Digital technology is challenging the traditional "business as usual" model. New technologies make it easier for employees to "work smarter, not harder," while enhancing the company's relationship with its customers. However, digital initiatives can fail without an effective strategy. One key element in this strategy should be content management.
Many large organizations rely on an enterprise CMS, such as Sitecore, to manage massive amounts of content across all channels. Even small businesses, however, can benefit from the following steps.
- Plan your strategy. Content management is not just an IT function. It involves the entire enterprise, so meet with all stakeholders to determine precisely what they need from a CMS, and what they can contribute to the initiative. Develop a strategy to manage analytics to ensure you reap the maximum benefits. Another crucial, but often overlooked, strategy you should plan is your metadata strategy to make sure that your customers can easily find your content. Taking the time to plan your strategy will shorten the time it takes for you to launch your CMS, begin receiving a return from it, and make post launch corrections.
- Decide how you are going to manage your content. Who will bear the burden for publishing content? Will authors be allowed to upload content without additional approval? If approvals are required, who has the authorization to sign off on new content? If authors are permitted to upload new content, who will proof, edit or review it to make sure it complies with company goals and policies? How will you determine content that can be repurposed versus content that just needs to be deleted or archived? What will be the criteria for deleting content rather than archiving it?
- Collect and consolidate your content. Content consists of more than just your service manuals or company history. It includes your videos, graphics, sound bites, data, photos, as well as the metadata associated with each. Your goal is to make sure that all content can be accessed through a seamless, single system. Therefore, you need to make sure that necessary data does not exist in siloes or massive files that contain primarily superfluous data. Create an inventory of all your content to make it easier to manage.
- Make it easy for users to find your content. As already discussed, metadata can help with this. However, you can also use advanced search options, such as allowing synonyms or correcting spellings, to help ensure that users find precisely what they want in the shortest time possible.
- Use responsive design. It is impossible to predict the type of device that may be used to access your content. When you use responsive design, the display of your content will automatically adjust to provide the best viewing experience possible for the type of device. It is important to remember that responsive design is far more than just shrinking the size of the display. It involves determinations about how many images (if any) should be displayed on a particular device, where the navigation controls will be located, and much more. Without responsive design, users may become frustrated when they encounter content with display that is difficult to read or navigate through.
- Use effective research to help you determine the effectiveness of your content. Whether you base your research on analytics, customer personas, or another basis, you need to know who is accessing your content and from what type of device to determine whether you are reaching the people you need to reach.
In summary, the very words "content management system" provide a great deal of insight into the fundamentals of CMS. First, you need content that is of the greatest interest or use. Second, you must manage your content to make sure that it is always relevant and constantly refreshed. Finally, you need a system in place to guide you while creating, maintaining and updating content. The Sitecore CMS can make it easier to manager all of your content for your entire enterprise. However, the most important thing is to have some type of CMS in place as soon as you possibly can.