In-house content creation is usually among marketing budgets' most expensive line items. Companies constantly evaluate their content strategies, from e-commerce startups to media giants, trying to save money and offer better quality content.
#What is Content Operations?
Content operations (ContentOps) is a system that includes processes, people, and technology that allow teams to plan, create, manage, and analyze all content types for all channels.
Content operations impact every unit of the enterprise. Marketing, sales, human resources, R&D, and executives are part of the content ecosystem.
In other words, if a department creates, consumes, or shares content, it must participate in content operations.
Content operations allow businesses to unify their operating models on the same capabilities across teams and channels.
The problem is that content is traditionally seen as a product of marketing teams and is not always considered a strategic function of the business.
Companies who skip investing in content operations solutions often fail to deliver personalized content experiences that customers now expect.
The State of Personalization Report points out that 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience.
On the other hand, companies that understand content as a system find it easier to make intelligent content decisions. As a result, these companies remain more adaptable to changes and emerging trends.
#Why Do you Need Content Operations?
Cross-enterprise content operations have many benefits. They unite fragmented strategies, break down data silos, and bring teams together.
Make Processes Repeatable
When it isn't clear who does what, how, and when, a lot of time is wasted on creating duplicate and unnecessary content.
Conversely, you may not have the content you need, because the task gets passed from team to team.
Inefficient content operations lead to silos, where content is created and managed independently of other teams without a shared understanding of what content is needed.
A solid content operations environment reduces wastage by making the successful examples repeatable and available to teams across the enterprise.
Save Time and Money
To save time and money, companies need to invest and spend time working on their content operations, which in turn create scalable and repeatable processes that allow teams to do more with less.
So how does this work?
- You have a team where each member has a dedicated role and specific tasks.
- You clearly outline the processes.
- You have the technology to support these efforts.
As a result, your content operations are more efficient.
For example, you can save time and money by:
- Launching projects on time by putting content first
- Reducing back and forth between content drafts and approval
- Mapping out different processes ahead
- Having content in the correct format
- Removing bottlenecks
Even if it requires more investment upfront, every increase in efficiency inevitably leads to time and cost-saving benefits.
Boost Teams’ Confidence
We can agree that the success of any business depends on trust between the customer and the brand.
And what is that unique experience that customers trust most these days?
It's personalized content.
A report from McKinsey finds that 80% of consumers want personalization from their retailers.
Content operations allow teams to put the customer experience at the center of the strategy. Today's most successful brands are doing that — putting customer experience at the intersection of content and data.
Personalized customer experience gives your marketers and content creators confidence that their customers are getting the knowledge that is relevant to them and relevant for the channels they prefer.
A content operations platform can make your business ops more organized in multiple ways. Here are some examples:
- Content creators don't need to keep an ongoing correspondence with people in the legal department to confirm that the messages are compliant with regulations.
- Content planners don't have any uncharted territory between themselves, business value, and customer demand conversations.
- Content operations managers have the right content in the fitting subsystem for the right channel.
Organizations often struggle with content that takes too long to make, holds little business value, doesn't provide insights, and fails to deliver measurable ROI.
Content operations solutions remove these obstacles and optimize content placement across the enterprise.
This way, your graphic designers and copywriters always have the approved content to work with. Your customers see the content that is tailored to their interests, and marketing can analyze how the content performs and make data-driven changes that positively reflect the bottom line.
Brings Accountability to Each Part of the Process
Cost, time, and volume are essential for marketing operations. However, marketing often lacks the means to calculate the ROI accurately.
Content operations tools remove the speculation so your teams can see and measure content performance to the tiniest detail across different channels. Teams can measure the key performance indicators (KPIs) through content ops and assess diagnostic content metrics.
A robust content operations platform gives you answers to marketing performance questions like:
- Which content drives the most engagement?
- How long does it take to produce a select piece of content?
- How well did a piece of content perform on any given channel?
Content operations allow you to use your data to evaluate how your content increases business value for your company.
