How does your organization make content decisions? Is it a haphazard approach in response to the latest happenings? Are blog posts published infrequently without any rhyme or reason? In that case, your content maturity might not be as advanced as it should be.
Content is the key driver of today’s digital world, and you need a mature content strategy in place if you want to keep your organization on track. Content marketing provides tremendous ROI for any organization, and understanding your content maturity level can help increase that ROI tenfold. But what exactly is a content maturity model, and what are the benefits of having one?
What Is a Content Maturity Model?
A content maturity model is a way to measure what drives content decisions within an organization and the state of the content-related processes, standards, and metrics. Essentially a content maturity model is a plan. According to Kate Parish, CMO at Onilab, an eCommerce web development company, a content maturity model “answers how businesses may combine strategy and technology to master content production and delivery across the organization.”
Once you have the model in place, your organization can assess the state that it’s at and understand what needs to be done to move the business forward. People, processes, and systems are all coordinated efficiently.
The origins of a content maturity model stem from Gartner’s adaptation of the Capability Maturity Model, which the Software Engineering Institute created to develop and refine software development processes. The maturity model is meant for businesses to address their content marketing capabilities across people, processes, tactics, and technology. Gartner divided their CMM into five levels, explaining what that might entail and some tips on how to advance to the next stage.
Level 1: Experimental
Here a content strategy may be non-existent, and content gets published randomly and infrequently.
Level 2: Tactical
A small content team may lead marketing efforts with erratic results since workflows and publishing are manual and inefficient.
Level 3: Operational
Organizations leverage customer personas, map journeys, and publish content to multiple channels. However, data is siloed, and that can limit growth.
Level 4: Amplified
Planning and workflows are used to improve processes, and relevant and personalized content is published. Customer insights are used to improve results.
Level 5: Differentiated
Here content is recognized as a key component of the organization’s strategy and a means of differentiation from competitors. Personalized content is used throughout the customer journey, and data is used to drive innovation.
Content Maturity Model Benefits
Having a content maturity model can be quite beneficial for any organization that chooses to utilize it. Here are some advantages you can gain from implementing one:
Focused Content Efforts
Some organizations struggle with unfocused content publishing and creation. Creation is sporadic rather than having a plan and identifying key areas where content can help drive the organization forward. Parish explains that with a content maturity model, “the creation of more deliberate and customer-centric content and the content receives a more regular investment.”
Today’s customers are much savvier than before, and they know when content doesn’t have their best interests at heart. With the right maturity model, it’s possible to focus content on their needs while having the support of the organization with a better budget.
See Exactly Where You Are
A content maturity model can help your content team understand where they are in your industry food chain. Are you currently producing the type of content that your customers want? Or are you struggling to keep up with more well-positioned competitors?
Paula Glynn, Director of Search Marketing & Digital Strategy of Pixelstorm explains that a content maturity model “allows you to analyze the current stage of your online experience and compare it to where you want to go with easy-to-understand criteria and provide valuable benchmarks along the way.” Once you have a roadmap to where you need to go on your content journey, you can start improving your content marketing strategy and delivery and reap the benefits that content has to offer.
Understand the Value of Content
One of the reasons that some companies don’t emphasize their content budget is that they can’t see the value it provides for the entire organization. A content maturity model can fix this problem. “Companies can understand the value of the content they produce regularly,” says Chirayu Akotiya, Director, Product & Growth, Leena AI.
A content maturity model gives a company perspective on how content can generate value and a return on the initial investment. “It helps separate the organizational functions, set improvement goals and priorities, guide qualitative methods, and provide a benchmark for assessing the current outcome of processes. It helps a company generate its tangible business value,” Akotiya adds.
What Content Maturity Looks Like In Practice
So we’ve explained the content maturity model and the benefits of having one. But what does that look like in practice with today’s digital experiences? We’ve broken it down into three levels. Here’s how your content maturity may look in practice, especially as you consider the role of the CMS.
At this stage, you have a website with different forms of customer and partner-facing content. However, your digital content and assets live on various platforms, and your content team can only publish your content via a web content management system that focuses on website content. These types of legacy CMS platforms may fit that basic purpose but will also turn up lacking when it comes to the types of modern experiences customers expect from large organizations.
At the basic level, there is no infrastructure in place for your content team to personalize content for multiple audiences or even to publish content on other channels like mobile apps, Alexa assistants, AR/VR, e-commerce front-ends, digital signage, smart TVs and other digital channels.
Here, your company recognizes that the number of channels at their disposal all require content, and lots of it. The content team has a place to store your content and assets, and your developers have built a place for you to write and publish content also. At the advanced level, you’ve recognized the need and have the necessary technology to publish content to various channels. Usually, this means you have access to a headless CMS.
However, the one drawback is that you can’t preview content experiences on all channels, easily build personalized experiences with various personas and drag/drop tools, optimize SEO, or sometimes even edit existing content easily. Marketers have to rely on development teams to help you launch landing pages and different forms of content for the various channels or personas. While this is a positive step in the right direction, it doesn’t meet the full requirements of today’s modern experiences.
At the scale stage, all content and assets are located in one place. It’s easy to break down content into granular pieces and put content into the form of blocks or modules. Breaking content down into bite-sized pieces like this increases content modularity and allows you to mix and match modules and promote content reusability.
Whereas those at the basic level may be struggling with their legacy CMS platforms, or the marketers at advanced companies still need to ask their developers for assistance in getting content to multiple channels, your CMS gives you the tools you need to write, preview and edit content without relying on developers.
Content can be created for multiple channels and personas, but it can also be localized to meet the needs of different regions or geographic locations that don’t speak your primary language. Plus, personalization is at the heart of content efforts with improved targeting and tagging capabilities based on specific customer personas. As Russ Danner, VP of Customer Success at Crafter Software says, "Today's content teams need best-in-class content authoring tools combined with modern API-first, headless development capabilities."
How DevContentOps Impacts Content Maturity
At the Scale stage of the content maturity model, your content team has the capabilities to communicate and collaborate effectively with developers, who can create the dynamic and personalized delivery of your content. This makes you a prime candidate for adopting a DevContentOps culture and process. While content marketing and the content maturity model are the concerns of the content team, and given the number of channels on offer today and the growing complexity of content management, developers play a critical role in increasing your content maturity level.
With DevContentOps, content and code may move back and forth to/from production and lower DevOps environments without interrupting content authoring. This is done seamlessly and helps your development team quickly create new features and experiences in line with marketing campaigns and goals. In today’s multichannel environment, those experiences must be delivered using the latest content available, something that is facilitated with the DevContentOps approach.
A content maturity model can help your organization position itself at the forefront of the digital experience, no matter your starting point. The key is to recognize that it provides a roadmap to get you from one phase to the next and provides the benefits of focusing your content efforts and helping others within your organization understand the value of content.