Content Management: Seeking The Silver Bullet

    June 2, 2003

There is no silver bullet that will solve your web content problem. There is no magical formula, no sleek software, that will take away the pain of badly written, badly organized content. Creating quality content that is well organized requires a lot of training, skill and hard work.

I was talking to a consultant recently who specializes in content management, and had before that, specialized in data management. He laughed as he recounted the crazy expectations that many organizations have.

There’s always a sucker, he said, that thinks they can buy some software, turn it on, and, hey presto, all their data or content management needs are looked after. And, of course, there’s always a content management sales guy, or information architect, more than willing to peddle this sort of fairy tale.

There are two main reasons this sort of ridiculous behavior occurs. The first is a form of idealistic naivety. There are many people who blindly believe in the power of technology to solve all our problems. They genuinely feel that the role of technology is to free us from mundane tasks.

The second reason revolves around laziness and greed. Many technology companies know that their software sucks, but they hope there is always a new sucker out there. This sucker doesn’t even want to think about the challenges content poses. They want a cheap, automated fix.

My consultant friend believes that the content management industry has reached a critical point. An awful lot of money has been spent, and there’s precious little to show for it. The technology just hasn’t done the job.

Creating content is not a mundane task. The objective of content is to communicate knowledge that will either reinforce or change behavior. This is a huge challenge that demands tremendous intelligence and skill.

Content is a critical asset for many organizations. It differentiates them from competitors. It helps make the sale. It helps make staff more productive. It creates real value that drives the bottom line.

Think about your business for a moment. What makes you unique? What makes you competitive? What makes customers loyal to you? What makes your staff so good? What will sustain you into the future?

The things that make you unique are in themselves unique. The things that will sustain your competitiveness are not easy to copy. Unique things are difficult to create. That’s what makes them unique. Your content should be unique.

Too many organizations spend their days circling the drain. They drive down costs but with the same blunt thinking, they drive down value. If content is a mundane commodity to you, then certainly reach for that cheap-looking automated fix.

What if content is a critical asset to you? What if good content can support your brand, your sales? What if it can encourage the best people to join you? What if poor content damages your brand, your sales, your image as a quality employer?

The difference between poor quality and high quality content is not in the software that serves it, but in the people that write and organize it. Content is critical. Increasingly, it is the lifeblood that runs through the veins of the information economy. You’d better get good at it.

For your web content management solution, contact Gerry McGovern

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