Posts tagged "web strategy"

Content Strategy for Improving Value of Your CMS

Defining a Content Strategy

If you consider content as a form of communication — and that's exactly what it is — then a content strategy makes clear which content has to be communicated at a certain moment with a specific persona.

Bob Boiko — author of 'The Content Management Bible' and 'Laughing at the CIO' — taught me the 'golden formula' of a content strategy:

‘By exchanging [ content ] with [ target group ] we reach [ goal or business driver ], because [ personal motivation ].’

All the 'blanks' in this formula must be as specific as possible. So:

  • 'Content' shouldn't be ‘information about the product’, but ‘monthly savings in energy costs’.
  • The target group is not ‘the customer’, but for example ‘a young single mother with an average income’.
  • A business driver could be ‘an increase of contract renewals by 12 percent‘. This leads to the goal of 'making profit'.

The 'personal motivation' cannot be missed in a content strategy. What is (in) the interest of your persona? In other words: concentrate on the 'What's in it for me?'. Put yourself in your persona's shoes and discover what her personal motivation is.

From Tactics to Communication Means

Another important part of your content strategy are the tactics. How are you going to make sure this young mother reads about these monthly energy savings? What is the best moment to share this information? Who will she trust and would giving her the opportunity to share her experiences with others make her more receptive to the message?

Once you have defined strong tactics, you can concentrate on the communication means. Ask yourself if a website is the single possible option. Perhaps your persona is more likely to talk about cost savings in some social network. But is she on Facebook or another network? Does she chat within this social network using her computer or her mobile phone? Most of the time your content strategy uses a mix of communications means. Find your balance.

Make it Measurable

Talking about balance: it is essential to measure the success of your content strategy. Make your business drivers measurable using key performance indicators (KPI's). Decide in advance which instruments you will use to measure the effect. Perform baseline research, measure again after executing the strategy. Analyze the results and decide if the content strategy actually helped you reach your goals. Use your analysis to improve your strategy or the quality of your communications mix.

Be warned. Don't start with too many strategies at the same time. A full content strategy can take a lot of time and resources, especially since you have to monitor and measure each content strategy very carefully. You don't want to stop performing and measuring a strategy halfway because it was too much to handle. The average organization can deal with a maximum of seven strategies in one year, so make your choice!

Tools, No Fools

Talking about making choices: without a content strategy, selecting a content management tool (for WCM, search, ECM, social media, analytics or any other content discipline) makes no sense at all. Every single content strategy leads to specific 'requirements' the tool has to cover. Once these are clear, you can start selecting a tool. And no time sooner than that!

By the way, a Web CMS, analytics tool or social media tool can help you measure the effect of your content strategy. Take this into account when selecting and implementing your tools.

The Importance of a Content Strategy

In my opinion everything in your content organization — the content management, the content governance, the content tooling, you name it — should be based on a content strategy. Why? Well, because your content strategy is a translation of your business goals and business processes. They are literally the 'raison d'être' of your organization.

It's not a coincidence that I put the business process in the center of the content management lifecycle. Everything in this lifecycle — from planning to evaluating content — has a direct link with the business process. If what you do in your content management lifecycle has no alignment with a business process, stop doing it!

I think most of us have felt the recent financial crisis. We must all realize the times are behind us when we received budgets for our web projects without much trouble. I would say this is a blessing in disguise, really. Because now we have to prove our added value. With a successful content strategy. Management of any organization is always willing to invest in successful business opportunities. Prove that your content strategy will make your organization reach its goals and get yourself a listening ear from your management.

The Fun Part

What I learned over the years is that defining content strategies as a team is a lot of fun. In the beginning the effort seems hard. Sometimes people resist against 'yet another mission vision session'. But by using the 'golden content strategy formula' that Bob Boiko taught me, I saw a change in people's attitude. They felt empowered by it, and they soon realized that they were in charge of the content management business after all. Seeing a change like that has given me a lot of joy in what I do.

There's more to say about the Planning phase in the content management lifecycle: information architecture, interaction design are only two of them. I will go deeper into these issues in my next article. That is, if you like what I wrote so far. Please send me your comments and your own opinions about content strategy. I'd like to share and learn.

CM Lifecycle Poster

You can download the CM Lifecycle Poster at (A4 format poster) (A3 format poster)

Your Homework Starts Now

DO try this at home today!

Follow these steps to a successful content strategy:

  1. Organize a session with your project team and stakeholders.
  2. Define some content strategies in 3 or 4 groups.
  3. Let each group present its content strategy.
  4. Finalize the best content strategies.
  5. Communicate plan and realize these content strategies.
  6. Measure the results and communicate them within the organization
  7. Tweak your existing content strategies or define new strategies.

About the Author

Erik M. Hartman ( consults, presents and publishes about content management strategy and tools. With The Information Management Foundation ( he created an initiative with other information management practitioners to provide a strong and clear foundation of information management.

ContentM: A Web CMS Supporting Education based Websites

allofe_logo.jpgIn the heartland content management is alive. Since 1998, AllofE Solutions has been building a comprehensive suite of web-based products, custom applications and interactive media solutions.

Higher education, k-12 school districts and hospitals (among others) have long recognized the power and innovation of their enterprise content management system called ContentM. We recently spoke with Amit Guha, President and CEO of AllofE Solutions about content management, eCurriculum and the impact of community. 

Non-Profits Have Unstructured Content, Too

When we think of unstructured content, we usually think of large corporate enterprises, not academic institutions or healthcare companies. Truth be told, corporate entities have more than enough resources to help them manage their content. Those in education and other non-profit organizations, however, are often alone in their attempts to organize their data — due primarily to unusual infrastructures and cost constraints.

ContentM is a scalable system that can handle lots of content and gives access to multiple users, which can be useful for institutions that often have many people managing content independently. With solutions for schools, universities, government and healthcare, consider ContentM as the solution of organizations focused on the greater good.

Content Management Gets Schooled

Pulling all-nighters isn’t just for students, so ContentM’s browser-based platform allows administrators and other users to access site information and editing capabilities, anywhere and anytime. As well, an intuitive interface helps to streamline the site management process and allows organizations to create, edit and publish their site.

From applicant tracking, curriculum management to online lesson plans and gradebooks, AllofE Solutions can outfit any school district with the tools needed to make managing students and their curriculum easier.

Advanced Page and Menu Options

Example of template editor

Teachers have a lot on their plate and learning new technologies can be overwhelming. ContentM recognizes this offering a library stocked with page templates, and functionality that employs drag n’ drop capabilities making it easy and intuitive to edit both the look and feel of pages, as well as its content.

Teachers are able to change and edit information regarding assignments

Empowering Users, Inspiring Communities

AllofE Solutions not only strives to provide efficient, innovative and cost-effective solutions, they also work to empower the people that manage content and the communities affected by content management strategies.

In January, they launched the SchoolE Awards, a contest designed to showcase districts that have the most attractive sites and best web strategy. The SchoolE Awards will recognize the very best in web strategy, design and effectiveness within the K-12 sector.

With so many school districts relying on websites to communicate to a plethora of parents and students, the district website has now emerged as the single most important vehicle for overall communication and branding.

You can nominate a district's website worthy of being considered among the best online.

While their reach extends well beyond Lawrence, Kansas where AllofE Solutions is headquartered, ContentM is poised to impact content management strategies across all industries, far and wide.