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What Makes Content Operations Successful?

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What Makes Content Operations Successful?

Executive summary of the latest Content Science research on content operations - learn the top challenges to maturing content operations, what successful organizations do differently, and more.

Executive summary of the latest Content Science research on content operations - learn the top challenges to maturing content operations, what successful organizations do differently, and more.

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What Makes Content Operations Successful?

  1. 1. 2021 Update What Makes Content Operations Successful? EXECUTIVE SUMMARY content-science.com/content-operations-study/
  2. 2. What Makes Content Operations Successful? 2 Value of This Report No industry is exempt from digital disruption. Content has become critical to the day-to-day of every business and organization. This report offers our latest research into successful content operations. We first set out to document the state of content operations in 2015. Since then, the importance of content has grown as digital disruption has accelerated. This report shares our analysis of the data collected from the more than 100 leading content professionals with diverse organizations. We shed light on the current state of content operations and what differentiates the most mature and successful. As you work in the new content era of business, these insights will help you thrive. Recommended Citation: Content Science, What Makes Content Operations Successful? May 2021, http://content-science.com/content-operations-study/
  3. 3. What Makes Content Operations Successful? 3 Top 12 Takeaways Our analysis of data from more than 100 content professionals is a treasure trove of insight. The 12 findings below are among the most notable. 1. The majority of companies are at either level 2 (piloting) or level 3 (scaling) out of 5 maturity levels. 2. The top three challenges to mature are: § Content strategies are not standard for the entire organization § No direct evaluation of content effectiveness § No clear content strategy or plan 3. Organizations that report being very successful are more likely to have a clearly defined content vision. 4. Very successful organizations are more than twice as likely than slightly successful ones to evaluate content impact and success regularly. 5. Very successful organizations are more likely to be using ROI to evaluate content. 6. The top barriers to maturity are lack of communication across silos and red tape. 7. 73% of organizations use a content management system. 41% use specialized content technologies in addition to or instead of content management. 8. 44% report personalizing the content experience for each user. 9. 22% use machine learning or AI for content work such as distribution and generation. 10.Teams with content training are less likely than teams without it to experience challenges. 11.The majority of content teams consist of six members or fewer and have more diverse roles compared to our 2017 study. 12.More organizations have leadership roles such as content manager and director compared to our 2017 study. Some organizations have executive level content roles. Recommended Citation: Content Science, What Makes Content Operations Successful? May 2021, http://content-science.com/content-operations-study
  4. 4. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 4 Methodology Data Collection and Analysis Content Science promoted its proprietary Content Operations Assessment through a number of channels from January 8, 2020, through March 15, 2021. The Content Science team analyzed the quantitative results and qualitative comments for the purpose of this report. In-depth Interviews Content Science conducted follow-up interviews with eight respondents from the online self-assessment to gain additional context and insights. These eight respondents: Participant Information Total respondents: 109 Full-time freelancer / contractor / independent consultant Member of content team Leader of content team 62% 28% 10% Non-Profit Higher Education Government Corporate 4% 8% 14% 74% • Are all leaders of their respective content teams • Represent a wide range of organizations, including large nonprofits, tech startups, and Fortune 500 companies • Reside in a variety of different countries including France, Israel, Italy, and the U.S. • Respondents are from a wide variety of industries, including technology, finance, retail / ecommerce, health, nonprofit, and education • Slightly more than half were from organizations with more than 1,000 employees Which of the following best describes your role? Which of the following best describes your organization's sector?
  5. 5. Sample Participant Organizations What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/
  6. 6. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 6 Content Operations Maturity Even though digital business requires a sophisticated content approach, most organizations lack mature content operations. Yet, most organizations aspire to sophistication. Learn more about the challenges standing in their way.
