Success in content has frequently been thought of in terms of volume. Generate more, publish more and to more channels, add more keywords, populate more sites, encourage more user generated pieces – the more, the better. And it is increasingly clear that this is simply not true.
Quite apart from flooding owned and earned media with irrelevant information and bombarding customers with the very opposite of the targeted and useful information that they need, content at volume puts a huge and unnecessary strain on an organization. Add to this the fact that most businesses were not set up to be publishers – for that is what they must also be now – and the result is often borderline chaos where content is concerned.
But getting it all under control and ready to play a role in a well orchestrated omnichannel marketing campaign or strategy can seem like an unattainable goal – can companies simply halt the content juggernaut? Not completely, but there are steps organizations can and should take to begin creating a smoother, smarter content operation.
These actions are well outlined in When And How To Start The Shift To Omnichannel Content , a Forrester Research report hosted by censhare, including what is currently lacking in content management and proposed steps for overcoming those hurdles. Part of that process is the plan to manage six key moving parts:
If you haven’t got the time to read the paper (although I really recommend doing so – it’s only available until the end of June 2019!), I’ve summarized these six steps below.
This is one of the biggest problems facing an organization - that companies tend to be split between the big, sexy project that will make a big splash – but also involve a lot of risk – and the smaller, iterative projects that don’t attract attention. With one of the biggest hurdles to a content transformation program being leadership buy in, it’s important to get high level stakeholders behind projects that aren’t perhaps exciting and newsworthy. How progress is framed is critical, emphasising low level financial commitment, minimal risk and quick gains could be key.
Leadership is not the only important human factor here - bringing all stakeholders along with the project should also be a big focus. Advocacy from all echelons of the organization is what will allow meaningful movement overall. With each individual member of the C suite concerned about the impact on their own silo, there has to be a sense bottom up that initiatives will be supported and make sense.
Training is critical. We have already identified that businesses of every stripe now find themselves being publishers - not a sector they were necessarily set up to excel in. Not only that, but employees across the organisation find themselves in the position of editors, art directors and production assistants instead of supply chain management, inventory executives and customer care operatives. Content management skills are not inherent. They involve being taught how to use different technologies and understand their outputs.
However content transformation is initiated, it needs to form part of a plan . Often, transformation originates from one of two places – IT or Customer Experience. The first requires a map of the lifecycle of content publishing processes and the technical architecture needed to support them. Customer Experience led transformation depends on mapping the customer journey across the omnichannel. Eventually, both will be necessary and must be in tune with one another.
It can be tempting to believe promises of a ‘full service’ software solution or hardware install. In reality, the needs of each organization are so individual that no single solution will fit like a glove. On the one hand, implementing a single point solution with the ability to cover every possible use case may result in a large amount of wastage as companies find themselves with a lot of unused features. On the other, a solution with not enough functionality will require workarounds or add on software, often from different providers, which can create integration hurdles. As with scope, it’s worth considering incremental approaches to solutions that focus on a single aspect of content transformation, such as a product information management (PIM) system, before reaching further.
The success of any transformation project depends on setting expectations. Not only do the maps mentioned in step 4 need to be realistic, they should also have definable points on the journey where progress and anticipated success can be measured, and the project recalibrated if necessary. It is often worth parsing projects into independent phases to keep on top of change.
I hope that this has helped give you an overview of the kind of insight you can expect to gain from the Forrester Research report. To get into the fine print of what an omnichannel content project looks like and which new skillsets are required to manage it, you can download the full Forrester report here.