Content creators today are challenged with having to produce content across multiple channels that are also targeting new markets. How do they ensure that their content, process, and technologies most effectively target those channels and markets? There are a number of approaches in play out there, but many of them have unclear goals and are lacking the specific tactical objectives necessary to be successful and competitive. Content distribution has become much more complex, and seat-of-the-pants management is no longer going to cut it.Five Paths

One major question to ask is, when is the last time key decision-makers have come together within your organization to hash out, refine, and agree on the top five to 10 content-specific objectives?

Some additional questions to consider:

  1. What do you know about how your delivery platforms are changing, decreasing, or growing in the next five years?
  2. Are you regularly following industry research to calibrate your knowledge of those metrics?
  3. Have you checked in with your content consumers directly to ask about and assess what they are looking for more of, what they like, and what they don’t like?
  4. Are these the consumers you want to continue to court, or are there new markets that are critical to driving your growth? If so, what can be done to evaluate those new pools?

Answering and refining these objectives regularly is essential to keeping an organization in motion and flexible in order to move in new directions. I recommend that this assessment happen at least once per year, if not more often.

Here’s my recommended approach for successfully capturing and broadcasting these objectives. It’s best to use a facilitator to capture these points so the great minds on your team can stay focused on brainstorming.

Consider what the important content objectives are for the organization. List all that come to mind. Examples: Greater leveraging of social media; more real-time publishing; parallel publishing across multiple content channels; leveraging the growing demand in mobile content consumption. They should all roll up into how your company plans to make money.

Next, these objectives need to be weighted by importance. Some may be sub-objectives that relate to other overarching objectives; if so, organize them that way. Prioritize the objectives and do the work to figure this out. Which ones will have the greatest impact on and value to the organization? Perhaps one needs to precede others.

When you’re done, you’ll have a much more specific content roadmap to begin guiding you.

This leads us to assessing internal issues and taking a hard look a what needs to shift and change to meet these new objectives. How will internal roles and teams best support the need to shift in new directions? Should they be structured differently to think and work more effectively? What processes should change in order to accommodate these new directions? You’ll need to take a hard look at the organization’s culture and the “we’ve always done things that way” mindset that comes with more established staff and practices. If your not sure how to begin to answer these questions, this is a good place to get outside help to bring in knowledge and an  objective perspective.

Last but not least come tools and technology. They are the foundation for content success but should not be the leading consideration. Technology should not drive decisions about content objectives and process; it should be the other way around. With clear content objectives and well-thought-out tactical plans that support them and reflect your organization’s mission, a clear road map for tools and technology needs can be more easily defined.

This approach is a proven methodology that combines all of the essential components for a cohesive vision. The added benefit is having a commonly understood and supported action plan for change. It’s important to take the time to define and regularly refine a content objectives plan to ensure content publishing success.

Posted by: Margot Knorr Mancini

A thought leader in the publishing industry, Margot Knorr Mancini has helped numerous publishers redefine their missions to become nimble content generators with the ability to repurpose content easily and efficiently. As Founder & CEO of Technology for Publishing, her analytical mind allows her to remain a step ahead of the industry, recognizing early trends and developing pivotal best practices.