Tuesday, March 29, 2005

creating an online content strategy -- the "why" before the "how"

I'm giving a talk about online content strategies at the Gilbane Conference on Content Management Technologies in San Francisco next month. In developing the presentation, I keep stopping at the "why" of content strategy before delving into the "how."

Why is this? I keep asking myself.

I think it's because content strategy is not really understood, especially by folks in IT, who are focused on figuring out which Content Management System (CMS) to buy. To IT, it's clear that there is too much content and there are too many people in a flurry to post, change and remove information from the site, and CMSs hold the promise of taking responsibility for doing all of that away from them and put into the hands of the "content owners."

But it's not that simple. In fact, if it were, the chain of command for information would have been figured out a long time ago.

The reality is, most organizations have never had a content strategy. Why? Three reasons, as I see it:

  1. They didn't know they needed one. And maybe they didn't. If each of their business units operated as an independent entity, publishing information (sales sheets, newsletters, marketing materials) to discrete audiences with no overlap with the organization's other business units, they may not have needed to become unified.

  2. They didn't know how to create one. That's understandable, since folks have only been thinking about content strategies for a relatively short time, since the Internet became prevalent in the 1990s.

  3. They didn't have the time or people to do it. That's where I think I get stuck, because if an organization just chooses to overlook this process, they're making a big mistake. (For more, read my article on the risks of not managing content.)
Well, I hope Gilbane conference attendees learn something from my talk.

1 comment:

Jessy said...

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