Critical risk factors in content strategy

Via Twitter, we came across a blog post by Nick Milton on The four management territories for Knowledge Management. His post contained a diagram where he used the Boston Square to describe four management territories, and their impact on Knowledge Management.

We wondered how this diagram would look if it related to content strategy. We came up with a diagram that describes the critical risk factors in content strategy – the aspects you will need to ensure you get right within the management culture that exists inside your organisation:


Here is Nick’s original diagram for Knowledge Management:

 four management territories for KM

Your view of the diagram will be influenced by your view of what content strategy is. There are many definitions, and it’s a bit like the blind men describing an elephant. So here’s another diagram, describing the main views on what is content strategy:

The main views on what is content strategy

Do you agree with our Critical risk factors in content strategy diagram?

Would you change it any way? Please share your thoughts, using the comments box below.


Larry Kunz

Wow — what a great topic. Thanks for bringing it up. I subscribe to a holistic view of content strategy: as Rahel Bailie wrote, I believe that content strategy “includes aligning content to business goals, analysis, and modeling, and influences the development, production, presentation, evaluation, measurement, and sunsetting of content, including governance.”

That said, I’m struggling a bit to understand your diagram. I think you’re saying that the box in each quadrant represents the element of content strategy that’s most at risk — or that requires the most attention for the strategy to succeed. But rather than there being a separate element for each quadrant, I think we’re more likely to see something like Nick’s diagram: a “golden territory” for content strategy (I think it would be lower right quadrant) and a place where an effective content strategy is nearly impossible to enact (the upper left). In other words: an environment where there are few barriers to content strategy, and an environment where the number of risk factors is prohibitive.

I’m anxious to hear what others have to say.

Ellis Pratt

Hi Larry. Yes, the areas at risk, or the areas you will need to pay particular attention to.

If you have a delegated management structure and a cooperative/willing set of staff, you may get lots of content but not much focus on its relevance to the organisation’s goals. So there may be a need to remind staff of the core strategy.

If you have a delegated management structure and uncooperative/competing staff, you may need to make sure there’s a set of rules to ensure people create content in a way that’s good for the organisation and not solely for the departmental silo.


Sarah O'Keefe

Hi Ellis,

Very interesting. I’m going to use this in my presentation tomorrow at LocWorld! (properly credited, of course). I’m not sure I agree completely. For example, the upper left aka the Quadrant of Trouble, will entail significant change management issues.


Ellis Pratt

Hi Sarah. I’ve mapped quadrants from Kristina Halverson’s Content Strategy Grid onto the axes. You’re right about the importance of change management. There are other diagrams that describe the components of content strategy, so perhaps they might map to the axes in a better way.

Are you a Sprint, Distance or Marathon Runner in Technical Communication? | clairedwood

[…] This the reaction to the gun going off at the start. In terms of content strategy, you will have immediate buy-in from your managers and they will be on the starting line with you. If they are not, or they are on a staggered starting line, consider the Distance Runner’s approach. Some enthusiasm and knowledge of content strategy to be able to link it to business objectives and customer needs is nice here. You also need to assess how the culture of the company will lend itself to developing a content strategy and what things to take into account. See Ellis Pratt’s blog “Critical Risk factors about organisation cultures“. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.