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Content processes for content teams (2017)


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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.

Published in: Design
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Content processes for content teams (2017)

  1. 1. Process to the people How governance can power content teams
  2. 2. John Lennon's likened his song, "Power to the People," to "Give Peace a Chance."
  3. 3. Both songs were written, he said, to be sung by people. It's why the songs are relatively simple, with plenty of repetition.
  4. 4. Where "Power to the People" differs, though, is that it is something of a socialist script to be sung while protesting. It’s about average people becoming empowered through action.
  5. 5. Content teams can be empowered, too. Whether you’re a journalist at the New York Times.
  6. 6. Or working on content marketing for a software-as-a-service solution.
  7. 7. Whether you’re working in the financial industry.
  8. 8. Or telecommunications.
  9. 9. Or transportation.
  10. 10. 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.
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. It’s the processes I want to focus on this evening. Processes are the steps by which you get things done.
  13. 13. 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.
  14. 14. 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.
  15. 15. 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.
  16. 16. 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.
  17. 17. Getting everybody working to the same process is one way to realize CONSISTENCY and EFFICIENCY.
  18. 18. 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.
  19. 19. 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?”
  20. 20. And while those questions may be simple, they often yield very messy answers. TSASK EXAMPLE.
  21. 21. © 2016 Clariteq Systems Consulting Ltd.38Working With Business Processes – Extract Various names: •  Swimlane Diagram •  Workflow Diagram •  Cross-Functional Flowchart (Visio) •  Process Map •  Process Responsibility Diagram •  Functional Deployment Chart •  Line Of Visibility (LOV) chart •  People-Process Chart You can also use a process diagram to create a swim lane, which goes very deep into the process to show where the work is being handed off from one person to another. This is a great way to reveal roadblocks and wasted effort. This example is from our friend Alec Sharp, who is the authority on business process design.
  23. 23. What results from the use of content processes is sophistication. And content teams that have processes to guide their efforts are empowered to mature their content practices.
  24. 24. I know what you’re thinking
  25. 25. “It’s next to impossible to come up with content processes, isn’t it.”
  26. 26. Would you like to find out just how difficult it is?
  27. 27. Let’s just focus on the “Design and create” phase of the content lifecycle.
  28. 28. We’ve been helping clients develop content processes for a couple of years now.
  29. 29. We assemble a group of people from different departments and business groups, pulling together anyone who has a stake in content.
  30. 30. And we have them construct the processes by which they create and manage content.
  31. 31. And at the end they’ve created some kind of process path.
  32. 32. 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.
  33. 33. 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 created.
  34. 34. 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.
  35. 35. Let’s review
  36. 36. We've designed content processes for a number of different clients of different sizes in different industries and sectors.
  37. 37. For teams of different sizes, following different governance models, and with different levels of maturity and sophistication.
  38. 38. A government organization was shifting to a service delivery model and was looking to centralize digital content responsiblities.
  39. 39. 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.
  40. 40. A municipality was looking to improve its digital presence in the context of every department having authority over their own slice of the website.
  41. 41. 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.
  42. 42. 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.
  43. 43. Every one of those process diagrams is different, when you start diving into the granular nature of an organization’s context.
  44. 44. But they all start here.
  45. 45. 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.
  46. 46. This is the process that aligns to Planning content.
  47. 47. This is for content maintenance.
  48. 48. 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.
  49. 49. 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.
  50. 50. 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.
  51. 51. • Strongly agree • Agree • Disagree • 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.
  52. 52. Content processes are clearly defined and used for every phase of the content lifecycle.
  53. 53. High-level content processes are consistent across teams and departments.
  54. 54. Variations of content processes are defined and documented only when valuable, and only to the degree of granularity needed.
  55. 55. 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 efficiencies.
  56. 56. Just imagine what you can do.
  57. 57. Thank you
  58. 58. Blaine Kyllo @solocorps