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What a Content Operations System Is & Why Your Firm Should Use One

You know how important content is to your business – it's the lifeblood of your marketing and business development efforts. Budgets are tight, and managing articles, web copy, social media posts, newsletters, internal announcements, and other marketing components can be a cumbersome effort to undertake. And with massive amounts of content being produced across the organization both for customers as well as for internal use, it's daunting to try to manage and govern it.

Some of the most common issues that the organizations face are:

  • Lack of standardization in content processes 
  • Inadequate communication between stakeholders
  • Delayed review and approval processes 
  • Lack of transparency in workflows
  • Inefficient use of resources 
  • Inconsistent quality and lack of one voice
  • Duplicate efforts
  • Content that's not updated regularly
  • Lack of a centralized repository

These lead to a lot of wasted time, effort, and money, and lost business opportunities. At Intentful, we estimate that companies spend as much as three times more time managing production compared to the content creation process. With the exponential growth in the number of assets that need to be produced for all marketing channels and touchpoints, this gap is only going to widen.

A content operations system can help manage work more effectively and efficiently – it will standardize processes, ensure quality and accuracy, and deliver faster and more consistent results.

What is a content operations system? 

In its simplest form, a content operations system helps an organization keep track of all its projects in one place, and ensure that it is accessible and usable for years to come. It does this by organizing and storing content in a way that is easy to find and use, and by providing tools and processes to help teams manage their work more effectively.

Is it like project management software?

Both tools are similar in that they help teams manage their work, but a content operations system is specifically designed for content workflows and assets – every piece is given a "home" where it can live and be maintained long-term. This is different from a project management tool, where content is often created for a specific project with an expiration date. 

Who should use a content operations system?

Any company that produces marketing assets on a regular basis and has several stakeholders involved in planning, review, editing, QA, publishing, and the results measurement. Intentful works with multiple types of content for our clients, and our recommendation is to use a content operations system if you or your business: 

  • Create more than 10 pieces of content per week
  • Have more than 3 people working on content projects
  • Work with outside vendors or contractors 
  • Regularly publish assets to multiple channels (e.g. website, blog, social media, email)

What’s wrong with the content team using spreadsheets and shared documents?

Sure your editors and project managers can (and probably do) use Excel spreadsheets to manage the work. But in order to see a top-level view of your campaigns, they’ll have to create new spreadsheets to collate the data and then share it with you. That’s more of their time pulled away from managing, editing, and creating content and more of your time waiting for the reports to be created and sent.

You’re stuck waiting for your editors and PMs to update you on their progress. You won’t see changes or progress in real-time and you’ll be left scrambling when deadlines are coming up. Because every piece of content being created is tied to budgets, campaigns, and calendars, the only options are to ask them to show you where they are so far every day or hour depending on your deadline, or wait until they hand it in (and hope there's still time for proofreading, fact-checking, plagiarism check, etc.).

Not a “one and done” kind of thing

Content creation is continuous for as long as you have a business to market. You will be creating content over and over and over again every week, month, and year. Unless you just love chaos and scattered spreadsheets, you need a measurable, standardized process. A centralized system will save you time, money, and sanity.

Will you ever learn

Unless you have a content operations system with KPI reporting and post-publication analytics, how will you learn how effective your work is?  How will you learn where the bottlenecks in your content operations are? How are you going to learn that the effort is paying off? (It’s nice to see good news).

The Benefits of a Content Operations System: A Smarter, More Efficient Way to Work

There are many benefits to using a content operations system, but here are just a few:

  1. Streamlined process management.

Easily manage some of the tedious tasks associated with content, such as creating hundreds of variations of a product copy or scheduling an update for an e-commerce PDP. This can free up your time so you can focus on more important tasks, such as strategizing your marketing plan.

  1. Increased team productivity. 

Improve collaboration with your team by giving everyone access to the same content calendar and publishing tools. This can help you avoid duplication of effort and make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to your strategy.

  1. Better quality.

By storing all content in one place and providing clear guidelines and processes, teams can produce higher quality content more consistently.

  1. Better discoverability.

It can be difficult to find the right article or a blog post when projects are scattered across different systems and silos. A content operations system makes it easy to search for and find the item you need, when you need it.

  1. Improved content governance.

A content operations system can help organizations maintain control over their content by providing tools for managing permissions, workflows, and audits.

The benefits for C-level executives, CMOs, and anyone responsible for the business results in a rapidly digitizing, content-centric world are multiple, but most importantly it is the ability to drive business results by changing the way you think about managing content operations. 

Where to get started

Investing in a content operations system is a smart move for any business that wants to take its marketing to the next level. 

Producing high-quality, relevant content at scale is our core expertise at Intentful. We use data and AI to help our clients keep up with the digital age. Our content workflow tool, Murphi, is a powerful, yet flexible, platform that’s easy to use and lets us kickoff projects in minutes. 

High-quality targeted content coupled with an efficient operations tool will manage your entire content lifecycle and enable your team to better serve your customers and achieve your business goals.

If you're looking to streamline your operation and get the most out of your content marketing investment, but are not sure where to begin, get in touch.