You Need a Content Plan

We were having a staff meeting recently and talking about new and upcoming projects. We realized that about half of them somehow involve creating a content operations plan for our clients. We’re delighted to see folks getting serious about operations — but what does that mean?

There are a several facets to ongoing content operations, or content management. We’ll presume for the moment that you have an overarching content strategy — a business strategy that explains how content helps you meet your organization’s goals and your audience’s needs. That’s always step 1.

But even if you have an overall strategy, you may need to focus on how some of the details work in practice. You need to know how you’re going to solve what Jeffrey MacIntyre several years ago called the “Day 2 problem” — you created content for launch. Now it’s Day 2 of your website — what’s next?

Your content plan might take you in one or more of these directions:

  • Add more like you already have
  • Add new categories of content
  • Review and revise or remove current content [on a schedule or when a trigger event happens]

Most importantly, you’ll have to figure out who’s going to make decisions about all these things, and how. While you may think deciding what goes on the home page is political, just wait til you want to decide WHO gets to decide.

I’m super-excited that Lisa Welchman’s long-awaited book is now available on just these topics. You’ll definitely want to check that out.

On many of the content plans we’ve worked on, we often end up breaking things up into roles and tasks, and only at the very end do we match names to roles. For instance, you might say:

Role Tasks
Chief Content Officer
  • Convene content team for quarterly meetings
  • Represent content strategy to C-suite
  • Guide and advise overall content strategy
  • Serve as the content owner for the org
  • Guide product managers in making content decisions according to standards decided by content team
Product Manager
  • Serve as the content owner for a product
  • Coordinate content work between editors and product team
  • Outline content strategy for product
Editor
  • Work with product manager, content creators to execute content strategy for product
  • Assign content creation and review needs to creators
  • Ensure finished content meets standards
  • Publish content to production
Content Creator
  • Create, review content as assigned
  • Adhere to content standards

That’s a pretty basic look at a content roles/tasks structure. You’ll see that most of the tasks don’t actually involve creating content — instead, they’re focused on creating the right environment and set of standards for content to be created.

When I talk about a content plan, it’s this piece I’m most interested in. Yes, we need a schedule. Yes, we need topics to publish. But if we haven’t decided who and how we’ll decide, we don’t have a plan yet.

If you need help creating a content plan for your organization, Creek Content can help.

Gathering Information About Your Audience

I’ve found that many people in the content world operate at a far remove from their audience. That’s kind of funny, if you think about it. Journalism and customer service are probably the traditional fields from which a lot of modern content work stems — and both of those require constant interaction with the audience. […]

Continue reading...

Have We Removed the Art From Writing?

I’ve been waiting for a couple of years for someone to talk about removing the art from content creation. Most writers/editors/creative types I know got into their business because they loved the lyrical potential of the written word, or the emotional response they could provoke with video, or at some level, they appreciated the potential […]

Continue reading...

Applying New Interface and Technical Thinking to a CMS

Have you used a legacy content management system? An enterprise CMS? Something a little older and stodgier than WordPress? How about SharePoint, even — either as a document management system or a CMS? Now…think for just a minute … Imagine that you’re 24 years old, on your first job. You’re experienced in using Twitter, Tumblr, […]

Continue reading...

How I Know Content Strategy Is Real

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this post by Olivier Blanchard at Brandbuilder.com, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind ever since. Yes, it is a bit dated (posted in October 2010), but that doesn’t change the fact that I took offense to this particular paragraph: 2010’s Social Media […]

Continue reading...