It was exciting to be a guest speaker on Quark’s Season 2 of its “Close the Content Loop” webinar series which talks all things content lifecycle management. This episode titled: “Can Enterprises Realistically Execute Their Content Strategies at Scale” discusses what can be done to ensure enterprise content strategies are executed an in line with board–level expectations.
I know a thing or two about the strategic planning side of content lifecycle management. For years, I’ve produced The LavaCon Content Strategy Conference which brings together hundreds of senior content professionals who are doing (or want to do) structured authoring, and want to learn how to create a unified content strategy across multiple content silos (tech pubs, marketing, training, tech support, etc.). The conference offers a variety of educational (and fun!) workshops, hands on training and engagement programs to up your content strategy skillset.
Many organizations think they have a sound content strategy, but research proves otherwise. Forrester’s The State of B2B Content, 2022 survey shows that 46% of organizations lack a defined and repeatable approach to content planning. I actually think this percentage is lower. Reason being, it’s much easier to plan a content strategy than to execute it. When putting together a content strategy, you must first look at the business goals and boardroom objects. All content initiatives must support both. Content strategies must be scalable and organizations should approach them from the top down, rather than the bottom up.
Biggest Content Strategy Mistakes and the Long-term Impact
The #1 mistake organizations consistently make when building a content strategy is not getting buy-in from all silos involved across the business. It’s easy to say we need to do this, but it’s hard to get buy-in. Identify a champion who has visibility into all organizational silos, as this will allow you to organize your content strategy from the top down. Communicate WHY we’re doing this and WHAT the benefits are. Unless you can explain to the C-level suite as to WHY you need a content strategy, you won’t be successful.
When evaluating your content strategy, you must be able to deliver personalized content at scale. If your content isn’t in an authoring system, you won’t be able to scale. You won’t have the ability to create content once and publish to any output. And you won’t have confidence in knowing that content delivered is accurate, personalized, and reaches the right audience at the right time and via their preferred devices.
Most companies don’t appreciate—or understand—the value of a content management strategy. Many organizations haven’t done their due diligence in building content based on fundamental principles such as reuse, component assembly, and use of topic attributes and metadata to support their success.
Modernize Your Way of Writing Complex Content
I have worked with technical writers and subject-matter experts across multiple industries. Most believe there must be an easier way to develop content in an accurate, collaborative environment—one that streamlines workflows and reduces human mistakes. The ability for organization to confidently scale their content strategies requires structured authoring.
In structured authoring content is formatted when it is published, not when it is authored. Entering content into a Component Content Management Systems (CCMS) without formatting both speeds the authoring processes, and frees the content from a static format (such as 8 ½ x 11″).
Companies want to jump into structured authoring but don’t know where to start. There are many complexities. Do a content audit first to know what content you have and what content you don’t have. Adopting a content management system that fits your business will give you a measurable return on investment and make it possible to scale successfully, particularly if translation and regionalization is involved, as that compounds the ROI. Moving legacy content from your publishing systems into a publishing platform that is structured-based is the key.
Structured authoring supports your business ability to create, assemble and publish omnichannel content that aligns with internal business and external regulatory requirements. It plays a pivotal role in getting you on a path to content maturity and directly addresses your content complexities. Every department within your business likely has a role in at least one stage of the content creation journey. This is what makes structured authoring so important, as it transitions SMEs from creating static documents where content is locked to creating reusable content components that can be assembled fast and integrated into omnichannel formats with a few clicks. Automated workflows reduce review and approval cycles to support a faster time to market.
Organizations that fail to incorporate structured authoring into their content operations negatively impact productivity and importantly, expose risk to not meeting compliance requirements and worse, damage their brand reputation.
Let Technical Writers Write
Structured authoring lets your writers focus on what they do best (write content) using tools they know and love, such as Microsoft Word or a web browsers. It also supports a collaborative authoring approach that streamlines production cycle and reduces manual error prone processes. Technical writers can author structured, componentized content in a low-code / no-code user interface, generating XML metadata automatically and keep content in a central CCMS repository for version control and management. This allows you to produce, reuse and publish content in whatever output format your customers need. No DITA, extensible XML training, or system architecture knowledge is required.
It was exciting for me to be part of this discussion and raise awareness on the role structured authoring plays in supporting an organizations content management strategy. Creating and publishing content doesn’t haven’t to be complicated and expensive. It’s time to modernize the way your SMEs write complex content and how they collaborate with content teams and other enterprise stakeholders, such as marketing, sales, tech support, onboarding teams, and more.
Content drives business growth. Don’t let a poor content creation process be your Achilles heel to a successful content management strategy.
For More Information
Connect with Jack Molisani or join his Content Strategy Group on LinkedIn, and subscribe to the All Things Content Strategy Newsletter. Finally, check out the content strategy and UX rockstars speaking at this year’s LavaCon Conference! BOGO registration ends next month!