Deciding when to work with a digital strategist

Employing digital strategists to guide you through the unfamiliar landscape of developing a digital strategy can have its benefits. However, making the most of expertise within your organisation can often be as effective as bringing in outside assistance. This resource guides you through the initial steps of planning your digital strategy to help you identify where digital expertise may be of benefit.

Salisbury International Arts Festival – the orchestra stand to receive applause at the end of a performance in Salisbury cathedral
Photo courtesy of British Heritage Cities © British Heritage Cities

Deciding when to work with a digital strategist

1. What it means to be a digital expert

A digital strategist is an expert individual or team that understands all the points of contact between your audience and your organisation where digital plays a part. In this resource, we explain how you can use your expertise, and when you might want to use a digital strategist.

You will learn more about the specialist areas they can provide help in when using digital technology. For example, how to use digital tools to make workplace routines or processes more efficient or effective.

2. Using your expertise

Our expert, Dr Amelia Knowlson, University of Leeds, discusses how your digital strategy reflects your organisation.

Your expertise puts you in the best position to write a digital strategy for your organisation. Depending on the size of your organisation and your organisational goals, digital strategies can be as simple or as complicated as you need them to be. Talking to a digital strategist or expert as well might be helpful after you have analysed what you want to achieve in a digital strategy.

A digital strategy should reflect your organisation. The vision and goals of your organisation should be the starting point when thinking about creating a digital strategy. It is a good idea to involve other people from your organisation as well as audiences to help you gain an understanding of external and internal needs beyond your expertise. For example, a digital strategy should be something that the whole organisation can buy into and should engage staff, trustees, and volunteers across your organisation in order to be actionable and effective.

Key things to remember are:

  • Anyone can create a digital strategy, but it is important to remember to engage colleagues and audiences from across your organisation and have buy-in from senior management and trustees to make your strategy actionable.
  • Your digital strategy should reflect your organisation; it should be authentic and feel right for you.
  • Your digital strategy can be as simple or as complicated as you need it to be. Above all it should be reflective of what your organisation is now and where you want to be.

Sources of support

There also are many resources out there that can help you create your digital strategy including the Arts Council’s Digital Culture Network and Guidance on Digital Policy and Strategy.

A brief list of other recommended resources to use and follow up on:

3. Draft your digital strategy

The framework below is based on the Arts Council England’s ‘Digital policy and plan guidelines’. It provides a guide to help you develop the key components of your digital strategy.

Template of a mission statement asking how would you describe your organisation's overall purpose?

Using this framework will help you focus on digital strategy priorities and will enable you to think about where expert knowledge may be most needed.



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Tullie House Museum, Carlisle – a couple explore an exhibition on the Border Reivers, the people who lived in the Anglo-Scottish Border region from the late 13th to early 17th centuries.

Using templates to create your digital strategy

Using templates to create your digital strategy will help you work through a set of diagnostic questions that indicates your organisation’s recommended priority areas along with relevant performance indicators to guide you through digital transformation.

 
Interior of York Minster illuminated for the exhibitions and performances that are part of Minster Nights

Using a situational analysis to create your digital strategy

Start planning your digital strategy by learning how to conduct a situational analysis and exploring the SWOT and PESTLE frameworks. This resource highlights the benefits of taking a structured approach and helps you identify suitable resources to assess your organisation’s digital readiness.

 

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Audiences Digital strategy Experience Mission Objectives Strategies
Published: 2022
Resource type: Articles


Creative Commons Licence Except where noted and excluding company and organisation logos this work is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) Licence

Please attribute as: "Deciding when to work with a digital strategist (2022) by Dr Amelia Knowlson supported by The Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0




 
 


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Digital Heritage Hub is managed by Arts Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with The Heritage Digital Consortium and The University of Leeds. It has received Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and National Lottery funding, distributed by The Heritage Fund as part of their Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. Digital Heritage Hub is free and answers small to medium sized heritage organisations most pressing and frequently asked digital questions.

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