  7. 7. No formal content operations, only ad hoc approaches Sustaining while also innovating and seeing return on investment Solidifying and optimizing content operations across business functions Expanding formal content operations across business functions Trying content operations in certain areas, such as for a blog 18% 4% 19% 30% 28% What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 7 Content Operations Maturity Levels § 46% of organizations are at levels 1 and 2. § Compared with organizations in 2017, significantly more are at levels 1 and 2. § Compared with organizations in 2017, far fewer are at level 3. Which of the following best describes your organization’s level now? CURRENT STATE 1 2 3 4 5 1. Chaotic: No formal content ops 2. Piloting: Trying content ops in certain areas, such as for a blog 3. Scaling: Expanding formal content operations across business functions 4. Sustaining: Solidifying and optimizing content ops across business functions 5. Thriving: Sustaining while also innovating and seeing return on investment
  8. 8. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 8 Content Operations Maturity Levels Solidifying and optimizing content operations across business functions Expanding formal content operations across business functions Trying content operations in certain areas, such as for a blog No formal content operations, only ad hoc approaches Sustaining while also innovationg and seeing return on investment 16% 12% 25% 39% 8% What level does your organization strive to achieve? § About 4 in 10 respondents are striving to achieve level 5. ASPIRATION 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1. Chaotic: No formal content ops 2. Piloting: Trying content ops in certain areas, such as for a blog 3. Scaling: Expanding formal content operations across business functions 4. Sustaining: Solidifying and optimizing content ops across business functions 5. Thriving: Sustaining while also innovating and seeing return on investment
  9. 9. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 9 Very successful Not at all successful Slightly successful Moderately successful 64% 15% 20% 1% Very successful Not at all successful Slightly successful Moderately successful 64% 15% 20% 1% Very successful Not at all successful Slightly successful Moderately successful 64% 15% 20% 1% Perceived Content Success SUCCESS Most organizations report only moderate content success. How successful do you consider your team / organization's content efforts?
  10. 10. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 10 What Holds Maturity Back Enterprise (+1k employees) Midsize (100 - 1k) Small (< 100) 54% reported lack of communication between silos 70% reported lack of communication between silos 52% reported lack of communication between silos 54% reported red tape / bureaucracy 57% reported red tape / bureaucracy 24% reported red tape / bureaucracy Silos and red tape are the top barriers, with midsize organizations reporting them the most. § More than half say that communication across silos is problematic. § Almost half report problems dealing with red tape and bureaucracy. § Nearly 4 in 10 report not having the tools, technology, resources, and organizational support to succeed.
  11. 11. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 11 What Holds Maturity Back 60 Content strategies not standard for the entire organization No direct evaluation of content effectiveness No clear strategy or plan - content created and managed on the fly Content not tied to business goals and objectives Don’t have the right content roles/staff Customer data is limitedand channel-specific Bottlenecks in content operation Bottlenecks in IT Technology not sufficient to handle the complexity of content strategy Other - Write In (Required) Not enough content-specific training Technology not core to content 40 20 0 What are the top 3 challenges your content team / department faces? 60 Content strategies not standard for the entire organization No direct evaluation of content effectiveness No clear strategy or plan - content created and managed on the fly Content not tied to business goals and objectives Don’t have the right content roles/staff Customer data is limited and channel-specific Bottlenecks in content operation Bottlenecks in IT Technology not sufficient to handle the complexity of content strategy Other - Write In (Required) Not enough content-specific training Technology not core to content 40 20 0
  12. 12. “ T h e r e ' s b e e n a l o t o f c h a n g e i n o u r o r ga n i za t i o n a s a r e s u l t o f w h a t w e l e a r n e d d u r i n g t h e C O V I D c r i s i s . I t b e c a m e o b v i o u s t h a t t o m e e t t h e i n c r e a s i n g n e e d s o f o u r c u s t o m e r s , w e n e e d e d t o a c t i v e l y b r e a k d o w n o u r c o n t e n t s i l o s . A s a f i r s t s t e p , we've brought the teams who deliver our onboarding, adoption, and help content into the same group. O u r g o a l , u l t i m a t e l y, i s t o a l i g n o u r d i s p a ra t e s t ra t e g i e s a n d f u n c t i o n a s a single, cohesive unit.” — Anneliese Wirth, Senior Content Strategist, Cisco (WebEx Growth) 12 12 OVERCOMING SILOS AT AN ENTERPRISE
  13. 13. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 13 Content Roles and Process Organizations are reshaping their content teams to include more modern content roles and adapt new process models. Yet, many organizations struggle to provide content-specific training—even though such training correlates with content success. Topics covered in content-specific training have become more diverse.
  14. 14. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 14 Content Teams TEAM SIZE How many members does your team have? § More than half say they are leaders of their content teams. The teams vary in size, ranging from fewer than three members to more than 21. § The majority of teams report having six or fewer members. 16-20 11-15 7-10 4-6 ≤ 3 21+ 3% 17% 27% 29% 13% 12%
  15. 15. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 15 Which of the following roles do you have on your team? Content Teams CONTENT ROLES
  16. 16. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 16 Which of the following roles do you have on your team? Content Teams CONTENT ROLES § Content marketer has increased 112% from 2017. There is also an uptick in content strategist and content designer roles. § 52% report leadership roles like content manager or director, up 8% from 2017. § Some organizations also have VP or C-level leadership roles focused on content. § Writer roles have declined 16% since 2017.
