Too Many Cooks: The Perils of Content by Committee

Over at Econsultancy today, Catherine Toole addresses one of the more lamented perils of creating effective, expertly written content: too-large groups of too-involved stakeholders.

It’s hard for stakeholders to step back from something as crucial as content, especially if they’re acknowledged experts in the subject. However, if you’re a content creator, you’re an acknowledged expert in combining voice, tone, and accuracy–and possibly SEO, CTAs, and the rest of the alphabet soup of fine-tuned online content. Adding a merit badge in stakeholder management and manipulation can make the whole process that much easier for everyone involved.

Toole has a battery of tips covering everything from who gets crowned a stakeholder to how to solicit feedback. A few highlights:

  • Work to limit the number of people involved by challenging the necessity of each potential stakeholder.
  • Narrow down the area that each stakeholder gets to comment on. People perform better and are more helpful when given a specific role.
  • Explain your decisions ahead of time. If you’ve decided to present old information in a new way, tell the originator of that information why that was necessary.

Content creators can have a lot foisted on them, including managing whole herds of people eager to contribute their two cents and justify their existence for another day. Toole’s list of suggestions lets writers take some of the power back–and teaches them how to streamline a process that’s often frustrating for all involved.

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