We’ve all been there… upper management makes a business decision, moves the company in a new direction… leaves the front-line grunts to deal with the repercussions. I’m sympathetic. Really I am.

But it’s more than a little entertaining seeing the process play out on social media.

The story behind these tweets for anyone who follows sports media less obsessively than I do: Fox Sports recently shifted its web content strategy to “all video,” laying off a number of writers and editors in the process.

It’s not hard to understand their motivation. Video content on the web monetizes better than text, for a variety of reasons. (That’s also why every content site on the web has auto-play video at the top of every article these days.) And as a television network, Fox Sports theoretically has an ample supply of video programming they’re already producing. Repurposing their television programming is more efficient than creating unique material for the web.

Except when it isn’t.

As those tweets show, Fox is now running into a problem. They’ve got no way to cover newsworthy events that they aren’t actively recording. So they’re reduced to begging other journalists for clips. Meanwhile, respected baseball columnist/Fox Sports personality Ken Rosenthal has started publishing his work on Facebook – for free.

Now, if you’re able to get past the obvious “big company did something dumb and is now dealing with it in a very public and embarrassing manner schadenfreude,” there’s a lesson in here for companies of all sizes.

The best, most beautiful web site in history will fail without an appropriate content plan.

When you plan out your site, start with your content strategy. What sort of information will you be publishing? How often? Will you be creating the content yourself, or will you need to hire someone? What about photos? Will you have them? If not, can you get them? Is stock photography readily available for the sort of content you’re publishing, or will you have to go out and have photos taken?

No plan is perfect, and you’ll never anticipate every possible scenario. But does your content plan account for most of the situations you’ll want to reflect on your web site? If not, you might need a re-think.

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