Continuing our series on the Essential Elements of an Effective Content Backbone, let’s talk about how to keep content in good health.

Image of a stethoscope on a keyboardWhat’s “content health”? Well, it’s the glue and process that keep your content workflows, structure, systems, and organization running smoothly.

The foundation for an effective Content Backbone is current, well-documented, and clearly communicated content processes. Here are five strategies for ensuring success:

  1. Define Roles. Always clearly define the content oversight role and identify who should be responsible for owning content process. This role is key to keeping process current, documented, and communicated. Also, define supporting roles in each content-creating group that works with the process owner, to keep everyone informed and to push communication and adoption into content-creating groups.
  2. Meet Regularly. This might be twice a year, quarterly or monthly, but commit to meet and discuss content process needs to ensure that they stay in line with quickly changing content requirements.
  3. Communicate Formally. Content process will not be taken seriously if it’s not formally recognized—and it is serious business if it is truly intended to generate revenue. Consistent and formal communication of content process across all levels of the organization breaks down barriers to support and buy-in and makes it less likely that there will be rogue and unmanaged content process, and more likely that the new initiatives or issues will be communicated back.
  4. Document Process. In this business, reorganizations and turnovers are prevalent. When talent comes and goes, if process has not been documented, that knowledge leaves with them. The result is that existing processes fracture and break down quickly, and the quality of usable and correctly created content degrades. By maintaining documented process, and ensuring that it is always up to date and accessible, these issues can be dramatically reduced. So commit to documenting process—it is inexpensive and brings exponential returns.
  5. Regularly Revisit Content Requirements. It seems like every day, there’s a new content channel or outlet to address in content workflows. Or content needs to be created differently, organized differently, or oriented differently to address a new market or revenue stream. Assume that there will always be new demands, and revisit those frequently to realign process, communication, and creation requirements to stay on track.

This segues quite nicely into the next post in our series, which will focus on governance and oversight, and what that means for a content organization. Stay tuned for that.

How are you ensuring content health in your organization, what are your challenges, and where are you seeing success? Let me know more in the comments below.

If you missed the previous post in this series, see Structured Content for Effective Content Workflows on the TFP blog.

Image: Some rights reserved by Flickr user jfcherry

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.