Content creation on computer at desk
Building an Effective Content Strategy (Part 5: Content Management)
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 | Greg Kihlström

This is part five of a six-part series on how to create an effective content strategy, a critical piece of marketing for organizations in every industry. Whether your focus is B2B, B2C, B2G or all of the above, having an effective content strategy and content marketing plan can yield sizeable benefits that reach audiences you might not otherwise reach and provide sustained brand benefits beyond a short-term marketing or advertising campaign.

To recap our series so far, your content strategy is not just about placing text or images on a single channel. An effective content strategy uses all of your marketing and communications channels and ties them to business-level goals by taking meaningful measurements that help you calculate your return on investment.

Your content strategy can be split into the following 5 pieces:

  1. Strategy
  2. Content Creation
  3. Content Marketing
  4. Content Management
  5. Measurement

Within the last article in this series, we discussed the third step in the process: Content Marketing. With your plan in place and great creative and other content assets in place, you are now ready for the execution phase of your content marketing strategy. The channels you use and the methods used to reach your audiences will vary widely depending on the type of organization you are, of course. This part of the process is where all your planning and creation efforts get to see the light of day and you get to start seeing how your audiences across channels respond to it. In other words, for marketers, this is a very exciting time as your plan is in market!

In this article, we’re going talk about the next step in the process: Content Management

Content Management

Now that we’ve discussed your content planning, creation, and marketing, we need to make sure we know how we’re going to keep track of all the assets we’re coordinating. How do you organize them all and categorize them in a way that is easy for both your external and internal audiences to use most effectively?

While a website content management system (CMS) does this for your web-based content, there are many other types of assets you will be creating as part of your content strategy. You will need the proper tools to keep track of what you have so that you can be nimble as a marketing team and provide audiences with what they need, where they need it.

Process

Before we talk about some tools you can use to manage your content, it’s important to note that simply buying software will not not go too far without a solid, easy-to-understand process. This process will vary depending on:

  • The size of your team
  • The amount of marketing channels you market on
  • The number of agencies you may work with
  • The amount of regulations/compliance your industry requires

The important thing to keep in mind is that you need to make it ultimately very easy to understand your process, including responsibilities (who does what), the timing (when they do it), and how they do it. Documentation will go a long way here, and help you and your team stay organized. Make sure you can document all of the steps along the way and write it from the perspective of a brand new employee. This will make sure it works for the broadest audience possible.

Tools

There are many types of content management systems for websites that keep all of your web pages organized, but it’s also important to understand that other types of content needs to be managed. Whether it’s documents with your corporate messaging, to graphics files and photos, videos or other items, there are many options at your disposal.

The most basic tool may be a shared hard drive that you store all your files on. This may work for smaller organizations, but soon you may find it hard to find things if you are searching for things based on a way that your shared drive is not organized. This means you may need a storage system that allows you to categorize or tag content. Or, you may find that you quickly run out of storage space if you work often with larger media files such as videos.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look for the right tools for your organization:

  • Is it flexible enough so that your internal and any external teams can use it?
  • Does it allow you to categorize and organize your files and information in a way that makes it easy to search and sort? Try thinking through a few scenarios that involve trying to find something based on timing or by subject matter and make sure the system will work for you.
  • Does it have enough storage capacity for both today and tomorrow?

Categorization of content will help you as your library of assets continues to grow. By making sure that you are thinking about your present and future storage needs, you will also ensure that you don’t have to change the way you store things any time soon.

Evaluation

While we will talk about measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts in the next article in this series, what we mean by evaluation in context of your content management, is to determine how well the management itself is working.

You can evaluate this through a few methods, and one easy way is to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does your team spend less time trying to locate files, messaging examples or other materials?
  • Are you able to easily find your content based on timing, marketing channels, or campaigns?

Conclusion

With all of the great assets you’ll be creating, they can easily get out of hand and be difficult to organize without the right type of management plan. This may include processes in combination with the right tools, and the way it scales will depend on the size and type of your organization.

Next Up: Measurement of Your Overall Strategy

It probably goes without saying, but having a measurement plan in place for everything you do is essential to ensure your content strategy’s success. Of course, this is applicable well beyond content marketing, but in the context of your content marketing efforts, make sure to intentionally place your content and properly track its effectiveness. This is where things like tracking URLs come in handy, and where your content strategy and the research you do while planning your editorial calendar pay off.

About this Series

Within this series, we will take a deeper dive into each of the five parts necessary to achieve a successful content strategy. This high level overview of the pieces that make up a successful content strategy will serve as a useful guide to be successful in your efforts.

Also, remember that even if you are mid-way through a set of content marketing efforts, it never hurts to re-evaluate how you got where you are. Sometimes it doesn’t require revisiting the starting point to find a step in the process you might have rushed through. By simply reviewing your planning and creation efforts, you might be able to make a significant improvement to an effort that is currently underway.

Until next time, may you be intentional, strategic, and ultimately successful in all your marketing efforts!

Category - Strategy