Have you picked up a copy of Marie Kondo’s bestsell- ing The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Even if you haven’t, chances are some people close to you have applied her two-step method for decluttering to their lives. This method of organization has even
sparked its own verb: Kondo-ing.
The Kondo-ing trend can also extend to publishing, as
content management and software solutions promise to
transport editors and authors to a new plane of existence, a
nirvana where content creation, collaboration, distribution,
and discovery are organized relatively painlessly. The Palo
Alto, Calif.–based Radicati Group projects that the electronic content management (ECM) business will grow to a
nearly $10 billion market in 2018.
Publishers are realizing that they need to get smart about
organizing their content. To get started on a successful ECM
strategy (or, to Kondo a content problem), publishers should
ask themselves these five questions.
Where Is Your Content in the First Place?
To start decluttering, first you must find what you need to
organize and take stock of. Some content is living on hard
drives or in databases, while some is in spreadsheets or
strewn across several computers. The key principle here is to
figure out what to do with that content to determine its
“home” so that you can easily access and use it.
Are You Being Smart About It?
Being effective can mean different things to different people.
While organizing content, you might find it easier and more
fiscally efficient to repurchase the content rather than to devote
resources to finding it. This kind of efficiency can be maddening; it can lose a lot of content and waste a lot of resources.
When implementing an ECM infrastructure, you should
consider allocation of resources, whether time, money, or
employees. The amount of lost time and effort in searching
for unindexed content is costing businesses more than they
would like to admit. Per a study by the International Data
Corporation, a business could waste $25 million a year in
time, assuming an average salary of $80,000 for 1,000
employees who each spend two and a half hours a day
searching for lost content. Implementing an ECM tool could
reduce these losses significantly and allow you to allocate
resources in new and more productive ways.
Are You Accounting for How People Are Consuming Content?
Are You Protecting Your Content?
The monumental changes to the publishing industry are
being driven not by the over-
abundance of content, but by
the proliferation of devices for
consuming content. Given that
ways of consuming content
have evolved over the years,
mindsets need to change accord-
ingly. The industry tends to
approach content as if it were
print in a book instead of data in digital storage. This mind-
set can create limitations down the line. With a flexible,
format-agnostic approach, content would no longer be
constrained and could be used and reused, saving valuable
Content is king. The intellectual property underpinning
content is how publishers make money, so it makes sense to
protect it. Creating an organized ECM solution helps
achieve that goal. Consider how often publishers work
with third parties such as editors or freelancers—sending
out content and information, maybe by email or unsecured
FTP, waiting for the results. This process is risky because of
the lack of transparency. You can’t see what’s happening or
whether you’re losing control of the content. By constructing an effective ECM system, you can invite these folks to
operate in a controlled and monitored environment. When
the operations are done on “home” turf, you can control
them and see what’s going on, thus protecting yourself.
Are You Using Metadata?
The word metadata is currently being thrown around a lot
in publishing and is accompanied by varying opinions about
its effectiveness. Enriching your content gives you strategic
organizational advantages. How many times have you
searched for one thing and found something you didn’t
know you were looking for? You should be striving to emulate consistent results with content management.
As the need to adapt to digital grows, process, people,
and technology will all play a role in a smart content
management strategy. The need to be agile and adaptive
is important, but, to have agile content, organizations
must first become agile and adjust mindsets to focus on
digital-first. Smart management tools can help. ■
Kondo-ing Your Content
Five questions every publisher should address BY CARL ROBINSON
Carl Robinson is a senior consultant at Ixxus.