Welcome to our new weekly column on Content Strategy. We will serve up a healthy dose of tips, tricks and tools related to content development, design, usability, search engine optimization and other content governance. This week we examine content for the sake of content and what makes it so darn important to the rest of what we do.
Putting the Content in CMS
First, without content, there wouldn’t be content management. The mere fact that our industry decided that we needed a system upon which to keep track of all the words, photos, charts and information that we produce is a clear indication that content is important. Yet, for a lot of companies, content is an afterthought, handled by marketing and legal departments.
Why Content Matters
Before we get on our soap boxes to announce that content is king, let’s take a look at why content matters at all.
Ultimately, what you say, how you say it and when you say it can influence the bottom line. Yet, in order to successfully say anything, in print, online, via social media or mobile device, most companies will agree that some oversight is needed. Too much oversight and what you say seems contrived. Too little oversight and you risk saying the wrong thing.
Create and Publish: Separate or Symbiotic?
In order to push out content confidently, efficiently and prudently, two processes must coexist: one that creates and edits content, and another that pushes it out to the right places. To be done effectively, both parties must know what the other does or else content can get lost and valuable time is wasted.
Let’s work backwards. In order to figure out where and to whom content is pushed out, answer these questions.
- Who is your audience?
- Where do they access information?
- Your website
- Social media
- Mobile devices
- Traditional media (print, televisions, radio)
- How often do you they need up-to-date information?
- How often can your organization push out updated information?
- Who needs to see the content after it’s written?
- Is that the same person that needs to approve it?
- Does your current CMS support multichannel communications?
After you’ve answered these questions, ask yourself:
- Who writes our company’s content?
- Do they know who are audience is?
- Is this person/s knowledgeable about what the company does?
- Do they write content specific for the type of media to which it’s published?
- How do they submit content for review?
- Do they draft content in a CMS?
- How much content can they produce?
- Do they follow up with previously published content or respond to customer comments and questions?
We've Only Just Begun...
Of course, these are just SOME of the questions you should be asking. Jason Falls, AKA the social media explorer, recently developed the 30 Questions For Your Content Strategy, which segments the process into three categories: organizational, audience and content.
Developing content that’s right for your organization requires a strategy, much like everything else you do. A process that enables organizations to streamline the creation, review and publishing, can help to save money, time and improve its return on investment.
Each week we’ll address other strategies and goals for refining the content development process. If there's a subject you would like to see us cover let us know in the comments.