Finding and seizing opportunities for growth can seem impossible, but not every growth method requires million-dollar technology adoption or hiring a swathe of new staff. Content is an efficient, modern growth resource with a diverse range of returns on investment. Content investment is all about scale, so even a small investment can yield a valuable return. 

The versatility of content and its larger role in all business processes make it a powerful way to fuel growth while respecting the budget, time, and resources of any organization. 

Assess Your Content Operations 

Assess your content operations to determine your strengths, opportunities for growth, and how to best revise your operations to fuel growth. 

What Is Assessing Content Operations? 

Assessing your content operations has two key parts: measuring content effectiveness and analyzing content operations. Both facets tie into the other and must have growth goals in mind.  

Measuring content effectiveness provides the raw information required to create a data-informed approach to improving content operations. When measuring your content, consider the 6 Dimensions of Content Effectiveness.

Related: How to Build a Content Operation

Gathering this information produces content analytics. Colleen Jones, founder and President of Content Science, defines content analytics as: 

The trails left behind by people and machines as content is delivered, discovered, and consumed.

Content analysis is the process of taking analytics and transforming them into actionable data points that inform content strategies. At the analysis stage, your organization has the information and technology required to further define goals and formulate effective plans to achieve those goals. 

Why Is Assessing Content Operations Important? 

Content, as a form of customer communication and a medium for conducting business, has a powerful capacity to fuel growth. However, content only fuels growth when the processes behind it are efficient and effective. 

According to Content Science’s research on content operations success:

  • 67% do not regularly evaluate their content. 
  • 75% cite “Vague objectives + goals” as the most common reason for not evaluating.
  • 100% of “extremely successful” content operations evaluate their content. 
  • Only “extremely successful” content operations evaluate their content’s ROI. 

Assessing your content operations goes beyond your content production process. It includes everything from back-end structuring to archiving to managing workflow processes. 

Consider a success story from a Content Science client: A major home retailer struggled to maximize their content’s ROI despite the effectiveness and relevance of their content. The issue was the content’s findability; audiences were either unaware of the content or not directed to it through organic searches. After working with Content Science, the client applied a series of best practices around metadata and standards creation and, one year later, reported 753% higher revenue than the previous year. 

Colleen Jones says, “Data is most useful when it informs, not drives content decisions.” Assessing your content operations isn’t about improving numbers on a sheet. It’s about maximizing the broader ROI your content is meant to produce, and the audience needs its means to fulfill. 

Assessing your content operations and using your findings to inform your approach to content is the best way to determine how your content can fuel growth. 

Related: CSA Certification – Content Leadership

How to Start or Improve Assessing Content Operations

The best part of assessing your content operations is its flexibility to accommodate different timelines and budgets. However, we recommend that you follow a universal three-pronged approach: 

  • Data Collection: Use the technologies you have or identify new technologies to adopt and gather relevant data to inform your decision-making. Hard data, such as page views and downloads, are traditionally valuable metrics, but we also encourage you to consider voice of customer measurements and what questions audiences ask when consuming your content or using your products / services. 
  • Analysis and Interpretation: Take the data you’ve gathered and analyze it thoroughly, with an eye toward your larger growth goals. Measure your content analytics against industry benchmarks and determine what your organization can do to stay competitive and drive growth. Continue to collect and measure this data over time to identify trends and evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies. 
  • Insight and Action: Develop an action plan to improve your key metrics. Consider partnering with a qualified individual or third-party entity to innovate your content approach and provide a fresh perspective. Your goal here should be to develop a content plan that maximizes your investment to increase content visibility and consumption, and maximize ROI. 

Invest in Personalization

Personalization has become a vital benchmark for content effectiveness. An investment in personalization often yields significant returns. 

What Is Personalization?

Adobe defines personalization as: 

Personalized experiences = Creating, managing, and delivering contextually relevant experiences that speak to your customers on a personal level, helping you deepen relationships and meet rising expectations.

