We all know how important it is to manage content through its lifecycle. Streamlined and efficient content teams do this by articulating content processes to make sure that everyone involved, from stakeholders to subject matter experts to content creators, have a shared understanding of the work being done.
As a senior strategist with Content Strategy Inc., Blaine has facilitated workshops with numerous companies from different sectors to help them discover the processes that will improve how they work with content.
In this presentation, Blaine shares the suite of common process models for each phase of the life cycle that can be used by any company in any industry sector. He'll articulate the differences, and explain why they exist.
Hi. I’m Blaine Kyllo. I’m a senior strategist with Content Strategy Inc. And today I’m going to talk about how content processes can empower content teams. And how
easy it is for you to implement them.
At Content Strategy, we consider the needs of employees as central to content strategy. They are the people delivering on the strategy in order to achieve the goals of
the business. Content governance is the term that encompasses everything that supports employees. From tools and technologies that enable them to do their jobs, to
the metrics and measures used to validate eﬀorts and prove success, to the reporting structures and systems that are in place to ensure eﬃciencies.
It’s the processes I want to focus on this evening. Processes are the steps by which you get things done.
Processes can be modelled and diagramed. They all follow a pattern where they are initiated by a trigger or triggering event, there are a series of steps that include
actions and decisions, and they conclude with some outcome. In our world, we can design speciﬁc processes related to content.
Ideally, you want to construct processes for each phase of the content lifecycle. Because the steps you need to take to create content are not the same as those you
need to maintain it.
Now these content processes are incredibly helpful to content teams because they make it clear what steps need to be taken when people are working with content.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an author, or a photo editor, or a subject matter expert, or a CEO, you can look at a content process and understand what’s happening.
Imagine what would happen if a bee didn’t know the steps they needed to take to collect pollen and return it to the hive.
Getting everybody working to the same process is one way to realize CONSISTENCY and EFFICIENCY.
And once you’ve got content processes ﬁgured out, you can use them to reveal a lot more about how your organization works with content.
Roles and responsibilities follow logically from a process diagram. Once you’ve established what the steps are, you can ask the simple questions: “Who’s involved in that
step? What is their role? Why?”
And while those questions may be simple, they often yield very messy answers. TSASK EXAMPLE.
“It’s next to impossible to come up with content processes, isn’t it.”
Would you like to ﬁnd out just how diﬃcult it is?
Let’s just focus on the “Design and create” phase of the content lifecycle.
We’ve been helping clients develop content processes for a couple of years now.
We assemble a group of people from diﬀerent departments and business groups, pulling together anyone who has a stake in content.
And we have them construct the processes by which they create and manage content.
And at the end they’ve created some kind of process path.
Now it’s your turn
You’re going to design your own process for creating content.
Please pair up with someone sitting next to you, and choose a company or industry that you’re familiar with and you’re comfortable exploring.
I’ll give you the outcome for free. When it comes to the create content phase of the lifecycle, the outcome of your process should be the publication of the content you’ve
Design a process
for content creation
I’m here if you have any questions.
Just raise a hand to let me know when you’re done.
We've designed content processes for a number of diﬀerent clients of diﬀerent sizes in diﬀerent industries and sectors.
For teams of diﬀerent sizes, following diﬀerent governance models, and with diﬀerent levels of maturity and sophistication.
A government organization was shifting to a service delivery model and was looking to centralize digital content responsiblities.
A major Canadian ﬁnancial institution had a team of writers who were meeting daily to talk about new content that was required. Teams lacked the technical tools to
support them, and there was confusion about who owned the content.
A municipality was looking to improve its digital presence in the context of every department having authority over their own slice of the website.
A regional tourism association was making the transition to digital, and needed help ﬁguring out how to reorganize the eﬀort without needing editorial teams to support
multiple print products.
A regional ﬁnancial institution was hung up on marketing content without realizing they had many more content needs that were being ignored as a result.
Every one of those process diagrams is diﬀerent, when you start diving into the granular nature of an organization’s context.
We’ve discovered that there are consistent content processes for all stages of the lifecycle that apply, at a high level, to all organizations regardless of sector or size.
Here’s the one for deﬁning a content strategy.
This is the process that aligns to Planning content.
For each of these, you can articulate variations. This is a variation of the create content process for when you’re dealing with content that will be distributed somehow
after it’s been published.
You do not want to create variants unless they are needed, however. The goal is for consistency and eﬃciency, and if you start coming up with dozens of exceptions, you
start to lose the power of processes.
And while you can get much more speciﬁc about an organizations process – these extra steps were needed to accommodate the needs of one client in their Plan content
process – at a high level they all start at the same place.
To wrap things up, I’d like to tell you about something we’re working on that will help you ﬁgure out where you’re at in terms of the maturity of your content practices. It’s
a way to ASSESS and PROGRESS your content. The idea is that you answer a series of questions about your current content practices and business context. We use
that information to help you identify where you should be focusing your eﬀorts.
• Strongly agree
• Strongly disagree
• I don’t know
So here are three statements you can think about that will help you assess your current maturity when it comes to content governance and processes. For each of these,
determine whether you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree. It’s also possible that you don’t know. That’s okay, too, because it indicates something you
need to ﬁnd out.
Content processes are
clearly deﬁned and used for
every phase of the content
High-level content processes
are consistent across teams
Variations of content processes
are deﬁned and documented
only when valuable, and only to
the degree of granularity needed.
Content teams have a lot in common. They’ve got a lot to share with each other. If you’re working with a content team now and you don’t have processes in place, these
will give you a place to start. If you’re looking to build or support a content team, ﬁnd a way to get these into the discussion as a way to drive consistency and