How to Harvest a Strategic Enterprise Content StrategyPreviously we’ve addressed how to merge content strategy and enterprise content management. It’s no secret that, as more platforms emerge from which to engage customers, vendors and employees, the more challenging that creating and managing content becomes. But it’s not just content; it’s sentiment and feedback that is also crucial to the process. Enterprise content strategy will always be about the content, but for it to be successful, there must be elements of analysis and reporting, as well.

Recently we spoke with Jennifer Beaupre, vice president of global marketing for Acrolinx, to learn more about how Acrolinx is helping its enterprise customers communicate better through content and analysis. Known for its content and communication solutions, Acrolinx helps companies communicate with one unified voice through various outputs, be it corporate messaging, outsourced content development or user-generated information.

Harvest, Analyze, Refine

By combining content harvesting with linguistic excellence, companies can take inventory of their content, no matter what shape it takes, from annual reports, white papers and corporate terminology, and from it, glean keywords, popular terms and overall sentiment. From there, it creates a sort of evolving repository that can monitor new content creation to ensure that it's consistent and representative of key messages.

Once content is created and pushed out to engage with the masses, Acrolinx monitors what people are saying about it, manages a new list of keywords and measures sentiment about current messaging. The result allows companies to tweak their messaging so it sounds more like what their audience says, and less like a corporate messaging machine.

All Content is Social

All content is social, and it’s silly to pretend that any content will be left unseen or untouched by others. For companies to benefit from engagement, they must be willing to keep their content malleable. Content should be flexible enough that it can embrace the social elements it exposed itself to. Content cannot thrive if its creators are unwilling to adapt and evolve it based on feedback from others.

The minute your content goes public, it will be reinvented, reworded and repackaged to meet the needs of the users. Like a game of telephone, you can’t fight, so you might as well join it, by letting it work for you. Here’s how:

  • Harvest & Streamline: Your information is constantly growing and it’s likely stored in multiple locations, across platforms. Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. In this case, your mature crops are the content you’ve already produced. With Acrolinx, for instance, you can search your content to reveal the consistencies so that you can streamline the content creation process by reusing core concepts, expressions, slogans and entire sentences.
  • Share & Receive: Now that your content has been harvested, you can begin to reap the benefits. Developing content isn’t easy and shouldn’t be done in a vacuum, yet often companies create content in silos -- away from their audiences and colleagues. User generated content can serve not only to empower your users, but it can be used to generate new content which accurately represents your audiences, in layman’s terms. Having branding guidelines can help keep your content from getting out of hand, but shouldn’t be too strict that they fail to adapt to changing themes or ideas.
  • Repurpose & Plant: You can’t expect for next year’s harvest to be as plentiful as this year’s if you don’t consistently plant the seeds for discovery. It may been tempting to let new content grow organically, but the more strategic your content strategy is, the better you’ll be at managing it. As new content emerges, new keywords will, too. Take inventory regularly so you can keep information updated. New trends are likely influence next year’s crop, so make sure that content isn’t too rigid as it evolves.

Acrolinx challenges companies to take control of their content, not by keeping it close to their chest, but by letting it go. Content will come and go, but to stay relevant, a sound communications strategy is likely to provide year after year.