Two Cisco-branded boxes stacked upon one another.
PHOTO: Leonardo Rizzi

Eeshita Grover, director of marketing for Cisco, cares deeply about content. It’s what drives digital experiences, product experiences and serves as a connective tissue between her brand and her customers. She also knows that loving it is one thing. Leveraging it through things like analytics, SEO, metadata and content governance is a whole different set of challenges. 

What else is important? Being passionate about writing. Content doesn't exist without the author — well, usually... “Everyone thinks they can write and probably they can,” Grover told us at CMSWire’s 2019 DX Summit. “But at the same time I think good writing or writing which is going to make an impact has to be done diligently. You have to put in the thought and the process around it.”

Struggling to Meet Content Goals

Marketers naturally want to have great content helping them deliver great content experiences to their customers and prospects. But they routinely find it challenging to hit their content goals. According to the Content Marketing Institute's and MarketingProfs' 2020 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report published in October, the top most-cited content marketing goals achieved in the last 12 months were:

  • Creating brand awareness (86%)
  • Educating audience(s) (79%)
  • Building credibility/trust (75%)

However, fewer B2B marketers say their efforts delivered success against goals like:

  • Building subscribed audiences (45%)
  • Generating sales/revenue (53%)
  • Building loyalty with existing clients/customers (63%)

The Need for a Publisher's Mindset

What's holding back brands from achieving content goals? It's not always production of content and resources, according to Hilary Marsh, chief strategist and president of the Content Company. "With the clients I work with, they already have content coming out the doors and windows, but what they don't have is the understanding that if you're online, you're a publisher," Marsh told CMSWire. "And you have to take the same kind of care that publication editors and publishers do for the content that they have."

Velocity, Consistency Are Vital in Content Production

Grover thinks about ways to improve content for her brand every day. Grover discussed in a video interview with CMSWire the value of a good content program and the challenges of what it takes to get there. One of the most important elements? Consistency across departments and content authors.

A phrase Grover uses often is “velocity of content creation,” or the speed at which content is created and the number of people creating content. “All of that,” she said, “has to kind of keep up. It can't be that five people are doing it today and three people are going to do it tomorrow. Because right there your messaging is gone, the consistency is lost.”

Grover cares deeply about her content programs keeping up with the pace of product development. This is where content silos can happen. The reality she grapples with is this scenario: a market launch happens, and five days later the product actually hits the market. “In between that time,” she said, “a lot has already happened. So, how do you keep up? How do you keep track?”

This is why Grover pushes for a policy-based common platform for content management. She envisions a world in which all content is produced and published in one platform, with one inventory and one repository “where you can watch the traffic, you can see the analytics, you can see the roles and responsibilities of the different content generators.”

Content Analytics in Silos

One of the critical pieces missing today in terms of making key decisions regarding content is understanding analytics. You can run Google Analytics or whatever mechanism you're using to collect the metrics required. However, the metrics collected are often siloed, Grover said. You can measure number of clicks, number of new visitors vs. existing visitors and number of click-throughs. But it’s not helpful, she said, if it’s all disjointed. “How do you come up with a conclusion based on these analytics?” Grover asked. “Can you actually figure out lead generation? Can you figure out the customer journey, what brought them here and where do they go next and those kind of things? I think that's the information that is missing from our data today.”

If marketers can truly collect that data and make a cohesive story out of it at the same time, “we’d probably be an inch closer to what our customers really need,” Grover said. “... Do I have a holistic view today? I cannot say that.”

Related Article: How to Avoid Content-in-a-Vacuum Fatigue: The Secrets Marketers Need to Know

Don't Ignore Metadata

Grover, in trying to keep up with quality content generation that resonates for customers and prospects, invests in SEO and metadata practices. Search is an ever-evolving dynamic, and Google often is updating its search algorithms.

Grover and Cisco can always do their part. Enter metadata. “Metadata has quite a bit of value, and the reason I say that is because SEO is heavily dependent on metadata,” Grover said. “Not only from an external search perspective but also if you're using a content management system, you want your content searchable. Think about a CMS that is managing content that is written by 5,000 to 7,000 content generators. I cannot keep track of the number of folders, who created what and what time. Metadata search comes in handy from that perspective as well.”

Good metadata strategies lead to good “content hygiene,” according to Grover. “Some authors,” she said, “are very conscious about the fact that they have to associate keywords and associate metadata with their content types or their content assets. But not everyone follows that governance. Not everyone pays attention to the value of it.” 

According to Grover, metadata can be anything: date the brand published content, the date it was authored, the date it was updated, the content subject, the product, the keywords. “So in terms of the value of metadata internally and the value of metadata externally, I think if we as authors don't keep that in mind, we're doing a huge disservice to our audience,” Grover said. “Whether it’s internal or external, we should really give importance to setting up metadata guidelines and best practices, because you don't want metadata that is too diluted. It has to be specific enough, but also not that specific that it makes the whole model so tight that there is no fluidity in it. So I think from that perspective the value of metadata is extremely important.”

Related Article: Make Sure to Feed the Robots Plenty of Metadata

Create Strong Relationships With IT 

Grover is a big believer in striking a strong relationship across the aisle and into IT. But it has to go beyond the whole “fix this for me, please.” 

Recently, an IT manager in Cisco’s Bangalore team asked Grover to speak to her team about how she uses certain tools. “She said just come and tell us what's a typical day for you in terms of the tools you use in terms of what you do and how does IT have a role to play,” Grover said. She ended up walking IT through an issue regarding content rendering on Cisco.com.

Grover appreciated the opportunity to connect with IT on a personal level and was excited IT showed interest in establishing that relationship. “They were able to see it from a customer's perspective,” Grover said. “... Just bringing some examples of real life issues to the table and saying hey, this is an issue. So let's figure out how to work on this. And it's been great.”