I worked with a client recently on a contract that turned into a project to develop a content management plan. This will be the first in a series of posts about content management plans.
Content has a value in the same way that software or furniture has value. If employees in organizations cannot find the information or content they need to complete tasks critical to the mission of the organization, how much is the content worth? If people have to redo work because they can’t find a template or model, what is the cost of that hidden content? Content, information, data are all assets despite their pseudo-intangible nature. Management needs to understand the value.
A Content Management Plan is used to outline how an organization manages large amounts of information. Any organization that routinely produces large volumes of information is involved in content management[i], whether they have a formal plan or not. It is important keep content up to date and organized as effectively as possible[ii] so that people can find the information they need at the right time. One goal of a content management plan would be to establish repositories where cleared users have easy access to[iii] the information they need. Information can be internal (reports, news, marketing collateral, policies, model documents, etc) and external (books, magazines, commercial databases, other digital materials, etc). Format is immaterial. Content management applies to the entire cycle that information and data must move through in a business environment. This cycle starts with acquisition or creation, moves through editing or updating, publishing, translation or transformation, to archiving and retrieval. Many people may be involved. Creators, editors, technicians, programmers, etc all create content. There are often other departments affected that are not directly responsible for content such as[iv] sales people using marketing collateral created by the Marketing Department or an outside PR firm. In order to get the most value of the organizational content, as a start, lifecycles should be documented and managed.