#Components of Content Operations
People are the foundation of content and content operations. Customers may be the most critical aspect of content, but when it comes sot content operations, the focus is on the team.
The first step is to define clear roles and responsibilities for content strategists, managers, creators, editors, and other team members.
You can even break down the content creation team into specialized positions like content writers, graphic designers, and photographers.
Some roles may overlap. For example, content writers and editors have different responsibilities, but in some teams, writers may also be responsible for editing their work.
Teams should avoid such overlaps, but they should operate efficiently as long as the roles and responsibilities are clear.
You need a roadmap to get your project from start to finish when you have people in place. Your team needs processes, and the very roles and responsibilities of your team members will determine workflow.
Here are some of the typical processes in a robust content operations setup:
Structured Content Types
To streamline your process, you need to define the types of content your business produces. This kind of content modeling is also helpful if you need to educate people on the purpose of different types of content.
With content operations in place, content production workflows can be a series of steps any content needs to pass to production. Depending on the type of content, a workflow may undergo several compliance reviews and a series of editing and testing.
Style Guidelines & Accessibility
A style guide allows your teams to publish consistent content across multiple channels while keeping a unified voice. To achieve this, style rules, accessibility requirements, and quality assurance (QA) must become part of the authoring experience.
This process is far more effective than sending people on one-off training courses and asking them to remember everything.
Content governance is the guidelines that dictate how content is created and managed. Successful organizations have recognized the cost of content in terms of the effort to keep it up-to-date and accurate.
Content ownership costs more than content creation, so businesses should avoid staying behind on content at all costs.
Audits and Measuring Tools
It is impossible to know whether content has an impact without well-defined goals and tools for measuring the impact. Auditing also includes content QA, which includes looking for broken links, and other breaches of standards.
Technology is the last key to successful content operations. It represents a collection of necessary tools for accomplishing each task.
Since planning and executing content operations are so complex, teams need various technological resources to be successful.
It is why we divide content operations technology into Project Management, Task Management, Content Execution, and Analytics & Reporting.
All content should be visible in an editorial calendar, which keeps track of where, how, and when given pieces of content get published. An editorial calendar is an essential tool for multiple teams.
This shouldn't be confused with scheduling tools that publish timed posts, like Hootsuite or Sprout Social. Examples of project management and scheduling tools are Monday and Asana.
Monday and Asana are also capable task management tools. Using these platforms, your team can build, execute and follow content operations.
At one point, content operations need technology to execute tasks. So what would your team use? For example, writers need word processing tools like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, while designers need web and graphic design tools like Canva or Adobe Photoshop.
Analytics & Reporting
Analyzing and reporting is usually the last step in a content life cycle. WordPress has respectable analytics capabilities, while some companies prefer Google Analytics to monitor their content and its success.
Content Operation Platforms
Suppose you want to take your content operations to the next level. In that case, you need a content hub that acts as a collection of structured content that comes from a variety of sources or a single source. A content hub organizes content in a modular, reusable way that can be distributed throughout the project.
Headless platforms, such as Hygraph have many advantages over traditional backend-frontend content management systems.
For example, when building a website, parts of the content can be modeled to be reusable throughout the project. If another product needs to be created using the same content hub, this structured information allows your teams to work quickly and reuse the modular content in the repository.
A headless content management system allows organizations to manage all the content from a central hub. At the same time, teams can eliminate repetitive work and deliver relevant and consistent content across all platforms and devices.
#How to Start with Content Operations?
Content operations determine how you plan and grow your content and connect with your audience.
You can try to manage each of these functions piece by piece. However, your efforts won't deliver the same ROI, efficiency, and customer experience as if you used content operations solutions.
Content impacts every facet of your business, so having a content operations strategy that includes people, processes, and technology automatically improves different aspects of your business.
Businesses looking to buy into the next generation of experience marketing rely heavily on content operations. Your brand can build better customer connections across all channels when a content strategy is based on relevant and accurate data.