Enterprise Content Strategy: One Size Does Not Fit All

Large businesses have always required written content for training new employees, technical manuals, press releases as well as sales copy for print media and web properties. In the enterprise, this has traditionally been a disjointed, calamitous affair dependent on notoriously cumbersome legacy systems and processes that were specifically created to put content strategists in a straight jacket.

Many of the fortune 500 are late to the content marketing party of the last 10+ years, but more are waking up every day.  Inbound Marketing through unique, useful and usable content has become an increasingly important line item on the C-Suite’s agenda, so expect the deluge of content from larger brands to increase over the coming years.

How many of those decision makers rushing out to create content do you think have a coherent strategy that affords for the multi-channel / multi-device world we live in today?

I know, it’s scary.

Understanding Organizational Requirements

Strategic content at the enterprise level, especially in highly regulated industries can be mind-numbingly complex. There is no one size fits all approach, you have to adjust to the needs and parameters of the organization. The sources and frequency of their content will differ as well as the technology they use to publish it.

Businesses that have not yet implemented a content strategy often create content on the fly, and departments make up rules and procedures for creation as they go. This method of doing things is a great way to ensure that content is not properly edited and may not even meet the needs of the people it was created for.

You can bring order to chaos if you take time to understand the requirements of the organization. Content needs should be determined and then assigned to the appropriate group for creation. Each department should have supervisors or managers that review content before passing it on for publication and ensure that deadlines are met. Understanding the governance model and editorial strategy of your organization before selecting a Content Management System is preferred, as some CMS software may not provide a workflow out of the box and may require expensive customizations to accommodate how you will manage your content.

 

The Importance of Sharing Content Throughout A Company

One of the biggest opportunities that larger companies have to reduce waste in terms of content creation is to eliminate duplicity. If something already exists, why recreate it again? No need to re-invent the wheel. Having a single place (preferably a CMS) where all content exists and can be tracked and shared is the first step to getting organized and efficient. Many large organization struggle with this basic concept to this day and have a hard time even selecting the right Content Management System.

To ensure that duplication is avoided, a smart enterprise content strategy will ensure that employees have access (at very least) to a content archive. This will not only keep different departments from writing on the same topic, but it will also make research between different parts of a company easier. Employees will have access to an enormous amount of information from different divisions within an organization.

For example, a press release for a new product can be used in email marketing, as an online entry for a blog and quotes and relevant information can be taken out for use on social media sites. There is no need to get several departments involved in generating content when one document will do the trick.

Try to reduce redundancies and make the best use of all resources by reusing content whenever possible, but you also have to be mindful of the potential impact of reusing that content in the channel it’s being distributed to. You would want to avoid publishing duplicate content on the web for example, as the Google Panda algorithm might penalize you for doing so.

Content at a large company may often be generated faster than it can be edited and approved. This could cause problems with how your content performs and is received by your audience.

If the content was timely, it could be irrelevant by the time it is published and then the energy and resources expended on creating it would be useless. If a large amount of timely content was neglected, this could become a major problem obviously.

Content should be shared across departments to eliminate duplication, improve research capabilities and allow content to be modified instead of recreated as needed. Doing so will streamline content creation and ensure that time is not wasted as different departments generate content for the same subject.

Content Creation in The Enterprise

One of the biggest issues that an enterprise content strategy will address is the process related to content creation. This process involves far more than knowing that there is a need for written work, asking someone to do it and then publishing it. Businesses will need to consider the type of content they need, their audience and how quickly it needs to be available.

Once this is determined, it will need to go to the correct department, be assigned to an employee or group and then it can be written.

 

From there, supervisors or department heads need to ensure that it is edited and meets the needs of the original request. Once this has been accomplished, written work can be published. This requires that guidelines are established regarding different types of written work, and it also means that companies need to assign people to be in charge of reviewing and finalizing content. It is also important that the right people are put in charge of editing and accepting content for a company, and this may require more than one person before approval is granted.

For technical writing or troubleshooting documents, companies will need to assign a fact checker. However, these people are often focused on getting facts right, not on grammar, marketing or SEO. Therefore, more than one person in an organization may need to be involved in okaying content for publication. An enterprise content strategy will need to ensure that these people and processes are identified and make sure that each written piece follows strategy guidelines.

One way that many organizations are tackling this is to set up shared databases that follow the creation of content from start to finish. This database should include the type of content being requested, its deadline, whom it has been assigned to and whom is in charge of editing and finalizing it for publication. As each step of the process is completed, it will be documented in the shared database, allowing companies to track the progress of each piece that is being worked on at all times.

Implementing Your Content Strategy

For a content strategy to be successful, it needs to be followed by everyone within an organization. Databases that track generation progress and archives that hold written content do little good if people do not use them. Content should not be given a green light for publishing unless is has gone through each step required by the established strategy. This will prevent departments from continuing to follow their own rules regarding content generation and ensure that the process is standardized.

Large companies are realizing that content is a business asset, but we’ve got a long way to go. Creating quality content is a great opportunity for companies large and small to humanize their brands and create a dialogue with their customers.

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Analytics & AdWords certified growth engineer with over a decade experience in making businesses successful. I own and operate AXZM and often speak at top national industry conferences on the topics of strategy, design and marketing technology. Work with me or learn more about me here. Follow me @nawlready

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