Stop managing your website

At the end of the day, these technologies will hopefully push companies toward better, more user-focused content

When US-based content strategist Hilary Marsh made this comment during her visit to Aarhus in November for the annual J. Boye conference, it resonated really well with me. Both in terms of new technologies like artificial intelligence and chatbots, but also in the context of the decade-old role of web content management systems.

Still, to be honest, most companies have cared less about their content, and much more about their website in recent years. They’ve deployed systems designed to manage content, and tried to tweak them into website management systems, at times even coupled with an attempt to magically manage the entire customer experience. Clearly, this is not working out.

Stuck in a mindset of managing websites?

How did we get here? 2018 marks my 20th year working with digital and what continues to amaze me is the ever increasing scope that we try to cover.

First, it was about managing chaos which basically meant moving traditional old Microsoft Word files online. Web sites were little more than digital brochures and consisted of pages.

Later we moved onwards to managing websites with increasing elements of interactivity, like filling out a form or displaying a dynamic page with recent news. Wauv.

Onwards and the focus shifted for some to managing experiences, multiple devices, mobile-first and digital transformation and here we are. Today with 2018 knocking on the door and with AI-devices like Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home arriving in households around the world, the game is changing one more time.

In my job, I see too many who remain stuck in the mindset of managing websites. Some also overinvest in technology to try to manage (digital) experiences, only to find out that at the end of the day, what Hilary Marsh said is exactly spot on: We need better content and the content needs to be managed. Without good content, our efforts fail us and ultimately our customers go somewhere else.

Adaptable and intelligent content

The good people at the Content Marketing Institute have shared two excellent articles which illustrate the importance of content, how to work with it and how to create the right mindset:

Both are several years old and cover important progress in how to think about content and work with it.

First, adaptive content is content that can, at each instance of use, change (adapt) – not just in appearance but in substance – based on a number of factors. In other words and to cut a long story short: Imagine content that makes customers love your brand.

Second, the term intelligent content is not just another buzzword. The term’s widely accepted definition was developed by Ann Rockley years ago:

Intelligent content is content that’s structurally rich and semantically categorized and therefore automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable, and adaptable.

To bring this back to managing websites vs. content, I’ll quote Karol Jarkovsky, VP Product at Kentico Software:

Unless you switch your mindset to managing content rather than websites, you will have a very hard time adapting to the new and emerging channels that have arrived this year.

The content landscape is increasingly crowded and customers are naturally gravitating towards more interactive channels like chatbots and various voice-enabled home assistants like Google Home or Amazon Alexa

Here’s to a 2018, where you focus more on managing your content!

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