If you start to peel off the layers of the all-pervasive phenomenon that we all know as the Internet, you will very soon realize that there is one thing that powers the monster – content.
From a middle school kid working on his science project to his mother hunting for kitchenware to his dad preparing for a meeting, everyone reaches out to the World Wide Web to seek information.
On the other side of these transactions are enterprises flooding the cyberspace with bits and bytes to satisfy the needs of these seekers. However most of these organizations suffer from poor content management, resulting in high volume of low quality data.
Content content everywhere
Most companies measure the effectiveness of data by the number of clicks or visitors. That is a fool’s pursuit. Such metrics nurture “volume mania”. It is fairly easy to doctor the volumetric data. In fact, high volumes, particularly when it comes to the number of pages can be detrimental to the cause of a better customer experience. Content teams like Microsoft Excel, Liverpool council website, and Telenor have found that deleting 80% of the content produces better results.
The reason for this is that any information that is not vital to the product and service being sold of promoted confuses and sidetracks the customer by cluttering the search and navigation.
Is content important?
Unless you are a web media company, content in itself has very little direct value for you. The worth of the data is in what it supports. For e.g. having knowledge articles is useless until it reduces the number of support calls. Similarly, unless advertisements generate revenue, they are a sunk cost. Online registration data for a webinar cant be called fruitful till it results in significant sales leads.
This is perhaps the reason that web-marketing teams employ a ‘shotgun’ approach when addressing the challenge of data management. The creation is focused on everything even remotely relevant, if that. This approach is a double-edged sword, and more often than not, turns the consumers away.
The main shortcoming of information is that it’s very hard to measure how it delivers direct value. To be effective, it needs to be linked to other drivers of value such as support and sales.
What to do?
Having established that content management is extremely important for the success of web marketing, there are some steps that web marketing teams need to take to ensure that their initiatives do not end up in failure.
1. Know what you produce – The first step towards effective administration is to know what you are doing, and what is it that you want to do. The lack of a single team owning the outbound data is a common mistake that companies make. This leads to multiple sources of information, most of them not sensitive to the end objectives of the same. It is very important to get a handle on the information produced.
2. Be relevant – Once there is clarity in ownership, scrubbing the reams of material to weed out the irrelevant parts is the next challenge. Doing so with a focused eye on the end goal is very important. The content should be categorized by the step in the business cycle that the potential or actual customer using it is in. Brand awareness material will be very different from product information, which will further be different than support articles. For e.g., product manuals have to be much more detailed than teasers videos.
This was a guest article from Jennifer Lewis.