How to Conduct a Content Workshop

March 24, 2016 by Anna Hrach in Strategy Content Workshop Feature

Building great content is like building a house. Your content strategy is your blueprint, and content marketing and creation are the tools that bring those plans to life. Unfortunately, just like a real house, if you don’t build it according to plan, it can all come crashing down.

Sound familiar? That’s because obsessing over how content “sounds” is easy. The hard part is laying that content strategy foundation, and figuring out why we’re creating all this content to begin with.

Thankfully, we have a way to sort it all out. It’s called a content workshop, and it’s designed to reveal your business’s most pressing goals and your customers’ greatest needs. The result is better, more efficient and relevant content for you and your customers. Just follow the instructions below, and you can conduct it all on your own.

First, gather everything you’ll need ahead of time.

  • Sharpie markers.
  • One 25” x 30” self-stick easel pad.
  • A comfy space with room to hang stuff on the walls.
  • One facilitator.
  • Two to four content stakeholders or approvers, plus four hours of their time.
  • Openness, eagerness and a lack of preconceptions.

Next, start workshopping!

Step 1: Hang six self-stick easel pad sheets, side by side, on the wall.

Step 2: Label the first sheet “Content Goals and Objectives.”

  • Ask the group, “What exactly do we want content to accomplish for our brand?”
  • Record the responses on the sheet, and summarize into three to five key themes.
  • Finally, narrow the key themes down to one overarching theme.

Step 3: Label the second sheet “Brand Attributes.”

  • Ask the group, “How is our brand perceived on a good day?”
  • Then ask the group, “How is our brand perceived on a bad day?”
  • Record responses on the sheet, and summarize into key themes.

Step 4: Label the third sheet “Always.”

    • Ask the group, “What does our brand always deliver to our customers?”
    • Only record absolutes for this exercise. If the answer is “sometimes” then don’t record it.
  • Note: This step can be difficult, but that’s OK. Accept the challenge!

Step 5: Label the fourth sheet “Outperforms.”

  • Ask the group, “How does our brand outperform competitors?”
  • Record responses on the sheet, and summarize key themes.

Step 6: Label the fifth sheet “Rely On.”

    • Ask the group, “What do our customers rely on us for?”
    • Record responses on the sheet, and summarize into key themes.
  • Note: Funny thing … summarizing into key themes is a key theme of this workshop … get it?

Step 7: Label the sixth sheet “Content Compass.”

  • Use all of the information and themes provided, and complete the following sentence:
    “Convince [name of audience] that our brand [fulfills these three to five promises], thereby [accomplishing this ultimate content goal].”

Step 8: Use your content compass to audit existing content and guide the creation of new content.

You did it!

Got it? Good. Now go grab a much-deserved drink, because you just drafted up the blueprints for useful, usable, successful content.

Want to share this process with a friend? We have a downloadable guide you can grab for yourself.

Need some extra help with your content workshop? Get in touch — we’d love to help!

Get in touch with Ethology

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About the Author

A word nerd in every sense, I absolutely love my job and live for tackling our clients' toughest content problems. I'm an advocate for change, mixing things up and staying as far away from the comfort zone as possible. But don't get me wrong: all work and no play really isn't my style. I thrive on building genuine relationships with clients and coworkers — preferably over a happy hour drink or two.


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