Leverage content operations in your organisation
Get the most out of content production with the principles of ContentOps in your organisation.
Content operations, or ContentOps, is a content production method between strategy and delivery that integrates people, process, and technology. The requirements of both ambitious brand strategies and omnichannel delivery have put a strain on the actual production of content. The combined requirements of multiple channels, multiple sources, delivery speed, scaling, governance, and quality call out for more robust operations of content—ContentOps.
Getting the three involved aspects of production to work more closely together—people, processes, and technology—will remove friction and make for a more efficient and quality-minded content production operations to deliver higher value to your customers. Which in turn will increase revenue.
But how do you leverage ContentOps in your organisation? Here are some tips.
Align with business goals
As we have told several times before, your efforts should always be aligned with business strategy and goals. Before undertaking a ContentOps project, ask yourself what you are trying to achieve with the content. What stated business goals are fulfilled by having content—why, and how? Involve senior stakeholders, get their buy-in and decide whether to start small or large.
In this preliminary phase it is also useful to understand your customer journey. How do your customers experience your brand? How do you experience it, and what role does content play in the customer journey?
Learn more: Let Enonic XP drive your customer journey »
Perform a content audit
In order to set up effective content operations in alignment with your organisation’s content strategy, you first need to know what pieces you have. As always, focus on people, processes, and technology.
Make a map, draw some dots and lines, and visualise to get an overview of your assets and to understand the relationship between them. Assets can for instance be copywriters, editors, legal advisors, subject matter experts, and senior stakeholders among people—brainstorming, research, writing, recording, quality assurance, approval, and publishing among processes—and databases, office suite, creative software, email provider, ERP, CRM, and CMS among technology.
Identify weak points and decide whether they should be removed or improved. Also identify the strong points, to learn what makes them a success in order to replicate the results elsewhere. According to Diginomica, this process may take between six to eight weeks.
After identifying the people who are involved with content operations in your organisation, you need to clearly define their roles. Job titles are one thing, but a given role in a specific project like ContentOps is another matter.
Make sure that people know what they are responsible for, whether it is writing, giving inputs, copyediting, or publishing. Arrange meetings where people contribute to defining their own roles and responsibilities, as well as managing expectations.
If you identify a missing link, e.g. a gap in the process of approving content due to a missing subject matter expert, you must naturally search for this person internally—or bring in external help if needed.
Learn more: How to lead a successful digital team »
Establish a production workflow
The next logical step is to make a functioning production workflow between people, processes, and technology—making this the beating heart of your ContentOps. This is where business goals, your content map, and clearly defined roles come into play.
The workflow should include systematic rules on how the content production is handled from idea to distribution. Are all the steps clear to you and your colleagues? Are all necessary stakeholders involved? Are all required processes and technologies taken into account?
The workflow should also be repeatable, meaning you can count on the same procedure and the same results every time, without any hiccups or unpleasant surprises, like a missing image database or a missing validation.
Define content types
For instance, if you have the content type “person profile,” it will include a set of fields like name, title, image, email address, and perhaps a short biography. This particular content type can now be linked to another content type (like the author part of an article), to the front page, or as a database repository on mobile.
Having such structured content means your developers can choose what logical fields to include when presenting your content to any channel, which is important in any strategy for headless CMS.
Build and distribute style guides
Consistency is not only a matter for the structural form of your content, but also how it looks and feels—i.e. your brand. Protecting your brand has become an increasingly important topic for any organisation, in an age where it is easier than ever to generate and present false information.
A style guide will help content authors to maintain quality, consistency, and even legality across any channel. This can be achieved through simple documents or through a more comprehensive design system.
Adopt agile principles
As a bonus, it never hurts to adopt agile principles in your organisation, and the principles remain of course with content operations. Being agile means that your ContentOps team can build solutions and create content faster, especially in a changing environment. Agility may also entail more technically minded topics, like continuous deployment and a fully managed experience cloud.
Closely tied to agility is flexibility in your technology, which may further boost essential ContentOps aspects. This may involve features that cover a broad range of needs—from omnichannel, customer retention, marketing, and self service to brand protection—and a content editor catering to the needs of content creators. A flexible technological platform will of course maximise the chances of a successful ContentOps.
As Barb Mosher Zinck of Diginomica points out, the establishment of a functioning ContentOps will not happen overnight. All essential stakeholders need to be involved for at least one year until the content operations are running smoothly.
We conclude with the well-spoken words of Angus Edwardson on Boye-co.com:
“Content operations simply calls for the same respect that has been given to software development to be given to content.”