So you are planning a shiny new website. Congratulations! Now, how does web content management fit into your plans? And by content, we mean not only copy, but also images, video, data, and other assets, plus all associated metadata.
When that site goes live, will your content be ready?
Whether dealing with a website or intranet, our most successful clients conquer their content challenges with the tactics described below. These businesses understand that poorly managed content discourages customer and employee engagement – and that well-managed content is critical to the ROI of any digital investment. A content strategy is certainly a key first step, but the next step is its implementation.
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User research. Analytics. Customer experience journeys. Market segmentation. Personas. Whatever approach you choose, you need to invest in and develop a data-driven method to help analyze the different audiences on your website, the content they seek, and how they access it. You also need to know who is not coming to your website, and why. Do you lack content? Is it your existing content difficult to navigate? Nor should this analysis occur in a vacuum – evaluate your approach across all channels, including email, social media, and paid marketing. Don’t forget devices, either.
Content Inventory (Content Audit)
A page-by-page content inventory is critical for tracking and analyzing your existing content, as well as in developing a content migration plan. How much content do you actually have? Where is it located? Who is responsible for it? What kind of shape is it in – is it outdated and/or needs edits? Who is the target audience? If needed, an SEO audit can add yet another dimension of fun to your analysis. Other factors (like database integrations, seasonal content cycles, server configurations, etc.) can also affect ease of content access. Don’t be afraid to get IT and developers involved in your inventory.
Content Migration Plan
Project managers love this stuff. What content migrates – when, where, and how – and on what timeline? Who is responsible for uploading and content entry? Is it a manual or automated migration (or a mix)? Are you moving from a non-responsive to a responsive design site, and will your content need any significant revisions? How different is the new CMS from the old? Is the metadata different, and if so, who will write it? How exactly are you going to set up the new media library? Who will proof the content on the new site before launch? Etc. You wouldn’t wait to call the moving van until the day you closed on your new house, right? So don’t wait on a content migration plan, either.
Nail metadata, and you will nail the Internet. I promise. Metadata means all of the descriptive information attached to your content. The purpose of its existence is to make your content discoverable. Metadata includes structural information (such as where the content is found), and topical information (such as what the content is about). Whether designing an intranet or a website, please believe us that you need a metadata strategy to ensure that users and search functions can actually locate your content. Depending on your needs, an additional SEO strategy might also be appropriate. Having no metadata strategy amounts to throwing all your content down a black hole – because no one will ever see it again.
Marketplaces change. Consumers change. The Internet changes. All of this means your content needs to change, too. Analytics help you stay ahead of the curve, and beat out your competition when it comes to serving the right data to the right people – for conversions, for employee productivity, whatever your metric. Analytics help you track where and how your content strategy is successful, as well as where you are wasting time and money.
Content Creation and the Content Cycle
A new website probably needs at least some new content. Thus, you need a process for generating it. In fact, you probably need to formalize a process for your entire content cycle. Think of this like an editorial calendar on steroids, documenting how content is created (preferably according to guidelines in a creative brief or other documentation), reviewed, revised, approved, delivered, uploaded, proofed, optimized, enhanced, and ultimately archived. Consider developing branding guides, including voice and tone samples. Content at any level usually involves close work with business stakeholders, as well as messaging across different channels. Get the right people involved sooner rather than later, and clearly define their roles in the review process.
What’s the definition of a content burden? See everything listed above. Plan and budget for ongoing maintenance to your content. Control your overhead by identifying the successful content, archiving the rest, and generating new content efficiently. Establish governance policies to keep your content from getting out of control. Well-managed content is an asset. Poorly managed content is a burden. You decide.
So go ahead, build that shiny new website – and win at web content management while you’re at it. And if you need any help, call us for more information! We’d love to chat.