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Taming Content Chaos

July 15, 2022 6 minute read
From creation to consumption, content can be a messy endeavor. Here’s how to get it under control.
Color photo of transparent cube filled with a jumbled mass of lit strings of light

Content is messy. As consumers’ expectations for compelling, content-centric digital experiences grow, so too does the volume, variety, and complexity of that content.

Call it content chaos. Sounds agonizing, right? Doesn’t have to be. 

At every stage of the content lifecycle — from ideation and first draft to the customer clicking from one post to the next — there are countless factors that come into play. On the back end, there are numerous potential sources, inputs, and stakeholders involved in content creation. In many organizations, that content is scattered across teams and systems, often winding up in content silos. 

On the front end, where content gets consumed, there are different formats, platforms, regional considerations, and customer needs to be considered. It doesn’t help that many of these factors — from consumer expectations to the nature of content itself — are ever-changing. 

The result? You guessed it: chaos. It can afflict any function in just about any industry. Left untamed, this content chaos can stress out teams, hamper creativity, and confuse customers. 

Even the definition of content can seem unwieldy. Articles, social media posts, e-books, and email newsletters may seem like obvious examples of content, but what about things like product specs and slide decks for keynote presentations? Content again — and it can all be pulled into the chaos at any point. 

How content chaos can come to life

So what does content chaos look like? Here’s an example: 

Sarah is an editorial content producer at Tech Gadgets, Inc. Like the rest of the marketing team, she’s frantically getting ready for next week’s product launch. It’s the company’s biggest launch in five years, so her team is planning a suite of blog posts to announce the new product and tell the story behind its creation. At the last minute, Sarah realizes she’s missing a few product images for the flagship article, so she asks several colleagues where to find the latest product photography. Eventually, one of them forwards her an email from the product team, so she downloads the images attached to the email, quickly resizes them, and uploads them to the content management system used to publish the company blog. 

There’s just one problem: The files Sarah received weren’t the final image assets. In fact, one of them was an early product rendering showing hardware features that got cut from production so they could be included in a future update. By the time Sarah realizes her mistake, the blog post is live. Although she can easily correct the error — technology nicely allows this — the damage has been done. Tech reporters immediately notice the discrepancy and start writing articles speculating about the company’s product roadmap. 

On the consumption side of the content equation, it’s customers who can get lost in the chaos. Whether it’s a company blog with outdated product education content, duplicate posts with disparate information, or an inconsistent experience across devices, the risk posed by chaotic content on the front-end is a serious one: confused customers and abandoned shopping carts. 

Calmer seas through better content management 

When it comes to public-facing content, the first step toward calming the chaos is to take stock of your organization’s existing content and the strategy behind it. That means taking a big step back and evaluating the content types you’re creating, who it's for, and why. Crafting an effective digital content strategy is no small undertaking, but it’s well worth the effort. 

From there, you’ll want to zoom in closer and take stock of where all that content lives and whether or not it’s still relevant and up-to-date. By mapping your current content ecosystem, you can get a bird’s-eye view of it and identify pesky content silos that may be contributing to the chaos. A thorough content audit will help your organization earmark high-priority fixes and updates to existing content, eliminate old or duplicate items, and generally make sure things are looking tidy on your various content channels. To conduct a content audit, take inventory of what content you have, where it is, who owns it, what rights or protections it needs, how it’s been used in the past, and how it might be used going forward.

This is where having a highly capable, open content management system (CMS) really goes a long way. A centralized content management platform with an API-first infrastructure, responsive design, and robust content publishing tools on the back end will make it that much easier to tame the content chaos on the front end — or, ideally, prevent it from getting out of control in the first place. 

Preempting internal content chaos with DAM and PIM

If there’s one place where media and content can go haywire, it’s inside the walls of an organization. As teams collaborate to launch products and market them, the sheer volume of visual assets, marketing copy, product information, videos, branding material, and other files can quickly become a multi-system mess.

A digital asset management (DAM) system can help bring order, giving organizations a single, centralized source from which to manage and distribute their digital assets at scale and keep things organized and up-to-date. Combined with product information management (PIM) software, DAM can reel in the content chaos by offering a single, centralized content hub and automated workflows. 

Remember Sarah’s nightmare scenario? That’s exactly the kind of headache that an integrated DAM and PIM solution can prevent. By storing digital assets in a DAM, organizations like hers can ensure that important assets are easy to find, easy to share, and up to date. 

Where to go from here

As the demand for compelling, content-driven digital experiences grows, the risks posed by content chaos can only proliferate. Fortunately, organizations can keep the chaos at bay. Combined with robust content management tools backed by a smart content strategy, tools like DAM and PIM can help ensure that your organization’s expansive sea of content and assets stays relatively calm. 

Want to learn more? Download our e-book, Create Rich Experiences Faster By Combining A DAM With Your DXP, for insight on how digital assessment management can streamline workflows and prevent content chaos.

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