Despite best intentions for web content management or enterprise content management, these initiatives have been known to give in quickly to millions of orphan documents, and terabytes of data and content that is distributed all over the enterprise, hopelessly outdated, buried behind several layers of folder hierarchies, and tagged in so many ways that it shows up in every search. The CMS becomes a catch-all bucket for everything irrelevant. The end result – a new content strategy initiative has to be kicked off.
In fact, there may not be a company in existence that doesn’t have “Click Here for Content Chaos” written boldly across its chest.
There is also no doubt that a small sub-segment of the Content Management strategy, i.e. Customer Facing Websites, is generally better managed than internal ones. What may make the other segments lag in performance? We’ll address it here.
Planning beyond the textbook
Every content assessment starts with questions like what the types of content are, where it is, how it is generated, who takes the ownership, who will edit it, who the users of the content are, the medium of distribution needed, the kind of governance needed and so on. We even throw in user experience angles and great web design analysis.
It looks like we’ve got it covered. Not quite. All said and done, we did a bottom up analysis if we followed the textbook. What’s needed instead is a drill down from the top. The kind of analysis that we hopefully do for our customer facing websites; we start with the “reason for existence” and “purpose of life” questions, carefully planning data, tools and material to meet the needs of customers who we wish would instantly take the actions we want them to take.
Three rules surface:
These rules work because you commit to not taking anyone for granted; some examples include:
Every user is a customer. Start a war for their attention and money. You’ll be amazed at what you discover.
Defining hard metrics
Every good content strategy should define business facing metrics.
|The right metrics(depends on your business)
Do you notice the difference? We deliver what is being measured. Yes, in most cases the linkage to business P&L can be derived, but why settle for indirect. Indirect linkage means that your focus on business is implicit. Make it explicit. Take the risk. Be accountable. Show the results and get a better bonus for everyone.
It also helps to categorize the metrics:
Holding people accountable
Branding your users as customers doesn’t absolve them of responsibility. Unlike external customers your user turned customers owe you and their own performance, their inputs.
Building up a well-oiled business machine, means integrating content with business processes and triggers. Your customers are expected to provide you insights into those aspects but you are accountable for integration. The beautiful fabric that is knitted together with a harmonious design is your creation. It draws in your customers and develops into a self-sustaining ecosystem. Adoption within an ecosystem further fuels adoption which in turn drives the stated metrics.
Finally, content is not just blogs and documents, but data too. Marriage of business processes, and any information related to the processes, is enterprise content management. Don’t limit the scope. You may indeed have a road map based on resource constraints, but the road map should have the right milestones. If the road map vision is limited by currently available resources (time, money, information) then accountability suffers, and you can safely say goodbye to the investments being made.
Taking a vacation – maybe not
You created a self-sustaining ecosystem. Take a break, enjoy, and then get right back to fixing it. Because that’s the one constant – change.