There were more than a few challenges, but perhaps what no one knew was that one solution was going to make a dent in all of them.

Silos. Resistance to change. Things being done the same way without questioning. Roles aligned with old processes. Same for team structure. Content redundancies. Lack of guidance about what should be published, what is not a priority. Interdepartmental communication about content efforts.

Some of this sounds like usual fare for associations, but what American Occupational Therapy Association has done is creating a profound positive cultural shift for their organization and their solution may not have been an obvious one.

Chris Davis, Director, AOTA Press, spearheaded the focus on their content strategy, but even she will tell you they didn’t see the full impact of it at first.

What triggered her action was a top-down initiative to identify where the most value was in their member information. Chris is lucky, she has the first thing that matters in developing a content strategy: leadership support. And with that support, she started small by gathering a group of ‘all-day’ content creators and they formed an alliance.

At first content strategy wasn’t necessarily the goal, but two years later it’s clear that they have indeed zeroed in on their content strategy. They do not have a succinct statement, but they have a lot show for it. Here’s a short list:

• They have identified goals that keep the content creators aligned with each other.
• They have created a way to prioritize their content efforts by using the strategic plan as a guide
• (My personal favorite) They have found a way to remove emotion from the discussion about which content gets the resources.
• Their content teams are a powerhouse sharing in a common vision.

There’s a lot more to this story. If you’re coming to #ASAE14 please join us on Tu Aug 12th at 12p in room LO5. Hilary Marsh and I are going to ask Chris questions like:

  • Did you encounter any roadblocks?
    What are the biggest benefits to your organization from having a content strategy?
  • What would you do differently if you went through this again?
  • What should an association expect to spend to address and solve content strategy needs in terms of time and money?
  • Advice for other associations who need a content strategy?

And after the session, you’ll find a lot more info here on this blog about AOTA’s process and their outcomes. I can share this now; what they have done will make you see potential for your own organization.

By Monica Bussolati

Below is a little encouragement to join #ASAE14 in Nashville next week. Soon, yes, but there’s still room for you!


Annual Meeting & Expo