2010 was the year that businesses were introduced to the idea of managing web experiences in the sense that they were encouraged to actually do something about it. 2011 has been the year that organizations tried to do that something -- with varying degrees of success.

Last year around this time, Marisa Peacock wrote an article called “A Look Back at Web Engagement in 2010.” In it, she outlined the key areas that had been covered on the topic of “Web Experience Management” throughout the year. The article highlighted that 2010 had brought us:

  • An abundance of new publishing and social channels that we need to manage.
  • The idea that these new channels operate on a two-way, conversational basis, and we now must closely monitor and manage that conversation.
  • These conversations need to be customized, personalized and optimized.

Over the past year, businesses have added more blogs, social media channels and mobile web sites. They have looked hard at the mobile app vs. mobile web strategy. Web teams have continued to decentralize content, adding specialized content management systems, and globalizing web strategy. This year saw almost every CMS vendor pivot and reposition their message on how they would solve the web experience management challenge by providing more and more features. Businesses were encouraged to produce more and more, and yet more content for marketing, testing, personalized, customer service and SEO purposes.

In short -- 2011 was a year focused on MORE.

In 2012, More Will Not Be Enough

As we move into 2012, the worlds of collaboration, information management and experience management will only get more complex. The growth of content strategy as a practice, content governance as a process, and the idea of content as a valuable asset that should be managed carefully, only reinforces the idea that the quality of our collaboration, the information and the experiences we want to create are going to be a big priority.

This was recently captured very well in a post by Seth Godin (who popularized the topic of “permission marketing"), entitled “Getting serious about the attention economy.”

Every interaction comes with a cost. Not in cash money, but in something worth even more: the attention of the person you're interacting with. Waste it -- with spam, with a worthless offer, with a lack of preparation, and yes, with nervous dissembling, then you are unlikely to get another chance.”

Consider this from the web point of view:

Every Web “Experience” Is Precious

At this year’s Gilbane Conference on Content Management, in a session on web engagement management, Senior Analyst Scott Liewehr essentially confirmed Godin’s view when he said, “the biggest risk to engagement is the failure of a single interaction.”

There is real value in this. Web managers spend inordinate amounts of time optimizing their websites to be found -- but not enough time on what actually happens once they are found. In 2012, organizations need to really focus their efforts on what kind of experience consumers will have once they arrive.

Web page content has mere seconds to engage the user and hold their attention. If web content is hard to consume, stale or filled with errors, it will be a struggle to keep users engaged. The Stanford University “Web Credibility Project” conducted a few years ago found that web site content mistakes are one of the top ten factors that reduce a site’s credibility. A key conclusion was that “typographical errors have roughly the same negative impact on a website’s credibility as a company’s legal or financial trouble.”

And this focus of quality feeds back into SEO strategy as well. As website owners are discovering, more content does not equal better results. With Google’s Panda and subsequent updates in 2011, content quality -- including spelling, grammar, consistency and “shareability” should all factor into search strategies in 2012.

Finally, this focus on engagement and quality will also extend into social media channel plans. In 2012, brand marketers who want to improve engagement on their social media properties will need to ensure that their content remains accurate, consistent and usable across all of the channels they manage.

Your Content Strategy Is Already Fragmented

The practice of content strategy is moving from the “why” to the “how.” The number of companies hiring specialists focused on strategically managing content is rapidly increasing.