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by Bunny Tharpe  |  January 6, 2022

New Year, New Content Management Goals

New Content Goals

How will your organization approach content management in 2022? Let’s look at the evolution of data management best practices for some lessons learned.

We all have an insatiable appetite for content. I’ll confess that on any given night, you’ll find me simultaneously checking email, watching a TV show, and checking Facebook for news, recipes I never make, and the latest funny cat videos. My career also revolves around content — how to create and optimize the exorbitant amount of it to support the success of my employer. And if you’re reading this, some aspect of yours does too. That’s probably because more than 80% of organizations say content is a core business strategy, according to the most recent “Content Management & Strategy Survey” from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).

I find the rage about managing content similar to the rage about managing data that began more than a decade ago, and rightly so because data is content. In fact, many of us at Quark have backgrounds in data management and governance, and the correlations between data and content management become more obvious every day in terms of the challenges and the opportunities.

As such, similar lessons apply.

There’s a Data-Content Continuum

Data drives modern business. It must reach the right people at the right place at the right time – plus it needs to be tracked and analyzed for insights to optimize its use. Now replace the word “data” with “content.” See the similarities?

And if businesses must harness the power of their data for successful digital transformations, then they also must harness the power of their content for success in our modern age and its embrace of all things digital.

We’re all devouring high volumes of data – I mean content – in various formats across numerous platforms to be educated, entertained and employed. Datastream reports that U.S. adults now spend 11.1 hours per day consuming content via mobile, desktop, radio, TV and magazines – a 20.2% increase from 2011 with most of this growth driven by mobile use among younger generations.

For those who produce all the aforementioned content, we know how daunting it can be from concept to execution. You must identify the goal, develop a crisp and clever idea to catch your target audience’s attention, write it, design it, review it, approve it, and then deliver it to the intended audience(s) via a variety of channels. The next, and often overlooked, steps involve determining if all or at least parts of that content yielded the desired results through analytics.

And let’s not forget about regulatory compliance that differs by geography and looms large for everyone involved in content creation and publishing, especially in highly regulated industries like financial services and life sciences. For example, pharmaceutical labels are serious business with stringent requirements for their … ding, ding, ding … content, including active ingredients, uses, directions and warnings.

Again comparing content to data, the devil is in the metadata: the details about your content. With rich metadata tagging, content components are easily searched, version-controlled and dynamically assembled within a central repository for any document output in any format.

Organizations must therefore adopt smarter practices that generate metadata automatically so subject-matter experts (SMEs) can concentrate on sharing their knowledge, not trying to learn XML or how to transform a 1,000-page document into a digital experience, such as a user-friendly website.

Whether a small business or large enterprise, data and content challenges are similar – but so are the advantages – if the content lifecycle is managed holistically. That’s the most important take-away from data the data-content continuum: that content must be managed from end-to-end for a comprehensive view that removes silos and facilitates easy collaboration across the enterprise so it can be used effectively to support business goals.

Of course, data governance emerged as a specialized practice within data management and the same could be true for content governance and how it directly impacts a business and its bottom line. In its 2021 “The Anatomy of a Future-Ready B2B Content Engine,” Forrester states that “… leading organizations will ensure that universal strategy and standards are governed via an enterprisewide content COE (Center of Excellence) with a focus on providing visibility and insights about content’s role across the entire buyer’s journey and customer lifecycle.”

Organizations Can Reap the Benefits of Content Lifecycle Management

Content lifecycle management includes the processes of creating, managing, collaborating/reviewing, publishing, delivering and analyzing content assets. The resulting insights then lead to additional steps to update, revise or retire certain content.

Although most organizations understand the importance of content, many still struggle to derive meaningful results and valuable longevity from it. That’s because content management efforts tend to falter without strategic and thoughtful nurturing at every step of a given asset’s lifecycle.

Additionally, organizations that don’t have the right processes and tools in place are faced with clunky hand-offs between various departments and stakeholders, scattered or siloed content assets, or a lack of clear performance insights. The same CMI study mentioned above indicates that only 25% of respondents think their organizations have the right content management technology in place and are using it effectively.

While smaller organizations might be able to get by with disorganized assets, slower collaboration and approval processes, or a lack of metadata-driven context and insights, operating like that can ruin enterprise content strategies. These issues are magnified when dealing with highly specialized documents, such as those pharmaceutical labels I mentioned earlier or investment reports, for which content automation is critical to supporting componentized authoring and assembly across many SMEs and other stakeholders.

Ultimately, more awareness is needed about the positive impacts of content lifecycle management on enterprise content operations. Some of its primary benefits are:

Innovation – Technology for content creation, automation and intelligence modernizes the entire content lifecycle, including print/digital layouts and automatic conversion to digital; structured or componentized/modular authoring with metadata tagging; automated workflows for reviews, approvals, assembly, and publishing; and engagement and consumption insights.

Customer Satisfaction – Whether B2C or B2B, customer satisfaction and lasting relationships are based on positive experiences underpinned by accurate and timely content. The content must be relevant, personalized and seamlessly connect with your constituents.

Single Source of Truth – Organizations depend on contracts, product specifications, marketing plans, technical manuals and submissions to regulatory authorities. Producing, managing and updating these documents, and making the most relevant components or most recent versions available to the right people is critical.

Quality – Related to the above, errors within content must be reduced or identified early and fixed quickly to ensure the quality and consistency of information – from HR docs to product manuals. Organizations can benefit from easy management of colors, fonts, styles, logos and multiple document templates and ensure consistent branding.

Compliance – It’s important to reduce the risk of internal and external compliance violations with accurate and consistent content components for complete, error-free documentation, including submissions to governing authorities according to their requirements. This will go a long way in helping meet regulatory requirements for specific use cases with greater speed and accuracy.

Time to Value/Return on Content – More efficient content creation, management, collaboration, publishing, delivery and analysis processes increase business agility and productivity while lowering costs. Content can be reused and repurposed to support business goals long term, eliminating the duplicate creation of text, images, charts and other components.

Why Quark for Content Lifecycle Management?

Both data and content management require a carefully and consistently executed strategy and technology investment to deliver value.

Quark can help you infuse creativity, automation and intelligence into every stage of your enterprise content lifecycle.

We’ve been in the content technology business for more than 40 years and are well-known for QuarkXPress, our flagship content design software. But we also pioneered content automation and continue to innovate in these areas in addition to content intelligence for closed-loop content lifecycle management.

Quark Publishing Platform is an end-to-end solution for structured/modular content authoring, template design, workflow definition and automation, component storage/assembly and omnichannel publishing.

And Quark Docurated provides insights into content engagement and performance so you can feed that information back to your content creators for improvements.

Contact us if you’d like to know more about our software solutions and how they can help you accomplish your new content goals in 2022 and beyond.

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