Content Strategy Maturity Model

Do you ever wonder where you stand when it comes to your content strategy practice? By practice, I mean either how you pursue your profession or how your organization incorporates content strategy work. Wherever you are, you are not alone!

Over the course of about 14 months from 2017-2018, Dina Lewis, Hilary Marsh, and I (Carrie Hane) set out to find out how content strategy was being practiced in associations. Through a grant by the Angerosa Research Foundation and Stratton Media Strategies to the American Society of Association Executive (ASAE) Foundation, we conducted a two-phase research study. What we learned from surveying and talking to over 600 association professionals was that there is a maturity model ranging from beginning to intermediate to advanced. Of course there are many organizations that have not started to incorporate content strategy, but that was out of scope for the study.

The full report of the study's findings will be published in June 2019. For now, let's take a brief look at the maturity model.

Association Content Strategy Maturity Model

Association Content Strategy Maturity Model

What starts as perhaps one person starting to apply a strategy approach the content in their daily work grows as success is shared. Over time, that person--a champion, if you will--gains allies and sets the stage for multi-department adoption through cooperation. This is where the Dunning-Kruger pit of despair comes in. If you're at the intermediate level, you know what you aren't doing and you may feel like you aren't doing enough. We heard this from many of the people at the intermediate level. But those people were also doing amazing work. About two-thirds of the organizations we surveyed are at the intermediate level.

Only 11% of organizations are at the advanced level. If you look at the characteristics of this stage, you may begin to see why. To make the leap from intermediate to advanced involves real cultural and organizational change. But when you're there, it's a great place. Though not part of our study, the Greater Kalamazoo Association of REALTORS is at the advanced level, as described by Angela McMillan in a previous post, How to Develop a Member-Centric Approach.

While the things we learned from this study confirmed a lot of what the three of us see in our work (which includes over 60 years collectively working with associations), we think it's important that observations are now quantified. It is our hope that when people--especially senior leaders and executives--see what *could* be, they'll start to evolve to become more mature when it comes to content strategy.

Associations cannot afford not to develop a content strategy. Content is essential to an association’s business. This is true in almost every type of organization, from small non-profit to Fortune 200 businesses.

If you are ready to start that journey, Tanzen wants to help. No matter where you are, we can start there. Get in touch and let us know what you challenges are.