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How to make friends with your content manager
“For a start-up, it might be as small as a document outlining the basic services and a couple of staff photos. However, most projects require a lot more than this. The typical business will have a range of marketing collateral, branding documents, product brochures, photos, privacy policies, log-ins to various social media networks, etc.”
Imagine that your organisation just hired an agency to help with brand strategy, web design or social media marketing. Congratulations! Now all you have to do is kick back and wait for the results, right? Unfortunately, no.
There's still one hurdle left to get over before the responsibility is out of your hands. I'm talking about the c-word.
Often, barely mentioning the c-word leaves managers with an empty look in their eyes and sweat beads trickling down their temples.
I am, of course, referring to Content. Every organisation has it, almost no organisation has full control over its whereabouts.
Some of it might be online, in the cloud, while some sits on your company's server. Perhaps parts of your company's data only exists on paper while visual content lives on your graphic designer's desktop, or even worse, on a memory card inside a camera (which, in turn, is locked in a cupboard on a different floor).
Do's and don'ts
So when your new agency approaches you with the question: "How soon can you organise and deliver all relevant content?", here are some things you should not
Panicinside and suggest that 24-48 hours should be sufficient.
- Lose your temper and blame staff, past and present, for not having used a better filing system.
- Ignore the request entirely and hope it goes away.
Here's what you should
Takea deep breath.
- Be honest about your current content situation.
- Draft a plan of attack.
Death, taxes and content management
In our work, we rarely come across a project that doesn't involve some form of content delivery on behalf of the client. For a start-up, it might be as small as a document outlining the basic services and a couple of staff photos. However, most projects require a lot more than this.
The typical business will have a range of marketing collateral, branding documents, product brochures, photos, privacy policies, log-ins to various social media networks, etc.
If the sheer volume of content available is overwhelming, simply ask the content manager at your agency what they need. Chances are they know, roughly, what they're after.
When the time comes to deliver, here are five tips to help make the process as painless as possible for everyone involved.
Five steps to content management success
Don't be a drip-feeder
Drip-feeding content is perhaps the safest route to making yourself unpopular with your content manager. Not only is it a waste of the agency's time having to revise or scrap a strategy as new information comes through, but having to keep track of what you've already sent is likely to lead to double work for you too.
The solution is simple. Gather all the information and send or upload it all at once. (Sometimes adding content later in the process is unavoidable. Just remember to communicate this to your agency as soon as possible.)
Use one platform
Once you're ready to deliver your content, remember to do so using one platform or delivery system. Personally, I'm a big fan of Dropbox. The drag and drop function and clean interface make it easy to use, even for the less tech savvy clients. The desktop application also allows for fast access.
Shared folders mean that all involved parties can see what's been delivered so far, and content is much less likely to get lost along the way.
If you have content in a range of different formats, please consider sharing the format that is easiest to work with. For example, when it comes to logos, graphic designers often prefer vectors, while copywriters love text delivered as Word documents.
Ask your content manager if you're unsure of the preferred format.
Structure, structure, structure
When it comes to structuring content, the humble folders are your best friends. Use them often and name them properly.
Rather over share than under deliver
Whilst that brochure from ten years ago might look dated, it could hold information about your company that's worth its weight in gold to a copywriter. If you're unsure if something is useful or not, it doesn't hurt to share it.