Takeaways from a New Survey on Content Management and Strategy

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"Luckily publishers have the benefit of old archives, and you don't need to be creating new content all the time. You can simply recycle older content and optimize it for the web and SEO. To tell if content is effective, we live in Google Analytics and a variety of other tools to see where new traffic is coming from, and whether it's staying."

That's from Amanda MacArthur, co-founder and content director of SIPA member Lantern Content Marketing Adventure Company. I thought back to that quote—yes, it has been repurposed—while looking at a new report from Content Marketing Institute.

One takeaway is that too much process appears to be needed for people to repurpose content. Fewer than one in four (24%) respondents say they can always or frequently repurpose content without a "great deal of human intervention." That's in stark contrast to the rest of the report which often points to the lack of processes.

To compile their 2017 Content Management & Strategy Survey (pdf), CMI surveyed 411 marketers from their audience. Despite acknowledging content's importance, many organizations simply don't make it easy enough to create and distribute quality content. Over 90% of respondents said their organization views content as a business asset, yet only 46% indicated they have a documented strategy for managing content that way.

Some other takeaways:

More technology is needed. Only 18% of respondents feel their organization has the right technology in place to manage their content marketing efforts, while 45% have tools, but aren't using them to their potential. Almost two out of five (37%) reported their organizations have not acquired the right tools.

Structures needed to manage content are not in place. Only 29% of respondents have established a message architecture/messaging framework, while 21% are engaged in content governance; while 19% have content audits and inventories and 14% have taxonomies.

Optimization and automation may be buzzwords, but they're not flying high enough. Only 42% use marketing automation software and 18% content optimization software. Just 2% use artificial intelligence. In the interview with MacArthur, optimization stood out. "Articles can be optimized for search, and you can begin to send new traffic to your website with each article you release."

Education is lacking. When respondents were asked about their greatest educational needs regarding managing content, 66% indicated "how to better use technology to manage content as a business asset" and 64% indicated "how to build a scalable content strategy."

More processes need to be put in. In an accompanying post, CMI's Michele Linn emphasized that scalability depends to a large extent on establishing repeatable processes for managing content "so you're not spending time figuring out how to do the work and have time to do the work."  

More structure will improve content creation.  "Marketers who manage their content as a business asset not only give their customers a better experience, but they also feel less stress because they have the systems and processes to create content in a scalable way," Linn added.

Talk has replaced action in some cases.  We hear a lot these days about analytics, personas and the customer journey. But while organizations do have style and brand guidelines in place (70%) and content teams (60%), only 33% have customer journey maps, 50% content performance analytics and 51% use customer personas.

Spare the formality? It happens a little too often. Just over half (53%) have a formal workflow process for planning, creating, and delivering content. Only 19% do content inventory reports and 10% story maps.

At our upcoming Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS), Nov. 13-15 in Fort Lauderdale, there will be many sessions devoted to improving content and distribution:

  • Content Marketing for Content Businesses;
  • Case Study: Turning Paid Content into a Top Revenue Generator;
  • Crafting Content That Gets Shared;
  • And a Pre-con Workshop titled Three Cornerstones for Skyrocketing Renewal Revenue: Engaged Onboarding, Compelling Content and Persuasive Marketing.

Check out the entire BIMS program.

To view CMI's report, click here.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…