Top 3 ContentOps mistakes to avoidVegard Ottervig on
Let’s take a look at some possible disadvantages and fails associated with content operations.
Content operations (ContentOps) may seem like just another marketing buzzword, but the principles behind the term address legitimate challenges for modern marketers and content editors.
How do you produce content in a more efficient manner that can also be quality-controlled, as well as re-used and scaled in today’s omnichannel and headless world? The answer may lie in the ContentOps principle of integrating people, processes, and technology.
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While we obviously speak warmly of ContentOps, we also know that every issue has at least two sides. With this in mind, what is the flipside of the ContentOps coin?
Here are the top 3 ContentOps mistakes to avoid:
1. Not involving people
When we asked him about how to excel at ContentOps, Angus Edwardson of GatherContent explained that you should always start with people. If you don’t involve your colleagues, superiors, and stakeholders from the get-go, you are doomed to fail.
It is individuals who must collaborate to enact strategies, plan tactics, write blog posts, record podcasts, shoot videos, and edit, review, greenlight, and deploy your content. If the different people in your organisation don’t know or understand the purpose of ContentOps, they will not perform optimally—they will not put their heart in their work.
The results may be a hodgepodge of content going all over the place, with little or no sense of direction—and certainly few or no traces of efficiency, quality assurance, replicability, and scalability.
2. Not sticking to the plan
ContentOps is a set of principles regarding the production of your content. If you deviate too often from this guidance, you might end up focusing on nonessentials, digressions, and dead ends—thus making your content production less efficient, less replicable, and less scalable.
Today, the modern work framework of Agile has been adopted in various degrees by organisations all over the world. One of the staples of Agile is the ability for your digital team to be flexible when the circumstances demand it.
That’s why sticking to the plan may seem a counterintuitive measure for ensuring ContentOps success. But this is a skewed view of agility. In order to be “agile,” you need to be associated with a standard, which serves to inform and measure your degree of agility. The standard in our case is the principles of ContentOps, which function as a guidance for your content production.
But, here’s the thing: you can be flexible and agile within a fairly broad, but still principled framework such as ContentOps. Sticking to a set of rules without question can of course lead to undesirable consequences, but adhering to the underlying principles of integrating people, process, and technology still leaves you to be free to choose between many alternatives.
Sticking to the plan, i.e. following the ContentOps principles, allows you to focus on what’s important (keeping tabs on the involved people, processes, and technologies), while simultaneously letting it be up to you how to reach a particular goal.
Keep your guidance and you will find your way out of the wilderness. Discard it, and you may become lost.
3. Having outdated tools
You can have an enthusiastic team and a scalable process in place for your content operations, but that matters little if you don’t have the right tools. Just like a chef can’t create culinary masterpieces without ingredients or kitchen utensils, marketers and editors can’t create masterful content without their tools of trade. And tools aren’t just tools—a dull chef’s knife will not make the cut, just like a sluggish content management system, an overly complex CRM, or a buggy design tool can ruin any marketer’s day.
You should procure tools that support collaboration, transparency, and productivity in your digital project. These features will ensure support for your copywriters, editors, subject matter experts, legal advisors, and senior stakeholders—as well as your associated processes of strategies, pitch meetings, workshops, writing, filming, recording, reviewing, verifying, and greenlighting.
Making sure you have appropriate, up-to-date marketing and editorial tools is one thing, another issue relates to spending too much time on technical debt and bureaucracy. Make sure to not only adopt new technologies, but also to responsibly decommission old technological architectures and frameworks that take up too much time for both you and your developers in terms of pure maintenance.
Also, less cumbersome red tape is always a step towards productive success. Seek out any possible way to remove every unnecessary step, institution, and function in your organisation.
ContentOps can be a gamechanger for your content production in an age of increased pressure from omnichannel and quality-minded audiences. But, be wary of not taking people, process, and technology seriously. Involve your team and stakeholders from the start, be both principled and agile in your work, and update your tools while removing technological barriers.