Adopting Content Automation
Now that you’ve conducted a content audit, designed your content strategy, and considered content management options, it’s time to adopt a solution. At Quark we advocate content automation for enterprise organizations that create content that has one or more of the following characteristics:
- A high volume of similar content
- A high volume of revisions
- Frequently repeated creation processes
- High possibility of reuse
- Regulated by the government, industry and/or company
- Translation to multiple languages
- Delivery in multiple formats (PDF, Web, print, mobile, etc.)
- Requires input from databases and other systems
When content automation is appropriate, the results are extremely valuable. Productivity goes up, time to market is reduced, you can support more content products without adding resources, and you improve the quality of your content.
So, how can you identify potential content automation solutions and avoid some common pitfalls? As you get started on your content automation journey and weigh potential solutions you will want to consider the importance of the following aspects. Refer back to the results of your content audit and content strategy to outline the following requirements:
List how many authors, collaborators, and reviewers are a part of your content creation and review processes. Consider how this team may grow in the future.
List the systems your content operations currently interact with and the systems it will need to interact with. This will help determine how extensible your solution must be.
Security and Compliance
Make a list of regulatory mandates that your company must follow, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), the Sarbanes Oxley Act, and any enterprise privacy policies.
Ability to Create and Deliver Multi-Channel Output
Make a list of the type of content you create today and will need to create in the future to best interact with your customers, partners, and employees. Your content automation solution must support the range of output you list.
Share requirements in these areas with your selected content automation vendors and it will help you short list the software options. While evaluating the content automation solutions that make the cut, it is also important to be cognizant of and escape some common pitfalls. Some hazards to avoid:
- Avoid focusing your search for a content automation solution only to one that will support only current requirements but rather target a solution that can grow with you.
- Do not focus your requirements on one area of content automation – authoring or web content, for example.
- Do not think software will solve all your content problems. In parallel to new software implementations, it is critical to update standard processes and business rules and adhere to formal change management tactics.
- Do not execute a project without executive sponsorship. If you do not have buy-in from the top, securing resources and effecting change will be more difficult.
- Do not be afraid to lean on the experience and knowledge of your content automation platform vendor. Your vendor may be able to offer best practices for transforming your entire content lifecycle from creation to delivery.
Are you taking the next step to advance your content strategy? Contact Quark to schedule a discovery meeting and our team will help determine if content automation is right for you. You can also download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Content Automation today!
From Content Audit to Content Strategy
So, you’ve completed your content audit. Now what?
If you are new to the idea of a content audit, it is the analysis phase and the prep work required to identify and implement a successful content strategy. Read “8 Steps to Understanding Your Content” to learn how to conduct a content audit that will help you truly uncover the who, what, why, and how behind your content.
After examining the results of your audit you will have a better understanding of your content life cycle and the risks and challenges you need to address with your new content strategy. A closer look at their current content requirements and processes leads many enterprise organizations to confirm the urgency with which they must move away from ad-hoc content creation and management strategies.
Based on the findings of your content audit, the next step is to design your content strategy. Designing a content strategy requires a few critical stages, including:
Cataloging Information Products
To develop an appropriate content strategy you need to identify high-priority document types that will have the most impact when your content processes are improved. This includes defining the highest value improvements to be addressed, and estimating the qualitative and quantitative value of making those improvements.
Designing Information Models for Published Documents and Source Content
You’ve identified the high-priority document types and highest value improvements needed. Here you will identify specific end results as they relate to content type, order, occurrence, source, and how they can be developed in an improved content process.
Mapping the Information Design to Standard and/or Custom Information Models
This step requires codifying the analysis into actionable rules and structures that can help guide the selection of software that can apply those rules and guidelines.
Defining Style and Interactivity Guidelines
In order to improve consistency, brand coherence, and comprehension, in this step you plan how design and messaging elements will be managed and delivered across departments within your organization, as well as methods for ensuring adherence to brand rules.
The work you do throughout the content audit and resulting strategy will help your content better support your corporate goals – from improving customer satisfaction and speeding time to market to empowering internal teams with the right information at the right time.