Marketing and Sales Content Strategy,
Content Operations and
High-Performing Content Health Check
A Content Health Check assesses three important content-related business activities:
The sequence is important.
Content Strategy is a pre-requisite and primary driver of high-performing content. The Health Check assesses your content strategy using a rigorous framework (explained below) and experienced practitioners.
Content Operations is how that strategy will be executed. But often a content operation is not defined and designed based on content strategy. It is considered a “given.” This constrains content strategy decisions (“what we’re capable of producing”), or content outputs (‘what is produced”).
Content Audits are most useful when performed in context to well-developed content strategy. Most content audits aren’t based on specific content requirements, usually because they haven’t been defined or documented (content strategy work).
Content audits typically assess factors we consider table stakes for creating any content: writing quality, how up-to-date and accurate the content is, brand alignment, and stage fit.
A significant omission of most content audits is assessment of the fit of each asset with specific use case requirements, and the purpose or “job” of content for both content users and consumers. In short, how situation-ready is each asset?
Weak Content Strategy, or inefficient and ineffective Content Operations will inevitably result in low-performing Content.
Strategic Business Decisions
High-performing content in this digital era is a strategic imperative because it is a primary driver of top business outcomes:
- New customer acquisition and organic revenue growth,
- Sales and marketing productivity and lower selling costs,
- Acquiring data on customers and audiences,
- Providing exceptional customer experiences.
The content world into which you deploy your content is crowded, noisy and easily distracted.
To perform well, and to deliver the business outcomes you expect, high-performing content must be relevant, insightful, differentiated and useful to your audiences. This does not happen automatically.
Audiences prefer to receive content in many different forms and formats, based on different information purposes and channels used.
You have many functional groups across your organization that engage customers. Sales, customer service, training, and the sales channel are examples of “content constituents” that require support to “cover” their many content use case requirements.
These few of many requirements create a new imperative to scale content operations and outputs without compromising quality, time or cost. Most content operations buckle under new digital era content requirements.
Businesses executives have six business elements they can adjust to manage and affect business outcomes:
- Capital / Investments
- Disciplined Execution
A thorough Content Health Check assesses each of these areas.
To do this, Avitage applies documented frameworks and methods we have developed over 18 years in our professional B2B content operations and customer content strategy work.
These provide a focused lens through which to analyze and identify weaknesses and gaps in any organization’s content strategy, content operations and content inventories, as a result of the content audit.
We deploy a unique Content Strategy Analytics assessment. The survey portion solicits input from content users regarding the efficacy of existing content for their purposes. The analytics indicates which strategy elements are strong and weak. Then, it correlates specific strategy initiatives with key content criteria. You see what to do. You know that work will improve your content.
An effective Content Health Check helps you identify your current maturity state. It provides inputs to decisions for improvement road maps in each area.This feedback will accelerate your progress up each maturity curve.
Disciplined, continuous improvement will shift content from commoditized collateral into strategic assets that DO drive business outcomes.
Content Strategy Health Check
During decades of content work with B2B organizations Avitage has developed and refined a Six Competency Framework for Marketing and Sales Content Strategy.
This framework provides a comprehensive methodology to assess the current state of an organization’s content strategy and content operations. Too often, a content audit is conducted without reference to content strategy decisions.
Today, on-brand, up-to-date, well-written and consumable content traits are table stakes. Typically missing is assessment of the purpose — or “job” — for which content users and their audiences require situation-ready content.
The six competencies in the Avitage framework are:
- Understand Audience (Buyers)
- Conversations Support
- Use Case Requirements
- People Support
- Content Operations
- Infrastructure, Tools, Technology
Content Health Check Process
The content health check serves a purpose similar to an annual financial audit conducted by accounting firms on the organization’s financial records, operating procedures and other areas that affect business risk and government compliance.
The work begins with inputs that provide context about the strategic environment and purposes of content for each organization.
