Content management: The internal customer
Writing some text for a website or a social intranet is not so difficult in and of itself. But those who can write, briefly and to the point, yet still maintain clarity, have hands of gold. If you balance your writing talent with knowledge of the customer journey and a good interactive design, then you’ll deliver a satisfying user experience.
Seems easier said than done, right? Because, in general, most of your content managers have other things to manage than content.
Good content comes from your internal content experts
If you manage an intranet or website for a large or mid-sized organization you’ll run up against the army of internal experts and stakeholders. I don’t say this cynically or without respect for the army, because the internal customer is your most important source of good content. You must cherish and especially facilitate that army with what you have to offer these experts of substance. How to do that? You can learn.
The internal customer is your most important source of good content.
But first you have to drain yourself on everything great and difficult you come across in your daily work with the internal customer. Just once. Because we all know them, the members of the army of content experts. They can act as a brake on your publication tempo and sometimes want to go in a different direction than you think is good for the reader. Great portraits, each one:
Great portraits of internal content managers
Stan the Stickler who won’t let you put anything online without it going through four audits. If you’re not careful, your content will no longer be up to date after the last audit.
Daisy Don’t Do Anything Without Me looks a little like Stan the Stickler. Daisy feels responsible for every little letter about her section and she values efficiency. “What I can do online, I no longer have to do anywhere else.” Daisy doesn’t ask herself whether the content is still interesting for the reader; effectiveness is not her goal.
Ulysses Untraceable Organizational Unit wants to have a button on the home page. And there are more than ten of these to be found in the organization. How do you explain that this home page function has long ago been replaced by Google and your search engine within your website? And – even more difficult – how do you tell someone who thinks his service is the most important that his information is relevant for only 2% of the readers?
Flexible Frank is with you all the way, gets what a reader needs and voluntarily halves his content; after all, he sees that the other half is internal stuff that you don’t have to bother the reader with. Frank also rolls up his sleeves: “Just tell me where I have to adjust my content; that’ll save you guys work.”
Helpless Henriette expects you to not only unearth, rewrite and structure her content, but she prefers that you reorganize her work according to the structure on your intranet because it looks so nice and clear online.
For Theo Have You Tested This, you must always prove the legitimacy of your decisions to publish or not with graphs from Google Analytics.
Pamela Procrastination has never shown any interest in having her content published, except at the 11th hour of her project. Then you as content manager may process a volcano eruption of content, and immediately. The common thread? You’re free to come up with that yourself, Pam feels.
This is also true for Tessa Toss Over the Wall: “It’ll be fine, you know; you guys can just make it a Twitter message, then I can do what I’m good at.”
The nicest is Thankful Theresa. She is happy with any place at all in your content structure. You work like a dog for Theresa, because it’s nice to be showered with compliments and thanks now and then.
Anonymous Annie and Norbert No Reply are friends. Annie and Norbert do not want to be confronted with their work online in any way whatsoever. Can we writers just leave out the author’s name from the article? And Annie naturally has no online profile photo. Norbert you are forced to identify as a cartoon figure intended to be funny, and above all don’t expect that he is prepared to answer questions about his specialty for the readers; that’s what you’re there for, he thinks.
Ronny Regulation brings up the rear. He is the most persistent of the group and, at the same time, the easiest information owner to serve. After all, Ronny has the law on his side and is therefore always correct. The quickest way to be done is to just publish what Ronny says.
Content management is a profession
You content managers surely know even more of these types of internal customers. I’m curious. Respond, especially, but with respect for all those people with whom you work, because: content management is your profession, not theirs; they are your helpers.
Content management is your profession, not theirs; they are your helpers.
So many types of content experts, so many obstacles and helpers to get your content online effectively and on time. Those who are familiar with the law of Flip-Thinking know that all content experts can teach you something. They don’t have their pet topics and worries for nothing. It is up to you to take their concerns and idiosyncrasies seriously. That is your first step.
Step 2 is to make sure they also take your concerns seriously. What do you have to do to achieve this? Include them in the customer journey and do that at the first or – if you already know them – at a renewed encounter. Often they themselves are also a ‘customer’ of the information from a colleague content expert. They are often good at thinking along with your profession from that role. This provides you an opportunity for mutual understanding and a collaboration that leads to meaningful content.
Content strategy social intranet
Your strongest card? That would be content strategy. The backbone of every website, for your social media and your internal media. How do you create this? Follow my blogs or invite me to launch it with your organization. I promise you: it is fun and easy. That does sound too good to be true. There’s only one catch: time. Rome wasn’t built in just one day. Those who take time are also rewarded. And, believe me, it will be easier for you as content manager to get valuable and meaningful content online. Your content will grow (but not expand), the organization will increasingly see the benefit of it, and thus the collaboration with your internal suppliers will also grow. All’s well that ends well.