The 5 pillars of content experience maturity


PHOTO: Éric Muhr | unsplash

“Create relevant and engaging digital content,” they said. “It will be easy,” they said. And then the world of content marketing and content strategy exploded. As the drive to create content at scale and deliver it across multiple platforms in a contextually relevant manner has grown, so has the need for a strong content organization.

From content strategy to content experience

So how mature is your content organization? There are many models of content maturity. We like At Rahel Bailie The 2011 model is best for its simplicity and focuses on content as a key part of an organization’s overall growth strategy.

content strategy maturity model

But as digital and content marketing has grown increasingly complex, we’re finding that top-performing organizations don’t just excel at content strategy, they deliver a connected and contextual content experience to customers. It’s a more complex proposition, which requires content organization to do more things well. It is therefore no longer sufficient to assess the “maturity of the content strategy” on its own.

Instead, assess your organization’s “content experience maturity” across these five pillars:

  • Strategy and planning
  • Content creation
  • Content Architecture
  • Content operations
  • Content optimization

5 pillars of the content experience

5 pillars of the content experience

Strategy and planning

While there are likely a number of people who are strategically thinking about content in your organization, a mark of maturity is how these strategies relate to overall audience and business goals, and how consistent they are between organizational silos.

Some of the questions to ask yourself include:

  • Is your content strategy tied to your organization’s short and long term goals?
  • Is your content strategy focused on the informational and educational needs of your audiences?
  • Are content teams collaborating across teams and silos to build a cohesive strategy?

Content creation

To guard against what we affectionately call “random content acts,” a mature content organization will have in place guides and safeguards that support the creation of relevant and engaging content. While not everyone can and should create content, the reality is that the responsibility lies with a large and disparate group of individuals, and it is important to ensure that they are equipped and empowered to do so. good work.

To understand how mature your content creation practice is, ask yourself:

  • Is the content developed based on an actionable messaging framework and style guidelines?
  • Do you have enough adequate resources to implement your content plan?
  • Does your organization use consistent content summaries or intake forms to gather information from key stakeholders?

Related article: Content Teams: Beware of Headless CMS

Content Architecture

Not just for websites, your content architecture defines the structure and hierarchy of the content you create and manage. Mature content organizations have documented content architectures, spanning the entire content ecosystem down to the smallest chunks or pieces of content.

The key activities involve:

  • Map information flows in your content ecosystem.
  • Structuring of content for reuse across multiple platforms and content formats.
  • Develop a design system and / or content models.

Content operations

Content operations are the process, tools, and metadata that enable users to create content.

“You’re helping make sure that everyone can be a content creator, but it happens with a high level of clarity and accountability in place, so you’re ready to be successful,” said Jeneba Wint, vice -President of Content Operations at LPL Financial, in a recent conversation with GatherContent.

The maturity of your content operations depends on whether you have:

  • Clear set of content workflows in place, including roles, permissions, and tracking.
  • Taxonomy that will provide a dynamic user experience and help internal teams manage content.
  • Framework for content governance and how it is applied.

Content optimization

Content strategies are great, but how do you know if they’re working? As your content organization matures, it’s important to test and measure the performance and quality of your content so that you can optimize it and adjust your strategy and approach based on what you learn.

  • Do you have a measurement plan that will help you understand if key content goals and KPIs are being met?
  • Are you continuously evaluating content and optimizing it based on results?
  • Are you testing your content with key audiences and incorporating feedback into the content planning process?

Related article: Structured Content Gives Businesses Wiggle Room

Don’t try to do it all at once

If this all sounds a bit overwhelming, that’s because it can be. I often hear organizations say that they just don’t know where to start.

The key to growing and maturing as a content organization is to first understand where you are today. Perform a non-judgmental assessment to paint a basic picture of your organization’s maturity. Then, within each of the pillars of the content experience, start prioritizing initiatives and building a roadmap for implementation.

As with a lot of things, while you’re in the trenches you can feel like progress is slow. But you’ll be surprised when you lift your head after six months or a year and see real, measurable progress.

Lindy Roux is Executive Vice President and Partner at Tendo Communications, a B2B content agency based in San Francisco. She has over two decades of experience in the areas of content and digital strategy, CMS, SEO, user experience, consumer insight, branding and analytics.


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