April 15, 2021
Content operations is the set of processes, people, and technologies needed for strategically planning, creating, managing, and analyzing all content types for all channels across an enterprise.
It is, in essence, a framework for how an enterprise creates the content that powers their customer experiences (CX). But that’s just the beginning.
Content operations, sometimes called content ops, impacts every business unit. Marketing, sales, the C-suite, human resources, R&D are all directly affected by the content and experiences that come from a company’s content operations. Any part of the business that creates, consumes, or shares content is part of the content ops ecosystem—which is, let’s face it, nearly all of the business.
Content operations platform allows a brand to unite its operating model on a common set of capabilities across departments, agencies, and channels. But not enough brands take content operations as seriously as it deserves to be treated.
Content is the one thing that marketing teams produce the most of but somehow isn’t understood as a strategic function for the business as a whole. As a result, companies try to skip deploying a content operations solution and find themselves simply unable to deliver the personalized content experiences that customers everywhere have come to expect, hurting the entire brand experience.
A truly successful content operations framework lets enterprises unleash the power of content in pursuit of personalized customer experiences that result in business growth. It also speeds up content creation, management, and delivery by breaking down silos between teams that gum up every content process.
Everyone can benefit from content operations software. Any business that wants to make an empathetic, human connection with their customers needs content operations software to make it happen.
Customers demand personalized experiences. In fact, 89% of digital businesses are investing in personalized content, including Coca-Cola, Fableticks, Netflix, Sephora, USAA, and Wells Fargo, according to research by Forrester.
Having a strong content operations software solution solves fundamental challenges by empowering teams in every stage of content creation, from planning through performance analysis. Content ops helps marketing teams:
Content has always been critical to business. Archaeologists have identified examples from as early as 35 B.C. of a fish sauce purveyor in Pompeii using product branding and content production to differentiate product types, presumably to reach customers more effectively.
The investment in building customer experiences is only expected to grow. Both businesses and customers agree that customer experience outweighs both price and product. 86% of customers would pay more for a better experience. 45.9% of business leaders report prioritizing customer experience over product (33.6%) and pricing (20.5%).
From blog posts to sales pitches, effective content is the means by which brands connect with customers. Without an optimized content operations solution in place, creating personalized content takes much more time and consumes many more resources. That’s why your content operations framework is so important.
While every business benefits from content operations, companies in regulated industries that rely on personalized customer experiences to reach and convert customers (and who doesn’t!) simply can’t move forward without it.
In industries like financial services or insurance or life sciences, producing content offers big gains—and risks. Your content is subject to global regulations, customer perceptions, and the needs of multiple business units. The right content operations solution can give you big wins. The wrong one can cost you millions.
Content ops helps brands in regulated industries maintain customer trust and connections and, with the reliability of automated workflows, removes a substantial amount of risk from the entire digital content operations ecosystem. Content ops ensures content, even when it’s localized, always works for the business, never against it.
When the stakes are high, a strong content operations solution ensures the right content meets the right audience in the right place at the right time.
Since your content operations strategy is fundamental to building and maintaining customer connections, mid-market organizations have the most to gain from content ops.
Huge, multi-national organizations usually benefit from an already established brand. Mid-market organizations are seeking to build that broader recognition by strengthening content strategy and marketing efforts.
At this level, content operations is critical to business momentum.
Content operations offers enormous returns on any opportunity—be it a new product, market, or demand shift. How? A fully stacked solution with automated workflows, smart content tagging, and cross-application integrations enables rapid production of personalized content and delivery that instantly greets customers with a resonant message.
Even small organizations benefit from content operations solutions because, without a doubt, content is critical to their business. With SMBs, content ops is all about efficiency. When your content teams need to produce content that actually converts, they need the right information at the right time.
This is especially true for start-ups that need to be scrappy and resource efficient by their nature. Content operations gives sorely needed reliability to support the broader organization’s initiatives. It helps facilitate better content marketing in every channel and makes delivering personalized customer experiences that are necessary for engagement a reality.
