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Are you a CEO without a Corporate Content Strategy?

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Not having a corporate content strategy adversely impacts revenue by 10% and increases spends to create content across Marketing & Sales, Engineering, Delivery & Support organizations by a whopping 200%. Here’s why every CEO should have one, and how.

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Are you a CEO without a Corporate Content Strategy?

  1. 1. Are you a CEO without a Corporate Content Strategy? Not having a corporate content strategy adversely impacts revenue by 10%1 and increases spends to create content across Marketing & Sales, Engineering, Delivery & Support organizations by a whopping 200%2 . Here’s why every CEO should have one, and how. Does a company really need a content strategy and does the CEO need to get involved? Any number of CEOs will tell you that they don’t need to bother about content because their management does. It’s true in a way. The CMO’s office takes care of marketing content. The CTO and Engineering CxOs handle the product and technical content. The HR CxO takes care of internal training content for company processes, sometimes even internal communication. Many in their teams are not trained in creating content, or the technologies or the processes or understand company objectives. But that is only part of the problem. Forget corporate alignment and reuse, organizations will develop content simply because they are expected to. Content is a line item for most organizations within the company. For the company itself it’s a footnote. Which begs the question, do you need a corporate content strategy, and why? A content strategy is the high-level vision that guides different organizations’ future content development to deliver against specific corporate objectives. It puts into words a company's content goals, audience, creation, quality and collaboration workflow. Content strategy is required because without it a CEO's company creates content with no core theme or purpose. A lack of strategy leads to generic content. Generic content is made by generic companies. Generic content is unlikely to rank organically on searches. Generic content doesn't get shared. Generic content doesn't engage people. Generic content does not talk about a CEO's specific product or brand. The companies that have the capacity and understanding to link content and communication into corporate strategy tend to be stronger and better performing than their competition. A CEO needs to get one together. Not soon. Not next week. Now. 1 TWB_ Survey of the Indian Technology Content Industry™ 2012 2 TWB_ Technology Communication Center of Excellence™ data
  2. 2. Corporate Content Strategy, a CEO responsibility Every organization of the enterprise - from finance to delivery - has a content element. It makes sense for it to be nurtured at a strategic level. A CEO’s goals could be retention or growth of market-share, or something else, but in all cases, focused communication through the right channels is a core element. Any long-term activity that has a long-term effect for the company belongs to the CEO’s desk. Any decisions that are not within one organization but thread through many belong to the CEO’s desk. Content projects of all kinds are time-intensive up-front, with little visible output in the short run, if they are going to be effective. A CEO’s understanding and effective representation can make the difference between success and failure. It’s a strategic decision. Content strategy touches each area of a CEO's business. All the software programming in the world is pointless if it doesn’t support the goals of a CEO's users and clients -- that’s what makes a CEO involved in the engineering function. The same should hold for content. The purpose of a content strategy also is to help the CEO to meet communication challenges. Those challenges could be: ● Customer focus (acquisition, retention, loyalty, happiness) ● Innovation (systems, software, networks, digital application) ● Market response and agility (adaptation, positioning, product, consumer experience) ● People (resourcing, capability, delivery) ● Budgetary (insourcing versus outsourcing) ● Systemic (workflow, approval, governance, risk) Chances are high that, at present, the people who make content in a CEO's marketing, engineering, human resources and learning silos have a clear understanding of their content, but not of corporate strategy. Even when the corporate content strategy is in implementation at the organization level, a CEO’s intervention is required from time to time to steer the mandate. A CEO is at the top of the chain, and her/his understanding, behaviours and messages strongly influence whether projects work or not. Content strategy defines and shapes the future of how a company interacts with other parties. For instance, the teams in charge of digital projects require the engagement of what are widely called ‘stakeholders’. It's limiting to think simply of stakeholders who control funds, project extent, or resourcing. Properly understood, buy-ins needs to be from all ‘interested parties’.
