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Consulting

A fantastic image to introduce The Word Factory's consulting & advisory services page

Margot Carmichael Lester leads the content development and management strategy team.

Affinergy

Margot is very quick to understand business communication needs and a great listener. She is creative, funny, and not shy about suggesting alternative ideas and approaches. She has great enthusiasm and tenacity, which are balanced by experience and judgment.
Peyton Anderson, CEO, Affinergy, Inc.


Content Consulting:
Strategy, Management, Staffing
& Talent Development

  • Can’t keep up with the demand for fresh content?
  • Want to streamline your content creation process?
  • Wondering how to build/re-form a content team or wrangle freelancers?
  • Crave outside input on your content or communications strategy?

Nice photo of The Word Factory's founder Margot Lester by Alex ManessI've got you covered.

I work up and down the content supply chain to help you create, manage and distribute text, video, audio, photos, etc., more strategically to drive business goals. That includes designing better content workflows and processes, identifying and developing talent, working with a CMS and creating an integrated strategy that supports operations and the bottom line.

Together, we develop a set of Gold Standards -- a common language of quality and criteria that content producers can use to create consistent, engaging content that resonates with readers/viewers. Then, using a set of proven professional strategies tied to organizational goals, I build a creative development and content management process to help you get more kinds of content from one core concept. I can even create training sessions to continue to build staff capacity, or to introduce new concepts in a more formal way.

Our approach to team writing helps unify the content creation process, streamlining work flows, improving productivity and creating higher quality content faster and with less drama. And if your team needs writing and process training and coaching I can take care of that, too.

Sample Engagements

I advise national media companies and brands like AOL, Institutional Investor, Staples and InterMedia Outdoors on how to solve complex communications and content operations issues, including:

Digital Transformation & Reorganization

I advised a major entertainment industry association on the content aspects of its digital transformation initiative, including performing a gap analysis, creating a staffing plan, writing job descriptions, recommending staff assignments, designing new processes, and providing training to level up skills and introduce new approaches for content creation.

On another project, I advised a national magazine specializing in long-form journalism on reorganizing its newsroom to prepare for a digital-first initiative. I interviewed all members of the content team (writers, editors and designers) to assess strengths and interests, and then suggested how to re-form teams and change roles to produce new and existing content types more efficiently without a change in headcount.

Corporate & Product/Service Messaging

From creating an entirely new messaging architecture, developing messages for a specific product, service or audience, or revising existing language, I can help.

One diversified company hired me to align top-line messaging for each of its verticals to ensure consistency. I worked with a start-up ecommerce company to create its first messaging architecture and to revise it prior to a successful IPO.

I've also worked with an international personal safety devise maker to revise its marketing messages into language that resonates more with its target audiences. The "translation" included using more emotional and values-based words and recasting concepts to align with the emotional and functional needs of customers. The same client engaged us to similarly evolve product packaging language for a major retail promotion.

Learn more about our messaging framework: the Key Message Architecture.

Content Strategy & Audits

A major membership organization engaged me to review its current content offerings and develop a new menu of content types designed to support internal business objectives and meet audience needs. I also reviewed content product and developed a set of criteria to ensure new work was produced to standard. For another project, I was part of a team of external experts advising an international online content hub on how to upgrade its home page, and to produce more content from its internal team and through better management of user-generated content.

Content Team & Brand Newsroom Operations

I've worked with several companies to streamline content creation, speed time to publish and improve content workflow management. I review the current process for developing content from concept to delivery, identify bottlenecks and recommend changes to ensure quality and increase speed to market. For companies seeking to establish higher-quality output, I create a shared language of quality (based on your own samples of high-performing content) and criteria for reproducing it. Then I train them how to provide actionable feedback that reduces confusion and cycle times. I also design systems and processes that dovetail with marketing automation and content management systems to produce top quality in short order. For instance, I recently helped a music industry group develop a new creative brief, content calendar and project planning framework to establish standard processes across the digital content team.

Onboarding & QA

A company needing to engage freelance content producers engaged me to create onboarding and quality-assurance processes. I developed a template to ensure standard formatting; selected models of high-performance copy and created criteria to help writers create relevant, well-produced content; and provided a story-planning strategy to speed approvals and reduce misdirections. I can do the same for user-generated content programs.

Communications Strategy

With multiple decades in content marketing, corporate communications, and public and analyst relations, I'm ready to help you develop or hone your strategy, or show you how to operationalize it. I can guide, brainstorm or evaluate ideas to help you reach your goals. I created an industry analyst outreach program for a disruptive technology company, securing valuable coverage that influenced investors and partners. Other projects include managing media outreach and op-ed writing for the SwitchPoint conference, and a social media strategy for a candidate for local office.

Content Migration

I collaborated with a large company's tech team to develop a plan to migrate content to a new web platform, including planning workflows, prioritizing content to be upgraded or created, and trouble-shooting.

 

What can I help you solve today?

To learn more about our strategic consulting, contact Margot Carmichael Lester.

WOBSAM

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