Publishing content is easy. Becoming a publisher is not. The digital age demands that we shift our mindset from seeing ourselves as influencers of media channels—to owners of media channels.
It requires, in other words, that we become digital publishers.
The inconvenient truth: we might be great at reactively adopting these new tools and giving them a go—but we haven’t yet necessarily mastered the art of extracting the greatest possible value from them.
Publishing content online is as easy as having access to an internet connection. The barrier for entry has never been lower. It’s easy enough to simply add to the online noise—but to cut through it, to resonate, is a whole different matter.
People say that “content is king”. But if our content is not informed by a strategy that makes sure what we publish is bridging the gap between our objectives and our users’ goals—it’s nobody’s king. It’s just white noise. Worse still, our content becomes a mess.
The symptoms of content mess
When we dive head first into new digital channels. without first forming a strategy that informs how we’re going to use them to add genuine value to ourselves and our users, we end up with the following symptoms of content mess:
- Masses of content spewed out “create and fling” style across multiple platforms, without stepping back to evaluate the bigger picture.
- Inaccurate, outdated or irrelevant content that undermines the organisation’s integrity, authority and subject expertise.
- Content lacking clear ownership and accountability over its ongoing maintenance and governance—a constant risk to brand reputation.
- Jargon-laden content that attempts to tell, sell and ask, rather than to show, explain and add value — scaring away prospects averse to “old-school” advertising.
- Content that is difficult for users to find, use and understand, meaning that, by default, our organisation is difficult to find, use, or understand.
Content strategy cleans up the mess. It moves an organisation towards resourcing itself and acting as a publisher (rather than just someone who publishes content) so that it hits its content sweet spot and adds genuine value through its digital channels.