Live from ConfabEDU: Too Many Cooks!

Too Many Cooks: How to overcome content interference so you can do your job, by Jared Thomas Meyer

Content interference can result in websites that don’t reflect goals, movie posters that don’t reflect the movie, and logos that are terrible.

You end up with: https://xkcd.com/773/

What is content interference?

The unsolicited, unwanted, and often uninformed opinion of an interloper that delays or alters carefully crafted content.

We ask for feedback in our process. Content interference isn’t feedback.

Why do people interfere?

  • Visibility is power
  • Competing interests
  • Content strategy is a mystery
  • Expertise is really difficult to prove (and easy to fake)

Content interference is high risk

People want to make meaningful contributions. Their input feels personal, and the content is important to them

How do you decrease interference?

  • Strategic approach
    • Change your culture
    • Change the way you work
  • Tactical approach
    • Listen
    • Include
    • Evangelize
    • Depersonalize
    • Be specific

Listen to more than just words

Start with their problems. Start every project with interviews.

Include everyone that you can

Make it a safe space, and create mutual meaning. We need trust in order to succeed. Success requires people to hold one another accountable.

Depersonalize and align on mutual purpose

Point to governance documents, lean on data and best practices so that no one feels this is personal. But don’t dehumanize.

Evangelize to make content converts

Share information from this conference! Do lunch and learns! Create or join a committee.

Be specific about what you want

The more specific you are, the less you steamroll. Focus on motivations over actions.

Essential elements for success

  1. A culture of empowerment and integrity
  2. A boss that supports you

Your work matters.

Marli Mesibov

Marli is a content strategist with a passion for the user experience. Her work spans websites, web applications, and mobile. Marli is the VP of Content Strategy at the UX design agency Mad*Pow, where she helps healthcare, finance, and educational organizations communicate with their audiences. Marli is a frequent conference speaker, and has spoken at conferences including Content Strategy Forum and LavaCon. She can also be found on Twitter, where she shares thoughts on content strategy, literature, and Muppets.

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