Personalization is all about strengthening the customer-business relationship, an important element for retaining customers and increasing their individual value through more or upgraded purchases. 

Why Does Personalization Matter? 

Personalization has a proven effect of increasing revenue and providing more financial resources to allocate to other areas of growth. Personalization is no longer an optional piece of extra value thriving companies can afford; it’s a modern requirement for growing and sustaining your customer base. 

Related: CSA Certification – Content Engineering

Here are a few key findings from McKinsey’s research on the ROI of offering personalization: 

  • 71% of consumers expect personalization, and 76% become frustrated when they don’t find it.
  • 76% of consumers are more likely to consider purchasing from brands that personalize. 
  • 78% of consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases from companies that personalize. 
  • 78% of consumers are more likely to refer friends and families to companies that personalize.

Despite all of this, according to Content Science’s research, only 44% of organizations are trying to offer personalized experiences. So, with personalization so in demand but with less than half of companies trying to provide it, offering effective personalization gives your organization a competitive edge with consumers while fueling growth. 

Companies that excel at personalization generate 40% more revenue than companies that don’t. Taking a personalized approach through content creates the modern customer experience consumers want. 

How to Start or Improve Personalization? 

Like most initiatives or revisions of current strategies, personalization requires a data-informed plan and plenty of back-end content engineering. 

  • Define personalization criteria: Content Science research finds that 58% of businesses offering a personalized experience use business criteria (size, location, and industry), and 55% of businesses use behavior criteria like previously viewed content. Either or both of these criteria are effective ways to inform your personalization approach. 
  • Gather first-party information: Third-party data is insufficient for informing a content personalization initiative or improving your current personalization strategy. Consumers are willing to have their data used to provide a personalized experience, but only when companies handle that data with transparency and care.  
  • Structure your content: Improve your site layout, delivery chains, and metadata to structure your content for a personalized experience. A personalization initiative is one of the best ways to improve your content’s ROI, but only when your content is specifically structured to support such an initiative. 

Pursue Automation

Successful businesses pursue automation to improve not only efficiency but also quality. With the rise of artificial intelligence, it’s easier to automate more processes than ever.  

What Is Automation? 

Content automation refers to using technology to reduce manual effort in creating, delivering, and managing content. 

Content automation is meant to promote the efficiency of content processes without sacrificing content quality. When done correctly, content automation reduces the amount of resources required to fulfill content processes. 

Why Does Automation Matter?

In the spirit of using content to do more with less to fuel growth, content automation is the best way to maximize the efficiency of your content operations. Automating mundane and repetitive steps of the content process reduces labor hours and resource usage better spent elsewhere and can lead to higher quality content when used alongside content governance. 

Related: CSA Course – Prompting Text Generative AI

Content automation benefits every step of the content process, from creation to optimization. 

  • Creation: Writing tools and generative AI create content quickly and can incorporate organizational standards to ensure quality. 
  • Management: More CMSs are adopting automation features to optimize content management with minimal human oversight. 
  • Delivery: Machine learning-powered tools quickly set up delivery options to upcycle existing content and release new content to the right people. 
  • Evaluation: A plethora of content tools and technologies help content professionals gather data, analyze content, and formulate effective strategies. 
  • Optimization: Machine learning helps gather and analyze data to determine what content is effective and ineffective. 

Recent research found that 60% of occupations could have 30% of their constituent activities automated, freeing up employees to focus on their most important tasks. This research even applies to CEOs who may benefit from report analysis automation, allowing them to focus on strategic decision-making. 

How to Start or Improve Automation? 

Starting or improving your content automation initiative requires structuring your content effectively and setting up a series of best practices. 

