Everything You Need to Know About Content Silos: Causes, Problems and Solutions

Content Management

The word “silo” signifies that an arm of operation within an organization works in isolation from the others. These silos lead to numerous issues, such as duplication, inconsistent messaging, poor user experience, wasted resources, and missed opportunities. By default, this presents several challenges that can be detrimental to the growth of any business.

Organizations produce more content today than ever before. According to Deloitte, the overall marketing budget of several organizations will grow by 14% in 2021, with almost 40% of marketers believing that content plays an integral role in their overall marketing efforts

For content professionals, breaking down silos to uncover great ideas, contributions, and opportunities is essential. By identifying and repairing the problems caused by silos, you can improve communication within your content teams and organization as a whole.

In light of that, let’s find out what silos exist within organizations, the causes and dangers of content silos, and how you can bridge them.

What Are Silos?

Despite the numerous tools available to facilitate communication and enhance collaboration, the reality of organization silos still exists. The challenge of breaking down silos and fostering collaboration has long plagued companies. 

Organizational silos refer to the isolation that emerges when employees or departments within an organization are reluctant to share information or knowledge. Silos can lead to a plethora of problems such as reduction in operational efficiency and lack of innovation.

The majority of businesses today rely on uncoordinated, disparate content management systems (CMS), with each employee responsible for creating content. As a result, organizations face content management issues such as content duplications, unauthorized access risks, poor user experience, and missed deadlines.

Identifying Content Silos

For any content manager, there are several benefits to understanding where silos exist. By breaking down the silos that slow production, you can eliminate some bottlenecks and challenges in content production. It is common for several organizations to adopt a new CMS due to existing systems failing to support new functionalities. As a result, most organizations use incompatible systems and rely on several platforms and tools, resulting in content silos.

For example, your marketing team may create content for an event microsite using one tool, while your IT department creates content for the main website using a different tool. Similarly, a social media team may create or draft posts in one system while your blog content gets created somewhere else within a blog-focused CMS with the sales engagement content on another platform

The Dangers of Content Silos

In light of these considerations, delivering content on-demand may be a complex process involving teams from multiple departments, with IT operations taking the brunt of it. It’s a nightmare for the operations teams to maintain all the sites and content, let alone provide simple updates.

In general, most CMSs do not provide support for creating and publishing content across multiple emerging channels, which exacerbates the issue as you engage with consumers across multiple channels such as web, email, social media, digital boards, etc. 

Having silos makes it hard for operations to keep up with the many changes and requests - from launching new microsites to changing fonts. Amidst all these, it will be challenging for any organization to deliver new and innovative digital experiences and capabilities.

Getting value from content is much more difficult when your systems are siloed and disconnected. Due to the use of multiple platforms and channels to produce content, content reuse becomes impossible. That can mean content teams creating similar content that may otherwise be reused and updated with proper versioning.

Breaking Down the Silos

Now you’ve identified the silos within your content teams, how can you break them down? Integrating all your content into a traditional CMS may seem like the obvious option, but migrating to a monolithic CMS can be very time-consuming and costly. On top of that, you still have to deal with its limited functionality. For your content teams to collaborate effectively, take advantage of the following:

Organizational Structure

The reason businesses develop silos is because they lack structure. Although there are many ways it can occur, it's usually due to a lack of communication or conflict among management. When you factor in the lack of resources and inadequate time, it becomes clear why. The more the culture becomes entrenched, the more difficult it will be to get rid of it. 

However, rigid structures can adversely impact productivity. You should take steps to understand and acknowledge the ways a silo mentality can hinder productivity. To do that, 

  • Build a transparent and inclusive culture where everyone is respected and open about sharing ideas. 
  • Organize events to drive ideas and foster communication among content authors and other teams in the organization
  • Use collaboration tools such as Trello, Slack, Zoom, and Google Meet to facilitate effective communication
  • Schedule meetings with defined agendas, review the effectiveness of meetings, and adjust
  • Team members should share calendars, allowing them to empathize with someone's busy day.
  • For successful content creation and production, create a unified with measurable metrics and achievable targets.

Headless CMS

A headless CMS is a frontend-agnostic, backend-only CMS that can serve as a central content repository for all types of content, and for all types of delivery channels. By centralizing content access and management, it simplifies operations. Yes, it may be time-consuming or costly, but you’ll minimize the risk of content silos and have the flexibility to address a wide range of consumer needs.

Innovative enterprises will take their headless CMS architecture a step further, and implement one that is based on a Git-based repository, which breaks down the silos between content teams and IT development and operations teams. A Git-based CMS like Crafter supports a centralized content management approach, sophisticated content versioning, branching, and auditing, in addition to full support for CI/CD/CP (Continuous Integration, Delivery, and Publishing).

Develop a Business Taxonomy

Organizations can increase productivity by standardizing descriptions and structures of content. In the same way, customers can benefit from a consistent and engaging digital experience, with improved findability. By leveraging this, you can significantly lessen the challenges faced in managing content.

Enterprise Search

The use of search capabilities on content silos is a great way to locate and address duplicate content and findability issues. As an alternative to dispersing content across multiple systems, this solution allows organizations to remain in control of their current systems. 

With an enterprise-level search, you don’t need to not migrate or manage content across multiple systems. To increase productivity and expose inconsistencies, organizations need streamlined and intuitive search experiences. Modern tools like Elasticsearch provide robust enterprise search capabilities, and some CMSs natively integrate Elasticsearch into their platforms.

DevContentOps-friendly CMS

With DevContentOps, you can align the workflows, tools, technologies, and processes of content authors, developers, and IT operations to facilitate seamless collaboration among organization teams. 

Rather than burden operations with managing and updating code and content, content can transition from production to the lower environments with no content freezes or interruptions. Teams can produce small batches of work, using CI/CD pipelines and tools to automate their processes. By taking advantage of a DevContentOps-friendly CMS, you will innovate faster and rapidly deliver content-rich customer experiences.

Put Collaboration First and Eliminate Silos

In certain respects, the existence of silos within an organization is somewhat inevitable. After all, every team has its responsibilities and skills. By addressing content silos within your organization, you will create content faster, enable content reuse, improve organizational culture, and deliver better digital experiences. That’s why it’s important to prioritize the processes, technologies, and tools for collaboration among content authors, operations, and developer teams within the organization.

In that regard, DevContentOps addresses these issues effectively by enabling content authors to collaborate effectively through a headless CMS that supports sophisticated content authoring needs, in addition to enterprise search, DevOps, and developer productivity.