  3. 3. Getting started: A CEO checklist A CEO doesn't need to be familiar with the entire scope of a content strategy project, to understand progress, results, and outcomes. If a CEO is ready to get started developing a corporate content strategy, here’s what (s)he should know ● Baseline what you have3 : ○ Audit the content you already have: Is it delivering on objectives? ○ Audit the process: Where is it being created? How? What is the workflow? ○ Do you track quality just as you do defect density at each stage. What is the rework, recall rates? ○ What is the level of reuse across organizations and within? ○ How do you map against competition? ○ Project management ○ Accountability and reporting structures ○ Budget allocations ● Create a matrix of what you want to achieve: ○ Engagement with other interested parties so that everyone is on the same page at all times ○ Budgets allocation for research so that the teams know what must be done ○ Budget for analysis and content-first design, so that there are no understandability or user flow issues ○ Mandating data-supported decisions for all content development ○ Demonstration that the working teams understand and work to the corporate strategy (if necessary) involvement of key content strategy personnel in corporate strategy planning or adjustment processes; or key strategy personnel in content-related processes. ○ Determination of content types: Different content types serve different functions and is the company choosing industry best practices or using the default framework based on how it has always operated ○ Scheduling content updates: A company has multiple content types from different organizations rolling out at the same time; each one addressed to a specific audience but increasingly each available across channels and searchable therefore available across audiences. A company shouldn't do it randomly. ○ Tools: What tool stack will your company use for the content production process so that it is used across organizations, can take inputs from different points where content originates and allows a common dashboard for sharing and suggesting content ideas? ○ Research: The best content comes after extensive research which includes researching (a) a CEO's own company - what are the core values and core strengths and how do you consistently communicate these. (b) Researching 3 TWB_ Survey of the Indian Technology Content Industry™ 2012
  4. 4. customers - what content do they use, how and when. Hardly anyone even bothers to check. (c) Researching competitors: Does what you create stand apart from what they create? ● Create the blueprint to determine & track4 : ○ Content risk ○ Research and analysis ○ Managing quality ○ Metrics for User Experience ○ Design performance ○ Content strategy design ○ Taxonomy ○ Governance ○ Training effectiveness ○ Degree of reuse ○ Implementation risk ○ Degree of content reuse ○ Degree of automation A corporate content strategy streamlines how decisions are being made across organizations that impact this messaging. It does not appear in a CEO's weekly reports but the experience of a CEO's most loyal customers is likely to be affected by a change to how a CEO's organisation communicates with them. So a CEO needs to understanding of type of communication, it’s timing, effects of timing or resourcing, the collective outcomes, and returns. And this has to be coded to make it into a repeatable experience. For which the following need to be quantified: The key benefits having a content strategy ● Productivity: Subject matter experts such as financial and legal analysts, product managers, and government officials who contribute authored content are 30-70 per cent more productive. They no longer have to waste time manually “formatting” the content and they the ability to reuse already existing components of content. ● Reduced content maintenance and increased Agility: Content componentization and managed reuse removes the need to copy/paste or rewrite content that already exists. Rather than store content as monolithic documents, a scalable content automation system enables authors to create, manage, and deploy text, data, and media components as “single source of truth” assets. For example, if a publication requires one or more legal disclaimers, that disclaimer is stored once and used by reference in multiple publications. If changes are required, the disclaimer is edited once and all references to that disclaimer are automatically updated as well. Usability of components 4 TWB_ Survey of the Indian Technology Content Industry™ 2012
  5. 5. is similar to copy/paste, but without the associated problems of trying to manually update hundreds of different documents where paste was used. ● Collaboration: The ability for cross-department teams to work in parallel on complex and/or large publications by leveraging componentization and automation creates better results faster. ● Quality: When managed reuse is deployed and content maintenance costs are reduced, information quality increases dramatically: accuracy is improved; consistency is dramatically improved; and time-to-market is reduced significantly. Further, content automation can also generate omni-channel outputs without manual intervention. So the resulting publications have consistent style and branding, as well as enabling the inclusion of interactivity features such as slideshows, pop-ups, animated text, and more. ● Time-To-Market: Content Automation can reduce the cycle time of a content production workflow from months to days. A custom electronic component manufacturer who used to take 4 weeks of human effort to create a 40-page product data sheet for each customer request for a specific configuration, can now do so in hours and can produce output in for print, web, and mobile seamlessly. TWB_ and Content Strategy As TWB_ started scaling up, it was natural to look for efficiencies in developing content and helping customers break through the stovepipes in which their content lay. That need, coupled with our understanding of content technologies, became the base of the first level of consulting and auditing services we began providing customers. TWB_ has shown that an effective unified strategy, single sourcing, managing quality of content and automation of information flow can save enterprises up to 80 percent cost and time savings5 . Not having a corporate content strategy has a negative 10-30% revenue impact6 , and a company spends 80-200% more to create what you do across a Marketing & Sales, Engineering & Delivery & Support organizations7 . 5 TWB_ Technology Communication Center of Excellence™ data 6 TWB_ Survey of the Indian Technology Content Industry™ 2012 7 TWB_ Technology Communication Center of Excellence™ data

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