Pssst … Hey you. Yeah, you with your marketer hat on. Is your Web content becoming more and more important to your client? Is your client upping her spend on content creation for the Web?
For good reason, content strategy and user experience design have a nice long process in place to assist in content and site creation. Through persona development, messaging mix and the creation of a content governance plan, we should be able to create content that can be delivered as scattershot as we’d like or as precisely as the bullet from the Army’s best snipers. We already know a lot of folks don’t follow these processes when they develop new content for the web, but if you do, what’s stopping you from flipping the process on its head and applying it to your enterprise work?
Here are just four (and there are a lot more) reasons why you should allow a well-established Web content strategy to start influencing the enterprise stuff:
1.Good Content Strategy starts with personas, which essentially means you know the individual needs, drivers and habits of the various potential content consumers (customers, etc.)
Who wouldn’t want to start delivering different enterprise materials to their audience based on their habits? It has the potential to prevent creep on project scope, reduce printing costs or highlight deficiencies in your enterprise messaging mix. If we have a better understanding of who the content consumer is, chances are we may even be able to eliminate certain messaging mediums altogether. Does 89-year-old Uncle Morty really need a big glossy photo in the local city magazine for a sale on his bed sore cream? Probably not.
In bed-stricken Uncle Morty’s case, should we really be messaging to his caregivers? What are the best ways to do that in a non-digital way? Personas and a content plan based on those personas help determine exactly what we should be producing.
2. Governance Plans keep messaging fresh and on target.
How many times do you see the exact same asset, or message or mailer from a company on a weekly or monthly basis if you even notice it in the first place? It doesn’t take too long for some messages or assets to get incredibly stale. Governance Plans are in place on the Web to combat this and they can certainly be used for non-digital communication plans. We don’t have to do look any further than our daily stack of mail and the custom publications we receive from brands we’re affiliated with to see whether or not the content we’re being served is still being effective.
Good Governance Plans put expiration dates on content.
3. Adoption Of The Web Approach For Enterprise Solutions Leads To Accelerated Release Of Content To The Market
Marrying your Web content strategy to your enterprise approach allows for content that is rooted from a proven process. Through synthesis of strong consumer, social and product insights that lead to several personas, content creators have shorter creation cycles due to laser focused content goals and reduced maintenance cycles.
Our creators spend far less time repeatedly authoring new content because they reuse existing content wherever possible, supplementing it with modified content where appropriate. (Uncle Morty only needs you to change some sentence structure to speak from a position of authority about bed sore cream as opposed to trying to educate him about its potential benefits).
With a unified process in the driver’s seat, Editors also spend less time reviewing content across channels because they only have to review the content that is new or changed; existing content has already been reviewed and signed off. With more work done on defining needs up front, we can drastically affect the publishing and production cycles by reducing the scope for our content creation teams.
4. Content rooted in strategy is BETTER CONTENT!
This one sort of seems like a no brainer, but it’s worth pointing out. We’re not guessing or doing creative solutions for the sake of doing creative solutions because our reasons for doing print, web, broadcast, mobile apps or any other medium are clearly defined. Content that is clearly modeled for consistent structure; improves things like readability and usability. Most importantly, content is accurate and consistent wherever it appears. Issues of inaccurate content, inconsistent content, or missing content are reduced or eliminated because it all has a reason to be there.
This process is incredibly repeatable and can be applied to a variety of organizational situations. Think about marketing materials, advertising, internal Web sites, corporate communications or even your news releases. It’s time to stop thinking of the Web content strategy as a separate monster and start thinking of it as the driver for a more unified publishing vision.