  • Documentation: Document your current steps, processes, and technologies to find opportunities for automation. Look for areas that regularly require large amounts of low-intensity labor hours, like managing archived content, checking for broken links, and harvesting first-party data. 
  • Analytics: Gather and interpret key analytics to determine what areas of your content process require support or automation. Transforming analytics into true content intelligence tells you how your organization can best benefit from automation processes and technologies. 
  • Structure: Automating content processes requires a content structure that fits with adopted technology. Each technology has its requirements, but employing metadata, developing a taxonomy, and properly curating content allows your technology to function effectively. 
  • AI: Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools are some of the most effective, versatile automation tools available for a content operation. While AI is no silver bullet, when deployed properly, it is a powerful automation utility that supports all content and content-adjacent stakeholders. 

Create Effective Staffing and Partner Strategies 

What Are Effective Staffing and Partner Strategies?

Effective staffing and partner strategies are how your business completes tasks and accomplishes its goals. These strategies go beyond simply finding, hiring, and retaining the right people. 

Effective staffing and partner strategies also encompass ideas like company culture, training, developing a vision, bridging silos, and every other process and element that guides the people who do work for your organization. These strategies are a major determiner of who joins your organization, how they work, and the extent their work coincides with your larger goals. 

Why Do Effective Staffing or Partner Strategies Matter? 

Well-supported, talented staff empowered with technology and clear direction are autonomous growth creators, requiring a minimal amount of correction and fewer resources than under-equipped, under-trained staff. Partners provide expertise and labor to cover gaps in your current processes, filling important, specialized roles that may not require full-time fulfillment. 

Let’s take a look at some statistics on strategies and influences surrounding staffing and partnerships: 

Successful content operations invest in communication and planning around how staff and partners accomplish their goals. These elements act as scaffolding, supporting, guiding, and aligning workflows to create growth opportunities. Neglecting to provide this scaffolding can have a domino effect of negative consequences that create inefficiencies, missed opportunities, and an overall downgrade in quality.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to End-to-End Content

How to Start or Improve Effective Staffing or Partner Strategies? 

In her extensive career researching, leading, and improving content teams, Colleen Jones has gathered a wealth of knowledge to share about how to improve staffing and partner strategies around content. 

  • Invest in a Content Executive: 52% of organizations have a content role at the director level or above 

With every digital transformation your company or organization undergoes, you might not know what content approach you’ll need. But you do know you need content. So, rather than lay off or move content leaders around with every change, put a leader focused on content at a level that can lead through change. – Colleen Jones, It’s Time for Resiliency in Content Operations

  • Find a Reliable Partner: In a PWC study, 88% of businesses used a partnership to facilitate digital transformation

Content leaders at large growing companies have their hands full with being an expert on the ever-changing business, dealing with the bureaucracy of a growing company, and working to bridge silos as an ambassador for content. So, the really smart content leaders partner to get more specialized expertise, an entrepreneurial mindset that helps simplify the complex, and an outside perspective on trends and best practices to balance the internal politics. – Colleen Jones, 3 Characteristics of Outstanding Content Leaders

  • Create a “Star Constellation”: 100% of “thriving” content operations offer content-specific training

As we enter a new year, the role of content strategy remains vitally important. We keep our organizations focused on people: educating, influencing and inspiring our audiences and organizations. Let’s welcome the robots and put them to work by making us better at creating meaningful value, not just more stuff. – VP of Content Strategy at Fiserv Wade Coleman, 6 Content Principles to Guide 2023 

Conclusion 

Using content to do more with less to fuel growth is all about optimizing your current processes, seizing opportunities to improve, and defining future, actionable goals. Content communicates, provides, and grows the value of your organization, creating new opportunities for customer-business interactions that, in turn, create new opportunities for revenue, brand positioning, and expansion. 

Investing in your organization’s content is a modern solution to disruption and uncertainty that, when done correctly, creates value for both your customers and organization. 

The Author

Content Science partners with the world’s leading organizations to close the content gap in digital business. We bring together the complete capabilities you need to transform or scale your content approach. Through proprietary data, smart strategy, expert consulting, creative production, and one-of-a-kind products like ContentWRX and Content Science Academy, we turn insight into impact. Don’t simply compete on content. Win.

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