The team responsible for orchestrating your organization’s content ops needs people with diverse backgrounds and skill sets—folks like content marketers, writers, designers, and strategists. While your team will largely be based around achieving specific objectives for your brand, there are three areas that all team members should understand and know how to execute on:
The best content operations teams have experience creating content and who understand how the nuts and bolts of the business fit together.
Most importantly, content ops teams need to clearly understand your customers. They should also have experience managing projects from start to finish, understand the business, and have a strategic mind for creating efficiencies and driving new initiatives.
Designing your content operations strategy takes an intimate understanding of the content operations ecosystem. You need to understand how the various elements of content operations connect both internally and externally with the enterprise’s broader operational units.
The core components of content operations include four primary capabilities.
Together, these four components make up the basics of your content operations solution.
The larger content operations ecosystem includes these core capabilities and two additional components: the content ops techstack and your core integrations.
Content operations is, at its core, about making the best use of cutting-edge technologies. By designing an effective tech stack—with a content operations solution as the proverbial meat and potatoes of the tech stack—and implementing the right integrations and marketing automations, you lay the groundwork for delivering generative, personalized customer experiences across channels.
Content strategists and marketers are familiar with the sequence that begins with content planning and ends with content distribution and reuse. At Aprimo, we call this process the content lifecycle. High quality content for B2C and B2B marketing follows a straightforward workflow.
Content operations is the framework for helping companies manage the content lifecycle from start to finish. Content ops helps you plan campaigns, design and create them, get reviews and approvals, push them live in every channel, and gather content metrics and performance data—connecting all the pieces of content creation to facilitate growth.
With content operations, you can start to optimize content marketing with content classification, taxonomy, and metadata. You can layer on processes and third-party integrations that facilitate team collaboration. You can add on the content distribution layer and the content consumption layer. You can find and pull the right content from DAM into experiences and campaigns without leaving the app, delivering the right content pieces to creatives and customers quickly.
Content operations pulls it all together.
The benefits of cross-organizational enterprise content operations are enormous. Content operations unites disjointed strategies, breaking down silos and bringing teams together.
Trust between customer and brand is fundamental. And today, personalized content is the experience customers trust most.
When you use content operations you are putting the experience of the customer at the center of strategy. That’s what today’s genius brands are doing, putting experience at the intersection of content and data.
Yet the customer experience is only a facet of content operations. For marketers and creators, content operations gives you confidence that your customers are seeing the experiences that most apply to them in the channels they most use.
That’s how you maximize efficiency.
Too often, enterprise brands struggle with content. Why?
Content operations platform dismantles these obstacles and maximizes performance across the enterprise. Your graphic designers and copywriters always have the approved content in hand. Your customers see what you want them to see when you want them to see it. And marketing can report on how the content performed, and make data-driven adjustments that positively impact the bottom line.
Marketing operates with a strict cost-time-volume equation. Too often, marketing lacks the insights to accurately calculate ROI. Content operations solutions remove the guesswork.
Gain content accountability with content operations and know down to the tiniest detail how content is performing across different channels. Measure your key performance indicators (KPIs). Assess your diagnostic content metrics. A powerful content operations solution gives you the ability to quickly and easily understand what’s working and what needs to change
Start to accurately answer your key marketing performance questions:
As mid-market and enterprise marketers, we know content is important. Gartner, Forrester, G2, IDC—nearly every report hitting the digital streets shows that content experiences are how enterprise brands differentiate themselves.
Put your own data to work to report on how the content your teams create drives business value for your enterprise using content operations.
Content ops is how you scale, how you grow, and how you connect with your audience.
Sure, you could try and manage it piecemeal, but a solution Frankensteined together won’t deliver the same ROI, the same experience, or the same efficiency that a discrete content operations solution offers.
Content impacts every business unit: Marketing, Product teams, Legal, Training, HR, eCommerce, R&D. For this simple reason, having a content operations solution in place reliably improves a wide swath of the business.
Enterprises moving into the next generation of experience marketing rely on content operations. With a content strategy informed by good data, any enterprise in any industry can build better customer connections even as channels continue to evolve.
You need a framework on which to build your content strategy, technology stack, and methodology. Content operations is that framework.