  17. 17. “We're organized by specific product groups, and each team has specific roles. S o, t h e r e ' s s o m e b o d y w h o ' s t h e U X l e a d , t h e d e v l e a d , t h e p r o d u c t l e a d a n d t h e n t h e a g i l e c o a c h /s c r u m m a s t e r. We're all supposed to be working together to drive the product features that we want to build.” — Survey Respondent from a Large Financial Institution 17 LEANING INTO A SQUAD MODEL
  18. 18. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 18 Presence of content-specific training by content operations maturity level Content Training 100% of teams at maturity level 5 offer content-specific training. Only 15% of organizations with no formal content operations offer content-specific training. 1 2 3 4 5
  19. 19. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 19 Content Vision The evidence is clear. Organizations that report the most success with content also report having a content vision. Learn more about the connection.
  20. 20. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 20 Does your organization have a clear content vision? Content Vision 63% of organizations lack a clear vision for content. This is up from 54% in our 2017 study. Yes 27% No 63%
  21. 21. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 21 Clearly communicated vision by success level Content Vision and Success Does your organization have a clear content vision? § Organizations with a content vision are more likely to report success. § 100% of organizations that report no success also report not having a content vision. Successful organizations are more likely to clearly communicate the content vision.
  22. 22. “ I t i s v e r y d i f f i c u l t t o m o t i va t e my s e l f, t h e t e a m , o r t h e l a r g e r o r ga n i za t i o n w i t h o u t a v i s i o n … k n o w i n g w hy w e a r e h e r e , w hy w h a t w e a r e d o i n g m a t t e r s , a n d w h a t w e a r e t r y i n g t o a c h i e v e . Ro a d m a p s a r e c o n c r e t e a n d s h o w t h e o r ga n i za t i o n h o w w e a c h i e v e a n d d e l i v e r o n o u r v i s i o n .” — Kelly Lawetz, Director, Genetec 22 VISION, MOTIVATION, + ROADMAPS 22
  23. 23. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 23 Content Measurement and Evaluation Most companies continue to face content measurement challenges. But organizations that are evaluating content effectiveness are reaping the rewards. Learn more about what they are.
  24. 24. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 24 Content Evaluation Does your organization regularly evaluate content impact and success? Yes 35% No 65% 65% of organizations do not evaluate content. This is up slightly, from 62.5% in our 2017 study.
  25. 25. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 25 Content Evaluation Why don't you regularly measure impact and success? § A lack of time (73%) and vague objectives and goals (69%) are the most common reasons for not evaluating content. § This finding reiterates the connection between having a vision and strategy and efficiently defining what to evaluate or measure.
  26. 26. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 26 Content Measurement and Success Organizations that evaluate content success are better poised for success. DO Evaluate Content DON’T Evaluate Content My team has clear goals and understands how to achieve them 71% 30% My team has effective content standards and planning procedures 69% 31% My team employs effective decision-making and problem-solving processes 71% 51% My team is empowered to take risks and has permission to fail 71% 48% My team receives adequate recognition (whether verbal or monetary) 61% 34% My team has the flexibility to respond to change 87% 68% Such teams are more likely to have goals, standards, decision-making, and culture that empower team members.
  27. 27. “ O n e o f o u r c h a l l e n g e s i s w a k i n g p e o p l e u p t o t h e f a c t t h a t t h e r e i s value in this technical content, a n d n o t j u s t i n s u p p o r t i n g c u s t o m e r s , b u t v a l u e t h a t c a n b e m o n e t i z e d , s u c h a s g e n e r a t i n g s a l e s . T h a t ' s s o m e t h i n g t h a t w e ' r e a b l e t o d o t h r o u g h a n a l y t i c s . S o now the marketing team has realized that they have this asset t h a t i s d r a w i n g a l l o f t h i s t r a f f i c a n d c a n b e u s e d t o g e n e r a t e l e a d s a n d p o t e n t i a l l y s a l e s . . . A n d this is helping us get buy-in f o r a d d e d v a l u e p r o j e c t s .” — Rick Teplitz, Manager, Imperva 27 SEEING CONTENT VALUE OPENS OPPORTUNITIES 27
  28. 28. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 28 Content Technology Enterprises face increasing demand to provide the right content to the right customers at the right time at scale. Learn more about how organizations are starting to rise to the challenge with more—and more diverse—technology applications.
  29. 29. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 29 Content Management Which of the following technologies does your organization use to manage content? § 73% of organizations use a content management system or platform. Nearly 60% are using an open-source platform like Drupal or Wordpress. This is up from 40% in our previous report. § 41% use other specialized content technologies for purposes such as workflow, standards compliance, and asset management. Many organizations are using these technologies in addition to a content management system or platform.
