Much like a plant, content requires care and attention to ensure that it lives a long life. While a content strategist doesn’t need to water and prune their blogs or graphics, there is an equivalent level of maintenance required to give content its impact and longevity while driving results for a brand. It’s no secret that this takes time and resources from the moment a marketing team sows the seeds of their content production pipeline.
As marketers, how do we ensure that content is living its best life? The key is to be aware of the content lifecycle and how to properly manage marketing assets. That’s where content lifecycle management comes in. Content lifecycle management is the process of developing, publishing, organizing, repurposing, and retiring content during its lifecycle at an organization. Below are the five stages of content lifecycle management that marketers can use as a north star for navigating the large volume of creative and digital assets that live across various channels and ensure their longevity.
Before a content team can even begin to think about developing their assets, they must first define the ‘why’ behind the content they want to create and align it with a corresponding business process or goal. Perhaps an organization is launching a new campaign that requires a blog series, whitepaper, infographic, social media graphics, and other web content. Before beginning the execution of these assets, it’s important to establish their individual purpose and ensure that they fall in line with the organization’s overall content strategy while figuring into a holistic campaign.
Once that’s established, a content manager should create a workback plan for how each asset will be developed and how it will move through the content lifecycle. Here are some examples of what marketers should consider:
Developing a detailed workflow complete with digital content calendars, work-in-progress trackers, and approval processes allows marketing teams to quickly identify and address any issues as they arise if things aren’t going according to plan.
Once a clear content development strategy and workflow is established, it’s time to start the content creation process. The goal is to ensure that anyone involved in content development can reference the content lifecycle development plan strategized in phase one and find everything they need to push content from the initial research stages all the way through to publication.
Ensure that all stakeholders are able to access everything they need to create their assets and produce successful content. This can be done with the help of a digital asset management solution. A DAM solution acts as a digital media hub, allowing a user to easily search for files needed to complete their assets and share digital files with colleagues. During the content creation phase, it’s important for marketers to heavily use brand guidelines, which tell them exactly how to communicate the brand to the world through both visual and narrative elements. This will guarantee that the brand is properly reflected in its content marketing efforts and help uphold brand consistency in new campaigns.
Once assets have been created, they must then be properly stored. Although this phase might seem tedious, it’s sure to prevent future headaches. When assets are complete, ensure that they are well-organized and searchable. To do this, marketers should choose a naming convention that can be used across all of their assets, guaranteeing consistency. A DAM solution can also support the storing and versioning of assets, allowing a user to easily search for content by using keywords, metadata, or SKUs to return results of all related files.
Marketing teams should hold all of their content to the highest standards. This means that the editing phase is crucial to the content management process, as it’s where marketers can ensure that their assets are consistently well-developed. Just like the content creation phase, brand guidelines should be heavily used in the editing phase, ensuring that style, voice, grammar, and format of each asset won’t jeopardize brand equity upon publication.
Start by creating a publishing checklist for each type of asset. This allows marketers to guarantee that their content’s grand debut will go off without a hitch. To do this, marketing teams should note every step they take to publish an asset. For example, a blog publication checklist should note how to select a blog category, create a slug, what type of feature image to choose, and other considerations to ensure quality and brand adherence. Taking these aspects into account will make publishing content more efficient, shortening the time it takes to get in front of a brand’s audience. Now, marketers can sit back and watch their content blossom.
Finally, marketers should update older assets with new research or creative to keep the content relevant, fresh, and aligned with current business goals. For example, they can reoptimize blogs with fresh keywords to increase their search rankings or repurpose popular blog posts into other assets like infographics, podcasts, etc. Additionally, marketing teams can use statistics and hard-hitting points from a whitepaper to create social copy and promote the asset on Twitter and LinkedIn.
While updating existing content can help a brand reach more people for minimal resource expenditure, teams should also consider whether it might be time to retire a content item if it is no longer bringing value to the brand. But it’s important to remember that a full content lifecycle is just that – a cycle. This means that the end of one asset only means the creation of more!
A brand’s content can accomplish much in its lifecycle so long as marketers don’t let it wither away as soon as they hit ‘publish.’ Continuing to care for these assets will ensure that brands get the most out of their content marketing and that it will continue to support their business initiatives for months to come. This all begins with having an optimized content lifecycle management plan, allowing content strategists to create the best marketing collateral for their brand efficiently.
Discover how using a DAM solution can help marketers at various phases of the content lifecycle—everything from asset storage to file sharing to document management— and ultimately facilitate an environment where a brand’s content can truly grow and thrive.