Content delivers your message and tells your story. So how can you prepare your content for success with digital transformation and smarter personalization?
Ask most digital marketers to define content, and they will immediately refer to the text and images in a media library or DAM. A more thoughtful response might mention video, sound files and possibly animations. Is that really a complete list, considering all multichannel delivery options including AR/VR and all the various IoT devices?
When defining content, we get bogged down if we simply list file types. Practically speaking, content consists of any and all elements that deliver your message and tell your story. A better approach might be to start your content discussion by thinking of your message and not your media library.
Now, that won’t get you out of the file type discussion. Eventually, you will need to decide when it is appropriate to use a .PNG file versus a .JPG file and how to format, store and reuse content. What we are encouraging instead is a preliminary discussion of what content you need before ever putting pixel to screen.
Let’s discuss three strategies to let your content communicate your message:
Digital experience used to mean a website experience, but in this era of IoT devices and AI-driven chat, new channels are added seemingly every day. Content remains central to your message and your brand, but that message and brand needs to be consistent regardless of the channel by which it is consumed. Any modern CMS decouples content management from content delivery. Still, too many organizations approach content creation as though it were destined for a single output.
Creating content with intention requires a flexible and configurable content management system designed with capabilities for marketers, IT and DevOps teams. Progress Sitefinity includes robust APIs for maximum flexibility and connectivity as well as connectors for marketing automation and the Sitefinity Marketplace with widgets, plugins and extensions created by an active development community.
Any forward-thinking technology choice should insist on flexibility that provides for as yet unknown channels and data sources. Be certain to carefully choose a content management system that can grow with you.
For years, we who produce digital marketing technology have promised our customers delivery of their message and brand through any number of emerging channels. Furthermore, we promised we could deliver that same message, that same brand, through all of these channels uniformly.
What has often happens is that messages lose some of their relevance, their personalization, or their urgency, depending on the channel served. Today, most customers consume your message through multiple channels, so it is imperative that those channels be consistent in the message they deliver. If your message is inconsistent through one of your channels, it degrades the effectiveness of all of your channels.
Personalization should be a simplifying process—simplifying the message, and ultimately, reducing the number of steps in the customer journey. This means, again, before we put too much energy into content creation, we must for first decide what level of content performance is required to make that effort worthwhile.
Will your content be relevant for your customers? Will it be easy to find for your customers? Will it be easily accessed by your content creators when necessary?
One important means to do all of this is to apply good taxonomy practices. Taxonomy—adding metadata, tagging, classifying and structuring your content—benefits both internal and external processes, end users and the curators of your content. It begins in during the content creation process (with the inclusion of metadata and alternate text) and continues throughout the content lifecycle. Efficient search engine optimization (SEO) and effective content strategy is impossible without thoughtful taxonomy practices.
Choose content creation products and a content management product with the capabilities to perform this function easily, intuitively and automatically when possible. The process should be part of a content management workflow that can promote accessibility compliance as a requirement for publication when needed.
At minimum, you will need to apply flat taxonomies (tags), hierarchical taxonomies (categories), or association of your content within your CMS as an organizational strategy. Progress Sitefinity CMS supports all of these options, as well supporting AI tools to automatically analyze images to apply tags and metadata.
For a deeper look into ways to make your content work for you, please read our whitepaper, "3 Truths & 2 Lies About Your Content Marketing Strategy."
The workflow process and the plan for how your content is created should become much clearer now. Too often, the speed and efficiency of content creation drives the process, and this hub of activity distracts us from communicating effectively with our customers.
Efficient content creation is essential to remaining relevant, and ultimately, competitive.
J.D. Little is a Senior CMS Market Strategist, a creative communicator, an educator and an advocate for change. Beginning his career in traditional media technology, he has been helping business leaders navigate the waves of disruptive innovation for more than 25 years.
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