  30. 30. “ We h a v e a f e w different workflows, s o w e a r e s t a r t i n g t o l o o k i n t o d i f f e r e n t o p t i o n s f o r m a n a g i n g t h e m . F o r e x a m p l e , w e h a d G a t h e r C o n t e n t d o a d e m o f o r o u r t e a m t o g e t e v e r y o n e t h i n k i n g a b o u t t h e w o r k f l o w s t e p s . M y t e a m , w h i c h i s p r i m a r i l y p u b l i c h e a l t h p r o f e s s i o n a l s , i n j u s t t h a t o n e d e m o s t a r t e d t o s e e t h e p o w e r a n d e f f i c i e n c y o f t h e s e t y p e s o f p l a t f o r m s .” — Susanna Guzman, Consumer Health Information, March of Dimes 30 EXPLORING WORKFLOW TECHNOLOGIES 30
  31. 31. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 31 Does your organization seek to provide a personalized content experience? Content Personalization Almost half of organizations are trying to offer personalized content experiences. This is up from 38% in our 2017 study. Yes 44% No 56%
  32. 32. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 32 Data Used in Content Personalization What criteria does your organization use to determine which content to deliver to users? § 65% of organizations that offer personalized content experiences report using behavior criteria such as previous content viewed. § 50% report using demographic criteria. • Other criteria include firmographics such as business size, industry, and purchase behaviors.
  33. 33. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 33 Content and AI What tasks are you currently using machine learning and/or AI to help complete? Distribution, such as content syndication or targeting, is the most common application, with 39% of AI / machine learning users citing it. 22% report using machine learning and/or AI to help manage and generate content. This is up from 15% in our previous study.
  34. 34. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 34 What Thriving Content Operations Look Like Get a snapshot of organizations that say they reached level 5—sustaining the day-to-day content demand while also innovating and seeing a return on investment.
  35. 35. What Makes Content Operations Successful? l content-science.com/content-operations-study/ 35 Have a clearly communicated vision Evaluate content effectiveness and ROI 100% of thriving organizations regularly evaluate content impact and success, compared to only 32% of organizations at levels 1-4 Thriving companies are less likely to consider direct evaluation of content effectiveness to be a challenge and more likely to measure success based on return on investment (ROI). Face fewer barriers to success Zero thriving companies report any of these challenges: • Content strategies not standard for the entire organization • No clear strategy or plan - content created and managed on the fly • Content not tied to business goals and objectives • No or not enough content-specific training • Technology not core to content Organizations at maturity level 5… All the thriving organizations say their team has a clear content vision. And 75% of them note this vision has been clearly communicated, with the team fully invested in realizing it. Get more specific training All thriving organizations provide content training compared with 19% of non-thriving companies. And 67% of thriving companies provide training in content analysis / data science specifically. Employ more advanced technology Thriving organizations are more likely to provide a personalized content experience—75% thriving vs. 43% non-thriving. And thriving organizations are more likely to be using machine learning or AI—50% thriving vs. 20% non-thriving. Thriving organizations are more likely to use voice of customer/sentiment data (50% thriving vs. 27% non-thriving) as well as competitive data tracking (50% thriving vs. 21% non-thriving). Use more diverse data to evaluate content A Glimpse into Thriving Content Operations
  36. 36. What Makes Content Operations Successful? 36 C L O S I N G C O M M E N T S If I had to sum up what our findings say about the state of content operations today, I’d say “two steps forward, one step back.” Smart and aspiring organizations face an exciting opportunity to differentiate on content. Founder + President, Content Science Author, The Content Advantage Get more commentary and recommendations from Colleen Jones in the full report.
  37. 37. What Makes Content Operations Successful? 37 Content Operations Assessment M O R E O N C O N T E N T O P E R AT I O N S Get the Full Report The full report with detailed findings, more quotes, and commentary from Colleen Jones is available as • A premium report at Content Science Review • Material in our Content Leadership + Operations Certification at Content Science Academy Links to all of our content operations resources are available at content-science.com/content-operations-study/ At what level of maturity is your organization? Take a quick assessment online to find out. Take the Assessment >>
  38. 38. 38 A b o u t C o n t e n t S c i e n c e What Makes Content Operations Successful? We’re an end-to-end content company founded by Colleen Jones that turns insight about your content into impact. www.content-science.com
  39. 39. What Makes Content Operations Successful? 39 A B O U T C O N T E N T S C I E N C E SOLUTIONS STRATEGY + CONSULTING With a sophisticated yet collaborative style, we advise, research and train on content strategy and operations. STUDIO Our diverse content capabilities serve the entire customer experience and enable the entire employee experience. INSIGHTS What content is working? What’s not? Our CS Lab analysts can help answer those questions and more. PRODUCTS The leader in automating evaluation of content effectiveness Devoted to a variety of training in content excellence Online magazine with free and premium content

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