The proliferation of digital channels opens up new opportunities for businesses that want to deepen relationships with existing clients and attract new customers. Social media platforms and the widespread use of mobile devices provide an affordable way to push out a steady stream of content to always-connected consumers and generate new business. However, many companies that are making the change from print-centric communication to digital content are finding that the transition isn't simple. The processes that are in place for creating, approving, publishing, distributing and tracking print-centric content don't scale when faced with omni-channel digital content.
Content automation tools are designed to bridge the gap, eliminating delays in previewing and approving content for diverse media types and making it easy to create, update, and reuse content on multiple channels. The objective is to enable employees to focus on what they do best and remove redundant manual processes such as copy and paste. But too many businesses have yet to embrace content automation.
We recently conducted a content usage survey, in conjunction with InfoTrends, asking 151 large businesses across a variety of industries about their experience with developing and disseminating content. Here are the top seven challenges that hold companies back from maximizing content value:
- Fragmented content strategy: 75% of surveyed companies reported that a fragmented content strategy keeps them from streamlining the publishing lifecycle. They cited a variety of impediments, including re-creation of existing content and too little insight into content publication and consumption. Content exists in silos, making it hard for potential users to identify and access.
- Content editing time requirements: About half of survey respondents said they spend too much time editing, reviewing and updating content. PDFs are difficult to review and annotate, and multiple revisions are a challenge, as is the requirement to handle content reuse across documents and audiences. Overall, the processes involved wasting too much time and resources.
- Using Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems to solve content challenges: Some businesses look to their ECM solution to address their content challenges, but while ECM is a great tool for collaboration, it is designed for specific functions, including the scanning, capture and management of files, and file-centric workflows and processes. It isn't a good substitute for content automation.
- Creating single-purpose documents: From an efficiency standpoint, it's crucial for companies to develop reusable content components that are format-agnostic, i.e., usable across multiple platforms. But too many companies still use outdated processes, managing files instead of content and reinventing the wheel rather than pursuing a smart content reuse strategy.
- Localization costs: Translating content into local languages is expensive, which prevents many companies from expanding operations into new markets. Before they can maximize content value on a global scale, businesses must find a way to address localization issues affordably. The survey indicated that many companies still struggle with localization. Componentized content addresses this challenge.
- Synchronizing content across multiple channels: Many companies encounter challenges with multichannel publishing, encountering difficulty with ensuring content remains consistent across web, PDF, and print collateral and failing to publish content in mobile-friendly formats. More than half of survey respondents said they weren't satisfied with digital content capabilities.
- Compliance breakdowns in messaging and product information: Content publishers have difficulty keeping up with regulatory mandates, legal requirements, brand guidelines, product information, and policy changes. They note that errors appear in regulated documents and struggle with version control and timely updates.
Multichannel publishing isn't a new phenomenon, but too few companies are taking full advantage of its capabilities, as these seven top challenges to content optimization indicate. One primary obstacle identified in the survey findings is that company leaders believe they have a comprehensive content automation solution when what they actually have is a document management system.
To fully embrace digital media possibilities, form closer ties with existing customers and reach out to prospects, company leaders need a better approach. A content automation solution can work with legacy tools like ECM to make it simple to create, update, and reuse content across channels. Companies that find the right content automation solution can gain a significant edge over competitors.