- Enterprise Goals and Strategies
- Go-To-Customer Goals, Strategies, Plans
- Sales Goals and Plans
- Marketing Goals and Plans
Company Offers – Products, Services, Solutions
With this as background, the Content Health Check process follows the competency sequence.
1. Understand Audiences and Buyers
- Who — Audiences, Segments and Personas
- Why — Problems
- How — Buying Process, Stages, Decisions, Questions
- Buyer Options and Competitive Assessment
2. Conversation Support (develop language, beyond messaging)
- Buyer’s Problems
- Competitive Positioning
- Conversation Preparation — Beyond Messages
- Design Conversations for key touch point conversations
- Conversation and Content Creation Support
- Information (data) to capture
3. Use Case Requirements of Primary Content Constituent Groups
- Identify Key Engagement Touch Points
- Content Inventory — Mapped & Gapped
- Content Requirements documented
4. Support People
- Content Constituent Groups (Marketing tactics, Sales, Customer Service, Sales Channel)
- Content Operations and Creators (Subject Experts)
- Content Reviewers and Managers
- Content Users
5. Content Operations
- Approach — Topic vs. event / campaign
- Operations Design
- Workflow Process
- Plan and Design Content
- Acquire and Curate Inputs
- Create Content – Process, Procedures, Techniques
- Curate, Package and Database and Manage Content Assets
- Deploy Content
- Assemble and Deliver
- Track, Measure and Improve
- Program & Project Management – Governance, Policies, Standards, Content Architecture / Taxonomy
- Resources – Internal, Vendor, Contractor, Support
- Metrics, Reports, Analytics
6. Infrastructure, Tools & Technology
- CRM, Contacts database & lists (related)
- Marketing Automation
- Content Inventory
- PowerPoint Management
- Content Source / Plain Text
- Hosting (video, Slideshare) and Social tools
- Production / Collaboration — specialty content tools
- Data, Reports, Analytics
Content Operations Health Check
In this digital era, content operations must meet and ideally optimize to a new set of digital content requirements:
- Quality — On Purpose, Insightful, Useful
- Time — Pre-produce, Continuous, Real-time
- Cost — Financial, Time, Opportunity
- Context — Situation, Audience, Relevant
- Availability — NOW, Covers Use Case Requirements
- Formats — Forms, Types, Channels
- Languages — Translation, Localization, Contents
- Scale — Production, Critical Mass, Without compromise
- Share and Re-use — Edit, Re-Configure, Assemble at front line
- Maintain — Long-life assets, Up-to-date, Accurate
This is important to appreciate. The traditional and still prevalent production process can famously still optimize only two criteria — “good, fast or cheap, pick any two!”
This caused us to discover years ago:
The traditional, project-oriented, creative craftsman approach to content production is outdated. It can’t efficiently support the content requirements of ALL customer engaging functions across the enterprise. It will not meet new digital content criteria required by information-empowered buyers, their digital channel and format preferences. It cannot scale without compromise.
The Content Operations Health Check examines process, practices and techniques through the lens of these requirements, and the framework below. In particular it analyzes areas for greater efficiency and leverage. This service produces recommendations for improvement priorities.
High-Performing Content Audit
The content audit portion of the Content Health Check analyzes both online and offline, customer-facing content. This is done in the context of the purposes and use cases defined in the content strategy — Use Case Requirements competency.
A content audit can be a relatively short overview assessment. It can focus on content for a particular offer or business function. It can also be a deep and robust assessment of all marketing, sales and related function assets.
Avitage services can be as a guide, mentor or assessor, or to provide the resources to conduct every aspect of the content audit.
If you are interested in considering a content strategy, content operations and content health check service for your organization, the next step is a conversation.
The time and investment required for the content health check itself will depend on the size and scope you want to address, your content maturity level, and degree of comprehensiveness you desire.
Like a financial audit, a better practice is to make this a routine annual practice.
Use this link to schedule an initial, 30 minute phone conversation.