Blog: Content writing and content strategy insights

Arguments for the unconvinced CEO

Been struggling to get through to top managers about the need to catch up with the world?

Jason Ryan shares some cunning arguments based on numbers, Darwinism and the 800 lb gorilla:


My experience over the last two or three years in New Zealand government has taught me that one of the biggest hurdles that public sector communicators face is convincing senior management of the seismic shift in the public affairs function that the Internet is causing. All too often we encounter attitudes like, Yeah, but it's just technology, or even better, It's just not relevant. So I have developed a couple of arguments that I wheel out to wildly varying effect.


IT $480,000: Content $5,000

TUANZ Business Internet Conference is on next week in Wellington. My presentation is 'Usable content: an achievable dream'. It includes an imaginary budget for the CMS of an imaginary company, Telepop Ltd, with a staff of 1,000. I tried to keep the budget realistic, although naturally every project is different.

Telepop's budget for a new intranet
CMS software purchase:$200,000
Software installation/customisation: $150,000
Business analysis: $30,000
Content audit: $8,000
Template design: $30,000
IA, usability tests, extra functionality: $30,000
TOTAL: $480,000

Typically, apart from the audit, Telepop excludes content from the funding loop. Sure, writers will be trained to use the publishing tool, but that's IT training. Telepop assumes everyone can already write good content. They organise a 1-day workshop on writing for the intranet for the web management team (16 people), and consider the job done and dusted.

Initial training for 20 content editors: $5,000

After go-live, the story is even sadder. At the very least, Telepop will pay an annual CMS licence fee of $20,000. Meantime, the web team turns over, trained writers leave, and the number of staff actually writing content increases every year. So what is Telepop's annual budget for training content writers? Zero.

To me this seems a tad bizarre. Telepop has spent a fortune on a virtual high class shop with marble fittings, gold taps, and customised systems. They decided what they would sell, but settled for poor quality stock. Now they plan to pay the rent every year, and never replenish the stock. Alas, the Telepop fantasy is an everyday scenario in the real world.