Setting expectations throughout a project is obviously important, but I still often forget to address this question: what's on the agenda for a content strategy kickoff? And who should attend?
Each project is different, of course. Your meeting with the content strategist might be in person or (more likely since March 2020) virtual. Invite anyone who will either be hands-on involved in touching or influencing the content or who needs to sign off on it.
Including stakeholders in the content strategy process is extremely important. If they understand the context and approach to your project, the more likely they'll be satisfied you made the right content decisions along the way.
Some kickoff meetings are quick, some spin off to a series of content workshops or interviews where we can go over each section one at a time. Either way, here's a boilerplate agenda of what to expect when you first meet with your newly hired content strategy consultant.
Note that some of these questions may be addressed during your project scoping or project discovery process.
Setting expectations and getting to know all the players is all part of the Magic Layer of content strategy. The Magic Layer is how we work together, our clear communication, and our interactions that bring all the right content strategy deliverables to the table.
Is that all you'll cover in your content strategy kickoff? Probably not. Your project may have other components that will influence the outcomes of your content strategy effort. Be sure to include those on your agenda.
While not officially a part of your content strategy kickoff meeting, you may start to talk about your core messaging priorities.
These content strategy questions will likely stir up a lively discussion among your key stakeholders; if so, you may need a series of conversations or a Core Messaging Priorities Workshop to talk through them and establish your top content needs.
Here are some of the questions involved in a Core Messaging Priorities workshop.
Why should you bother with all of this anyway, when you've already been through a similar experience with marketing or rebranding efforts? That's a great question, and if you have done a lot of this research prior to your content strategy kickoff, you should bring it to the table. This makes for a shorter kickoff meeting, and we all love that.
The point isn't to do redundant work, but to fill in the gaps when it comes to supporting your audience. All of these questions lead to insights and ideas that will help you create, organize, edit, and continue to build a foundational body of website content.
Need help? Ask a content stategist.
This post was updated June 2020.
Shelly Bowen, MFA, is a content writer, content strategist, and founder of Pybop.
For decades, Shelly has written for businesses on complex topics from disease prevention and medical devices to alternative energy and leveraging data. Today, she's hyper-focused on supporting B-B technology businesses. In her spare time, she hikes, kayaks, draws, and works on her T-Bird.
A wide variety of brands rely on Shelly as an essential freelance writer and content strategy resource.