- Andrew Kos
- Bill Burlein
- Bryan Williams
- Christian Vozar
- Jeff Brown
- John Kraus
- Joseph Mak
- Josh Durbin
- Mark Daugherty
- Matt Van Bergen
- Melissa Geoffrion
- Michael Kang
- Michael Chan
- Michael Hodgdon
- Mike Motherway
- Molly McDaniel
- Nadia Maciulis
- Pat McLoughlin
- Paul Michelotti
- Puru Hemnani
- Rohit Srinath
- Ryan Lunka
- Tom Kelly
Content Management and Content Experience
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
I find that when organizations implement a digital strategy, it often lacks (what I believe is) a critical distinction between “content management” and “content experience.” Usually a primary purpose of digital strategy is to distribute content directly to those who will find it most relevant. When the content reaches someone who finds it immediately relevant, passive content consumption turns into engagement. Ultimately, the goal is to turn that engagement into some kind of conversion that correlates with a facet of the content distributor’s overall strategy. In other words: good content, delivered to the right people will help you sell whatever it is you want to sell.
With focus on the first half of that story (good content, delivered to the right people), there are two basic parts. Each serves an equally important role, but they should be viewed as separate functions.
Content management is the creation, categorization, and evaluation of content. An organization’s content is the blood of its digital strategy. It conveys the messaging and purpose of the organization. The wrong content (or correct, disorganized content) will limit the organization’s ability to connect with external stakeholders. Content strategy is a complicated domain and it requires complicated technology to empower those in charge of the content to make the best use of it. An effective content management solution enables those content creators/editors/approvers to build and catalog maximally effective content, so that the organization can communicate its vision and hopefully achieve its goals.
This is not the same thing as how that content is delivered.
Content experience is the distribution of that content through optimally relevant channels. It also includes the facilities provided for content consumers to interact with, augment, or create additional content (think social features). This is the concern of enabling the content to create engagement. It may be as simple as delivery through a website. It may be as complex as a mobile application or some external media platform. Unlike with content management, which remains relatively static in terms of complexity, strategies for content experience change direction on a dime. They need to be constantly re-evaluated as new channels emerge and old ones regress. Content experience represents a constant challenge to deliver the correct information in the correct form to the channels that produce optimal relevance, leading to maximized engagement.
Both concepts represent different concerns, but they are completely dependent on one another. Great content does very little if presented in the wrong way, through the wrong channels, or to the wrong people. An engaging, exciting content experience, but weak content has the inverse effect: beautiful fluff. Neither scenario produces results.
As a digital marketer, it is critical to recognize the difference between these concerns. Doing so will help you and your organization implement an integrated technology platform that enables the agility to address the constant change of the “content experience” concerns. It will also help you shield those concerns from the creation and facilitation of content, thus enabling those who excel at messaging and taxonomy and those who excel at user experience both to do what they do best.
From a practical standpoint, most content management systems are built to address both issues (to varying degrees). The takeaway is about maintaining the philosophy of separation when implementing your strategies on these platforms - not necessarily to separate these concerns over two technologies. Understand how the technologies you are using intend to handle each of these functions. Evaluate whether they can be handled to a degree that suits your organizational needs and that that the two functions can be appropriately distinguished. In the spirit of maintaining agility with digital marketing efforts, it is critical that “content management” remain separate but connected to “content experience”. They are not one in the same. They represent two very distinct challenges, that when addressed with the appropriate degree of separation, result in innovative and effective digital strategy.
In this post I use the term “content management solution” and “content management platform” to distinguish the general concepts/processes involved with implementing content management (the former) from enterprise content management software as a product (the latter).
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