principle doesn’t imply you must ignore weaknesses. Instead, it suggests you must make investments deeply in skills and strengths and reduce the results of any weaknesses. (You can learn extra about it within the e book Strengths Based Leadership, based mostly on the Gallup group’s 30-year analysis mission.

I’m all in on this concept. I’ve seen this concept work for content material groups that obtain success over the long run. But the selection isn’t all the time clear.

Should #ContentMarketing teams double down on their strengths? Or try to fix their weaknesses? It’s not an easy choice, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Strengths vs. weaknesses

A brand new content material advertising and marketing technique brings individuals collectively beneath new charters, with new processes, obligations, and applied sciences. People name this strategy of getting everybody prepared for the brand new state of affairs “change management.”

But, if we’re trustworthy, it’s actually “new management.” None of these things has been carried out earlier than.

One of the primary issues I like to recommend to shoppers on this state of affairs is to do a abilities audit. A abilities audit finds areas of energy in addition to gaps the place extra coaching, outsourcing, or new hires could be wanted.

I’ve seen many firms make the identical mistake after the talents audit: They double down on shoring up perceived (or precise) weaknesses.

But that method instantly builds a steep mountain to climb. Content groups grappling with all of the “new” might really feel demoralized if they’ve to rent and practice new in-house or outsourced workers on the identical time.

Yet many consultants argue that focusing solely on strengths has its pitfalls. Several years in the past, a Harvard Business Review podcast prompt that “so many weaknesses are overdeveloped strengths.”

For instance, amplifying a politically astute group chief’s strengths can create a manipulative boss. Focusing on the pace or creativity of the in-house design group can lead to a group that’s overworked and thought of idiosyncratic of their method or out of contact with enterprise realities.

Deciding whether or not to concentrate on the strengths or weaknesses uncovered in a abilities audit jogs my memory of the aphorism normally attributed to statistician George Box: “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

There are not any simple solutions.

Which strengths and which weaknesses matter extra

In a means, it’s a false alternative. Understanding which strengths and weaknesses matter essentially the most tends to produce one of the best outcomes. You can’t assess which strengths or weaknesses to concentrate on till you perceive which strengths and weaknesses have an effect on your operation’s likelihood of success essentially the most.

For instance, firms constructing content material groups typically ask me, “Should we hire subject matter experts with deep knowledge about our services and industry or great writers who can learn our business over time?”

The reply to that query is sure.

Should #Content teams hire SMEs who know the industry or great writers who can learn? Yes, says @Robert Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Both approaches are equally necessary – till you determine which is able to affect the group’s aims extra. Once you determine which is extra necessary, you’ll be able to concentrate on enhancing the strengths of the method you’ve chosen.

I’ve seen this first-hand in two conditions.

The first concerned a brand new content material group at a big Fortune 100 firm. After conducting a abilities audit, they recognized their strengths: creativity and journalistic storytelling. They additionally uncovered some perceived weaknesses: sales-enablement content material and advertising and marketing measurement.

As a brand new group, in addition they understood that the enterprise positioned a excessive worth on the power to feed nice content material to gross sales and supply analytics to present the content material’s effectiveness. A key piece of the group’s enterprise case was centralizing content material and making it an inside energy. So, their impulse was to shore up their gross sales content material and analytics weaknesses.

To accomplish that, the content material group took over these areas from their outsourced company. They had been positive they might “figure it out.”

But they didn’t. And the group’s fame as a powerful editorial group additionally took a success as they tried to stability their strengths with the dearth of selling and analytical potential. When the enterprise pivoted, they let the editorial group go. They weren’t thought of able to taking up the required advertising and marketing analytics.

Would they’ve survived in the event that they’d let the company deal with their weak areas and continued to excel at editorial or constructed a phased partnership with the company to tackle the talents wanted for gross sales enablement and measurement?

I believe so.

In the second state of affairs, a know-how firm I work with had been rising and molding its content material group for a couple of years. They keep an acute consciousness of their group’s strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, the group chief has created transparency and understanding of their ongoing stability all through the enterprise.

At first, they centered on highlighting their strengths as a content material advertising and marketing group (creativity, trade thought management, and structuring content material for translation and reuse). They didn’t initially tackle sales-oriented content material – they left it to the demand technology group.

Eventually, they partnered with the demand-gen group, which continued to create nice advertising and marketing content material. The content material group helped them develop requirements and playbooks to facilitate translation and repackaging for a number of channels.

Years in, this mannequin works very nicely for them.

It’s a delicate however vital distinction. The first group thought its job was to excel at content material, and it centered on fixing the group’s weaknesses to make {that a} actuality. The second group realized its job was to make the enterprise good at content material, and it centered on its strengths to make {that a} actuality.

The usefulness of any content material abilities audit lies within the potential to align the group’s core strengths to the priorities and abilities of the enterprise.

Over time, in the event you can hold this consciousness, your group’s weaknesses can turn into its best energy.

It’s your story. Tell it nicely.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Which Matters More: Content Skills or Subject Matter Expertise? [Rose-Colored Glasses]

Get Robert’s tackle content material advertising and marketing trade information in simply 5 minutes

Watch earlier episodes or learn the calmly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox every week. 

Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute