The Challenges Of Managing Content Effectively
Content management challenges abound in all organizations. Learn about the main challenges to managing content effectively and how to address these.
There are many challenges to managing content effectively, including the challenge of too much content, the challenge of multiple contributors, the challenge of outdated content, and the challenge of adapting to new technologies and platforms.
In this article, we explore these challenges in more detail and offer suggestions for effectively addressing them.
This article is part of our Content Troubleshooting Guide, where we help you identify and fix content-related issues in your business.
Are You Managing Your Content Effectively?
Content management is the process of creating, organizing, and maintaining digital content, and it is essential for your business to not only operate efficiently but also to effectively communicate with all stakeholders.
Poor content management, after all, can lead to confusion, delays, and lost opportunities.
As you will soon see, however, there are many challenges to managing your content effectively.
Think about this…
If your business has a web presence, it almost certainly needs web content.
This applies to all businesses. So, if your business wants to compete online effectively — especially against larger competitors, it needs to be regularly creating and promoting new content (your competition is doing the same).
New web content, however, gets old very quickly. Old web content with outdated, irrelevant, inaccurate, or obsolete information almost always has no value to users and can have a negative impact on your business.
Additionally, the more content you have, the more content you have to manage.
Now…stop for a moment and think about all the content and all the content-related areas that your business needs to manage.
You will soon realize that effective content management involves not just managing the existing content in your organization, but also managing all content-related areas and processes associated with content planning, content production, and content promotion.
As you look deeper, you will also realize that there are some obvious challenges to managing content effectively and some that are not so obvious.
Let’s look at both of these areas.
Managing Content Effectively – Obvious Challenges
The obvious challenges of managing your content effectively include:
1. The Challenge Of Too Much Content
As your business creates and acquires more digital content, it can become difficult to sort and organize it all in a way that is easily accessible and makes sense.
This can lead to important information getting lost or overlooked.
To effectively manage a large amount of content, it is important to implement a system for organizing and tagging content, as well as performing regular content reviews and purging unnecessary or outdated items.
Additionally, use a content management system (CMS) or other tools to help categorize and structure your content.
2. The Challenge Of Multiple Contributors
When you have multiple people or teams contributing content to your company’s digital assets, it can be a challenge to coordinate and consolidate these contributions.
It is important to establish clear guidelines and protocols for content creation and submission, as well as a system for reviewing and approving new content.
Ensuring that all content meets standards for quality and consistency is also crucial. This is where documenting procedures can be very helpful, as well as using a workflow management system or other tools to help streamline the content creation and approval process.
3. The Challenge Of Outdated Content
Outdated content containing inaccurate or obsolete information can be confusing for users and it can harm your credibility.
Regularly reviewing and updating content is essential to ensure that it is current and accurate. It is also a good idea to consider repurposing old content rather than simply deleting it, as it may still be valuable in a different form or context.
This may involve using a content calendar or other tools to help schedule and track content updates.
4. The Challenge Of Adapting To New Technologies And Platforms
As new content management systems and tools are developed, your business must stay current in order to effectively manage its digital content.
This can be a challenge, as it requires resources and effort to learn and implement new technologies. Additionally, it is important to ensure that content is compatible with various platforms and devices, as more and more users access the internet through mobile devices and other non-traditional means.
This may involve using responsive design techniques or other methods to ensure that content is accessible and user-friendly across different devices and platforms.
5. The Challenge Of Securing And Protecting Content
Ensuring that sensitive or confidential content is secure and protected from unauthorized access or leaks is crucial for your business.
This may involve implementing measures such as password protection, encryption, content hotlinking prevention, and access controls to protect sensitive content.
6. The Challenge Of Measuring The Effectiveness Of Content
Determining the impact and effectiveness of content is essential for making informed decisions about future content strategies.
This may involve using analytics tools or other content tracking methods to measure content metrics such as engagement, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI) for different types of content.
7. The Challenge Of Integrating Content With Other Systems And Processes
Ensuring that content is integrated and aligned with other systems and processes within the organization is important for optimizing efficiency and avoiding confusion or duplication of effort.
This may involve using integration tools or other methods to seamlessly link content with other systems and processes.
8. The Challenge Of Budget And Resource Constraints
Allocating sufficient budget and resources to content management efforts can be a challenge, especially for smaller businesses or those with limited resources.
It is important to prioritize content management efforts and allocate resources accordingly, while also finding ways to maximize efficiency and reduce costs where possible.
We cover the challenges involved in this area in more detail in our Digital Business Setups lesson.
Managing Content Effectively – “Not-So-Obvious” Challenges
Now that we have looked at the obvious challenges of managing your content effectively, let’s look at the “not-so-obvious” challenges that are not apparent until you actually start trying to manage your content effectively.
Challenge #1 – Effective Content Management Is A Catch-22 Situation
Have you heard the expression “no one will hire you without experience, but you can’t get experience if no one will hire you?”
That’s an example of a “Catch-22” situation.
Managing content can feel somewhat like that.
You can’t plan, produce, promote, and manage content effectively until you have put in the right systems and processes to plan, produce, promote, and manage content effectively.
Putting all these systems and processes in place, however, requires a significant investment of time, effort, and resources.
Most businesses have very limited time, effort, and resources.
A) Invest your time, effort, and resources into putting the right systems and processes in place to plan, produce, promote, and manage your content effectively, and then create and promote your content, or…
B) Invest your time, effort, and resources into creating and promoting content, and then start putting systems and processes in place?
Managing content effectively requires choosing option “A”.
Many businesses, however, choose option “B” because it seems more practical.
Publishing and promoting content first and then worrying about systems and processes when things start becoming unmanageable, however, only leads to more challenges and bigger problems.
Challenge #2 – All Areas Of Your Business Are Involved
Your content strategy is part of your content management system, so if you start creating and promoting content before developing your content strategy and putting other systems in place to manage your content effectively, then what’s the point of having a content strategy?
Without a content strategy, you are just creating content blindly based on guesswork and assumptions without any real direction or ways to measure and track your content’s performance, so it’s all going to be hit and miss and eventually your business will have a very difficult mess to deal with and many problems to sort out.
So you want to put a content strategy in place before you start creating and promoting content.
This, however, has its own challenges.
First, there’s the challenge that content impacts all areas of your business as discussed in the lesson on your digital business structure.
Challenge #3 – Creating And Managing Content Effectively Requires A Sizeable Digital Team
Next, is the realization that creating effective content requires a sizeable content team.
There are many different roles involved in the process of planning, creating, promoting, and managing content, and whether you’re an individual blogger or part of a larger organization, all of these roles and responsibilities have to be met to create and manage your content effectively.
This leads to the next challenge…
Challenge #4 – Effective Content Management Requires Significant Resources
We touched briefly on the challenge of resource constraints earlier.
However, it’s not until you seriously try to start managing your content effectively that you realize just how resource-intensive creating and managing content can be.
You need a sizeable budget and personnel with skills and expertise, plus research, planning, and documented systems, all of which take time to create and take resources away from other areas of the business.
Most businesses operate with limited resources and have very little time to devote to important areas like planning and documenting systems.
If, like most businesses, your decisions are influenced by a lack of time and resources, by competitive and financial pressures, and by the need to make things happen sooner rather than later, then your ability to manage content effectively may be heading toward bigger problems.
For example, here’s what can happen when you choose option “B” (i.e. start with content, then try to put systems in place later):
1) Little to no content planning
If your content is created based on keyword research but there is no content strategy or content plan and new content projects are mostly based on guesswork and assumptions instead of solid research and analytical data, then your content pipeline will keep drying up, leaving your team continually scrambling to come up with new content ideas.
2) Chaotic and disorganized content production
If there is no content plan and there are no documented procedures for workflow processes and operational guides for doing content research, creating a content brief, using content production tools, etc. your content production will be chaotic and disorganized, leading to inconsistent production outputs.
3) Hard to measure and quantify content performance
If, in addition to the above, your content metrics and content marketing objectives are not well-defined, any generated reports won’t lead to actionable efforts or initiatives to improve results, and your content marketing activities and ROI will be difficult to quantify and calculate.
Challenge #5 – Building Content Management Systems As You Go Is Hard To Do
Think about all the areas of your business that are involved in the planning, creation, delivery, distribution, and promotion of content.
Now, ask yourself:
- How quickly can your business create and publish new content?
- How does your business keep a pipeline of new content going?
- How does your business keep the information in your existing content (across all content types and distribution channels) up-to-date, relevant, and accurate?
- How do you know when your content is out of date, has become irrelevant, inaccurate, or obsolete?
- How can you tell if your content is performing well?
- How do you keep your content processes documented, organized, and accessible so anyone who needs the information can quickly and easily locate it?
- How can you tell if your team members are implementing and following effective content management processes?
- How quickly can your business adapt to incorporate new content planning, production, and promotion processes, strategies, methods, and tools?
From the above, it should be clear that not only does your content need management but all of the content-related processes and areas responsible for planning, creating, delivering, distributing, and promoting your content too.
And to manage all of this effectively requires systems.
This is where option “C” comes in. You develop, test, and improve your systems while creating and promoting content, documenting everything as you go, and repeating this process.
Option “C” will help your business solve the challenges of managing content effectively, but it is very challenging and hard to do, especially if you have already started down the path of “Option B” (i.e. create and promote content first, and then worry about putting systems and processes in place later).
Building systems to document the work as you do the work requires a total “buy-in” from everyone in your organization, and the focus and commitment to work twice as hard and twice as long, often with little to no resources, and with no guarantees that things will work out until everything is in place and you can assess the results.
Even just thinking about it can feel overwhelming, because content impacts every area of your business!
But even before you can put all of these systems in place, there is one more “not-so-obvious” challenge your business has to overcome…
Challenge #6 – Managing Content Effectively Requires Solid Business Foundations
No doubt you’ve heard the expression “walk before you run”.
Without basic business foundations in place, managing content effectively becomes almost impossible.
For example, suppose you want to write and publish an article on your website that will help your business generate new leads.
You care about the reputation of your business, so naturally, you will want to publish only quality content across all channels…from your site’s company pages, product descriptions, and blog posts, to social media posts, emails, newsletters, banner ads, sales, marketing, and training content, videos, collateral materials, etc.
Also, because your business has limited time and resources, you’ll want to avoid guesswork and taking blind stabs in the dark. If you are going to invest time, money, and effort into activities designed to promote and grow your business online, every activity must be geared toward generating optimal results and delivering maximum return on investment.
So, ideally, your lead generation article will target the right audience, with the right message, at the right time, to help them make the right decision (e.g. buy, subscribe, submit an inquiry, etc.).
To do this effectively, however, you need accurate information to help you understand who you are writing the article for (i.e. your target audience).
In other words, even before you begin writing your lead generation article, you will need to know things like:
- Who is going to buy your products or services?
- What problems are they looking to solve?
- Why would they buy from you and not from your competitors?
- What can stop them from buying your products or services?
Once you understand this, you can begin to write the article from the instructions provided in your content brief.
Now…your content brief is created from the specifications and guidelines set out in your content plan.
- Your content plan comes from your content strategy.
- Your content strategy comes from your marketing plan.
- Your marketing plan comes from your marketing strategy.
- Your marketing strategy comes from your business plan.
- Your business plan comes from your business strategy.
- Your business strategy comes from your strategic objectives.
- Your strategic objectives come from your business goals.
- Your business goals come from your mission statement.
- Your mission statement comes from the core values and vision statement of your business.
And all of this should have been defined during the business planning phase after a need has been identified in the market, and you have done research and feasibility studies to determine whether there is even an opportunity worth pursuing (and this should be done even before you spend any time or money getting a website built!).
Ok, let’s assume that you have done all of the above before writing your lead generation article and you know the who, what, how, why, and when of your article’s purpose.
All you need to do now is write the article, right?
Whoaaa … not so fast! Let’s think about this for a moment.
Creating a high-quality, high-value, and high-yielding article involves an editorial process with activities like content scheduling, production, planning, research, writing, editing, and different stages of reviews and approvals before the content can be published.
This requires having some expertise and skills (e.g. content research, content writing/copywriting, editing, media creation, etc.).
For example, your article needs elements like a compelling headline, useful content that will engage your reader’s interest, a call to action, and additional copy elements like summaries, excerpts, artwork, images, image captions, product and meta descriptions, testimonials, references, credits, attributions, etc.
You may also need to source, create, script, produce, edit, format, and upload media elements to your server, like images, logos, photos, videos, audio, downloadable files, and other documentation before you can insert these into your article or web pages.
After this is done, you then also need to revise, format, fact-check, search optimize, proof, edit, review, and approve your article before you can publish, distribute, and promote it.
There are also additional checks like making sure that the content flows well and your article is easy to read; that any links in your content to related articles or additional information point to correct URLs; that branding guidelines have been adhered to; that any embedded scripts or code (e.g. rotating testimonials, forms, etc.) work correctly; that there are no distracting elements that could negatively affect your conversions; that the content displays well on all web browsers and devices, etc.
Also, you may need to obtain clearances and clarifications from other departments before your article can be published.
For example, the article may contain information related to products or services that include pricing or tax information, special offers, competitions, discount coupons, product or service availability, product ordering, shipping and delivery, liability disclaimers, terms and conditions, brand or product licensing, use of images or media, copyright, trademarks, etc.
All this needs to be cleared with your marketing, accounting, and legal teams.
Finally, you may need to consult management or executive levels (e.g. product, finance, or operations manager) to make sure that the article complies with all company policies, manufacturer specifications, third-party service guidelines, industry rules and regulations, and any other legal requirements.
But it actually doesn’t end there.
You want your investment of time and effort to achieve consistently and progressively better results for your business, don’t you?
So, after publishing the article, you will also want to track and measure your results and document these in a report so you can review, analyze, and improve your content’s performance.
After publishing, you may also need to moderate comments, answer questions, reply to user inquiries, collect and collate form data, and add new entries to your site’s FAQ section (for example, if you repeatedly get the same questions from your site visitors, prospects, customers, etc).
As you can see, creating something as seemingly simple as an article for your website requires systems and processes in place…
- before the article gets written (to ensure that you’re targeting the right audience),
- during the content production process (e.g. review workflows and scheduling when the article will be published), and
- after the article has been published (e.g. tracking its results and performance).
In short, unless your business simply doesn’t care about the content it publishes, there is nothing simple about creating content for your website or blog.
It requires participation from all areas of your business and the effective integration and coordination of different roles, systems, and processes, in addition to ensuring that everyone involved follows all content procedures, specifications, and guidelines, while also ensuring compliance with all company, departmental, and legal policies…staying aligned all the while with the goals and objectives of the business.
Ideally, everything required to write an article as described above would be in place before the article is written.
Of course, you can simply ignore all of this, just start writing and promoting your articles and see what happens!
If You Don’t Want To Guess Your Way To Success…
If you want to avoid guesswork, the first step to managing your content effectively is to accept that effective content management is not a simple undertaking.
Your business will need to put effective content management systems in place to grow using content, continually review your content’s performance, and improve its results.
While there are loads of useful information and tools that can help you do this (including our lessons), there is no one-click, “done-for-you”, “set-and-forget”, “hands-free” service, software, or app that will allow you to manage your content effectively.
It’s a process and it requires a systemic approach.
Effective content management is essential for your business to operate efficiently and to communicate effectively with all stakeholders.
Managing content effectively in any organization, however, is a complex and difficult undertaking, as content impacts all areas of your business.
It can also feel like a “Catch-22” situation. You can’t plan, produce, promote, and manage content effectively until you have put in the right systems and processes to plan, produce, promote, and manage content effectively.
While there are challenges to managing content effectively, your business can overcome these by implementing effective content management systems.
Assess how willing your business is to become systems-driven (instead of personality-driven).
If you haven’t already, we recommend starting with the following steps:
- Subscribe to our free email course. This course will guide you step-by-step toward effective content management.
- Go through our content management checklists.
- Refer to our content troubleshooting guide if you experience any issues with your content.
- Content Troubleshooting Guide – Use this guide to identify and fix content-related issues in your business
- The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What To Do About It – Michael E. Gerber’s classic book on how to stop working in your business and start working on your business.
Image: Home Office