Implementing a new web content management system takes time and careful planning. But before you even get to the point where you select a CMS, you must have a solid understanding of your content management strategy. For many, this process is even harder than implementing the software.
The Benefits and Challenges of a Content Management Strategy
Why do you even need a content management strategy? It's simple. We no longer want to create separate content for every need – the public website, the mobile app, the customer support portal, printed documents we send to customers and prospects. We need a way to create content that marketing can reuse in different forms and at different times depending on the person.
New research from the Content Marketing Institute found that 72% of organizations are challenged with managing their content strategically. What does that mean? It means they don't have a good handle on the content they need, the content they have, how to best manage it to support a wide range of use cases, and who is responsible for it. These are critical things to know before you start a website initiative, a mobile initiative or any other marketing/business initiative that requires content.
When you spend the time to document your approach to managing content, you gain greater understanding and buy-in from employees. They see the big picture and how content maps to the full buyer's journey. This vision enables them to deliver a consistent set of content to the right person at the right time. Often the messages sent are targeted personalized messages at each stage of the journey according to the survey, something you can't do well with manual processes and custom content for each experience.
Strategy + Technology = Content Management Success
The CMI survey found that more education is required on how to design a content strategy that will scale. It also found that organizations need to figure out how to better use technology to manage content and how to develop a strategy to manage content. These three needs are often tightly intertwined. Think about it: you select your technology using your content strategy and content design as key inputs to the decision-making process. If you pick a technology without considering how you plan to create and manage your content, you aren't likely to select the right technology.
So, what makes up a strategic content strategy? According to the CMI survey, there are a few things (the percentages show how many organizations have each element in place today):
- Style/brand guidelines (77%)
- Personas (64%)
- Content team (63%)
- Performance analysis (57%)
- Formal workflow processes (42%)
Other elements that made the list include structured content (31%), audit reporting (30%), governance processes (29%) and taxonomy (25%).
As for content technologies currently in place, a Web CMS was at the top of the list, followed by collaboration and workflow tools and digital asset management. What is interesting is that over 50% don't feel they currently have the right technology in place today to support their requirements. Does this mean the technology doesn't exist? No. It means it's not a simple decision to go out and buy a content management technology.
Defining Your Content Management Strategy
There's no one right way to develop your content management strategy. But here are a few things you can do.
- Get some help. If you work with an agency, see if they have a content strategist who can help you understand your content needs and outline the right content strategy. If you are staying with your existing CMS provider but want to improve your approach to managing content, see if they have an expert who can work with your team.
- Create a content team that will provide services across the company. They will be responsible for defining the strategy and ensuring the right technology is in place to support it. Roles on the team should include a content strategist, a content architect, a technology expert, developer and there should be input from business departments.
- Stop thinking about content as an input to an experience and instead think of it as a business asset that you leverage to build better relationships. When you look at content like a business asset you take a wider view of its use across the company, and how it contributes to the seamless, consistent experience regardless of channel or device.
- Pick your content management technology strategically. You may start with one use case, but when you select your CMS or other technology, think of how you can use it for other uses cases, or how it supports the creation and management of content for multiple use cases.
Some Resources to Help
Curious to know more about content management strategy and best practices for web content management? Here are a few resources that you might find interesting:
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