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Content strategy helps an organization align its incentives framework

Somewhere, our incentives are misaligned.

Content makes a business. Content makes a product, its marketing strategy, the sales narrative, onboarding plans, the support center. Content helps their PR and media footprints, and the community voice. In all cases, content strategy has been a lot about buying the content as an investment for planning, operations, systems, and the public facing brand voice.

If we think about the role of content, it is directly related to our all the incentives in whatever role we have. For example if you are a chief marketing officer (CMO) or a product marketing manager (PMM) and you are hiring a content agency or building an in-house team. It gives you the foundations for your own role, for your own success in that role and for the success of the function—marketing itself. Imagine how much difference it makes if the content team in this function has an A player who is just exceptional in their role, vs if the team is doing just an average quality work. How likely it is that you might plan to increase the budget if hiring or retaining that A player is directly tied to your own KPIs and incentives—personal and the KPIs that the organization has defined for you.

Likewise, think about the product interface design. The team invests in the user research findings, they have a design system and the the design team works with the engineering team to ship the right user stories for the customers’ goals. We give a benefit of doubt to ourselves that we have the right processes, people, and tech to do what we are doing the best.

Somewhere, our incentives are misaligned.

What are your incentives of working as a product manager. The goal is to make the product work.

What are the key elements that make a product work that you can control. (For example leave alone competition because you cannot control the competition directly). Pricing, user research, landing pages, sales pitch, onboarding, product marketing, product experience itself.

What gives you joy—when customers use the product and are happy, and they subscribe to a paid plan. What bothers you—when customers do not convert, when they raise support tickets frequently, when they do not upgrade their subscription plan ever even after discussions, and so on. What could be the reasons.

Not everything is in your skillset but the revenue teams continue to measure the success in the number of conversions, and the MRR, ARR. The functional leaders continue to work and optimize their own processes and systems for better results.

Our work in content strategy or content design can bring the right alignment in the incentives of why everyone works in a certain way. For example if you think of certain red flags in the functional metrics such as—an increase in the incident rate noticed by DevOps, increased task completion time because of a new feature in the customer journey, increase in the code volume that is not useful anymore, a marketing campaign that backfired for some reason—some of these might have some roots in the information flow across the teams either for accuracy, or its timing, or in the interpretation of the customer sentiment in the market. This often happens when the intrinsic or extrinsic incentives of different teams do not align and so it impacts the information flow and their respective decision points.

Content itself or content and design when combined could help in the information flow, timely, and for the clarity. Alignment is often a victim of the velocity, to get things done.

Teams design their workflow and the collaboration with each other for their operations, hand-offs, and for the product goals. To make it more favorable for the teams, the organizations should set up clear frameworks for how and where the teams’ incentives also align. This also shows that the organization and their teams are learning under a mature leadership.

Since the content strategists work for the content’s role across the teams and functions for an organization-wide perspective, they can support in defining the foundations for this kind of incentives’ framework. Content helps.

Vinish Garg

Vinish Garg

I am Vinish Garg, and I work with growing product teams for their product strategy, product vision, product positioning, product onboarding and UX, and product growth. I work on products for UX and design leadership roles, product content strategy and content design, and for the brand narrative strategy. I offer training via my advanced courses for content strategists, content designers, UX Writers, content-driven UX designers, and for content and design practitioners who want to explore product and system thinking.

Interested to stay informed about my work, talks, writings, programs, or projects? See a few examples of my past newsletters—All things products, Food for designInviting for 8Knorks. You can subscribe to my emails here.

Vinish Garg is an independent consultant in product content strategy, content design leadership, and product management for growing product teams.