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Five Keys to Successful Content Operations

May 12, 2020 | By Mike Belden

  • Every function in the B2B revenue engine must overcome operational challenges related to content
  • Few organizations have achieved an advanced maturity level in developing and managing content
  • An organization’s roadmap to content operations excellence should contain action items in five key areas

Among many useful talks presented at Summit 2020 last week, the session on “The Essential Role of Content Operations” led by Christine Polewarczyk and Lisa Gately was one of the standouts. Not only is good content vital for every B2B function, but managing the content lifecycle poses many challenges that preoccupy B2B leaders and practitioners. Christine and Lisa’s talk provided a clear and detailed summary of how organizations can overcome these challenges.

lightbulb keys on table“Transforming the customer experience requires competency in content operations for every revenue engine function,” said Christine. “And it’s complicated. The customer journey has a lot of touchpoints, a lot of technologies, and a wide variety and volume of content that is involved in those interactions. Content operations is the connective tissue that can help you understand all of those connection points across the customer journey and optimize them.”

During their talk, Christine and Lisa identified the five operational building blocks that best-practice content leaders are using to more productively create, deploy, and manage content that drives positive results. For each of these areas, organizations need to develop content operations competencies within each revenue engine function, and then have the functions work together to develop a shared and consistent content ecosystem. The five building blocks for successful content operations include:

  • Resources and alignment. Content operations requires dedicated resources and alignment across all of the functions that depend on content. Alignment can be achieved by means a cross-functional content council as well as executive sponsorship. Additional factors include skill development and building a culture of content innovation.
  • Asset management. Shortcomings in managing content assets harms employee efficiency and effectiveness and the customer experience. Most B2B marketing organizations have massive content waste and utilization issues in the areas of findability, quality, relevance, and customization.
  • Metadata and taxonomy. Metadata and taxonomy create a content data model that can be used to build a best-in-class content engine and optimize customer experiences. The data model is essential for taking advantage of AI, generating data-driven insights and advanced analytics, and hyper-personalizing customer experiences.
  • Infrastructure. Process and technology gaps contribute to ineffective content strategy, creation, and activation. Most organizations are missing key infrastructure elements required to support effective content planning, content creation, calendaring, workflow optimization, distribution, asset management, and analytics.
  • Measurement. Measurement capabilities are the output of the work done in the first four building blocks, resulting in contextual insights and a competitive advantage. B2B marketing organizations must begin mining advanced insights that allow for intelligent, data-driven content strategy, creation, and activation decisions.

Because organizations have widely variable levels of maturity in each of these five areas, Christine and Lisa recommended action steps for three different levels — crawl, walk, and run — that can be incorporated into an organization’s content operations roadmap.

For example, in the asset management area, an organization at the beginning of its content operations journey should start by conducting a content inventory and content cleanup within each function. Once the organization progresses to the walk level, it can do an asset gap analysis and potentially consolidate asset repositories. An advanced organization can progress even farther by creating a global content library organized on the basis of a universal taxonomy.

“We talk about the crawl, walk, and run phases because it lets you start wherever you are,” said Lisa. “To operationalize this approach, you want to work on each of the five building blocks and build some of these competencies over time. As you expand across functions, though, change won’t always be linear. You may go back and forth between walk and run. But together, working across the organization, you will go far.”

2021 Summit

May 2-5, 2021 | Austin Convention Center

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Mike Belden

Michael Belden is Practice Director, Editorial, at SiriusDecisions. He has more than 15 years of B2B marketing and communications experience.
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