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In-house: properly managing content requests

In-house content teams have a constant challenge on their hands: managing incoming content request from stakeholders. What is the best way to manage priorities?

If you are in a large organization in which your content team is responsible for fielding requests from internal stakeholders, you know the challenge: how in the world can we make sure that requests are coherent, make sense and allow you to properly prioritize them?

You know the feeling, a director asks you for a whitepaper with the expectation that it can be ready by the end of the week.

Or an R&D experts would like to be able to send a series of articles on a specific topic to their peers, but have done no research on the subject and do not really know what should be covered.

Or… the new HR person has this great idea, but it doesn’t serve any of the key business objectives you set for your content program.

This is the daily life of an in-house content manager.

The questions to ask stakeholders

The key to solve most of these problems is to have a clear set of questions to ask internal stakeholders whenever they would like to request the production of a new piece of content.

Gina Balarin published a GREAT template on the Content Marketing Institute website, that goes over 9 key questions you should have on your content request form (you DO have a content request form, right?):

  1. What is your idea/need?
  2. What research have you already done on this topic?
  3. How long do you think it will take to produce?
  4. How many leads do you expect this piece will produce? (this question is relevant only if you are in an industry where your content is used to drive sales leads)
  5. How much will the content cost to produce? (you can use this question to gauge the requestor’s knowledge of the effort required to produce their idea)
  6. Which core business objectives does this fit with? (this is a list of your objectives, you want the requester to see what your objectives are and make sure they realize that they need to fit in one or more of them)
  7. Where does it fit within the sales funnel? (this can be interesting as the requestor will need to think about how it would be used… is it the type of content asset used to attract new prospects or to convince potential customers that are just about to confirm their decision)
  8. What will the impact be if it’s not produced? (this is where you see how important this is to them)
  9. How will you commit to sharing this content with a wider audience? (content marketing only works with a great distribution strategy, asking your stakeholder if it would be worthy enough so that they would themselves share it is a great way to confirm buy-in)

Let’s not forget the audience

The 9 questions-template Gina Galarin would not be complete with a 10th question that we believe is essential here at Toast: who is this content for?

Similar to the way you would ask for which business objective this content serves a purpose, it is also key to make sure the person requesting the content is aware of the various audiences you are working on.

This will bring up questions of who is the real target audience, but could also raise interesting potential audiences not currently on your radar.

 

These types of internal forms allow you to not only validate requests, but when built properly, they can also shed light on blind spots in your program, making it even better, with input from a varied base of stakeholders.