Own your content. And keep grizzly bears at bay.

The best way to properly take care of your content is to give it an owner. With ownership comes responsibility. With responsibility comes reward. That reward? Content that helps you achieve your business goals.

An example of ownership: my dad’s truck

My dad takes meticulous care of his truck. He changes the oil on a regular basis and performs regular tune-ups.  He keeps an ear out for funny sounds that the engine might be making. He washes it. All of the time.

He needs to do this because he depends on it. It does the work he asks it to do—hauling things, towing things, etc.

It’s also a source of leisure for him. Every fall, he puts a truck camper on the back and goes far out West for a couple of weeks with my mom.

Not only is this truck getting them from one place to another, but it’s also serving as their lodging whilst in the mountains where the deer and antelope play.

If he were to neglect that truck, ignore regular servicing, and pay no mind to its proper operation, he and Mom may end up stranded on some mountain pass with a wild grizzly bear. (See dramatization in photo above.)
His mindful ownership minimizes that risk.

Content needs ownership

Now, keep in mind, things can be owned—and not cared for. This often leads to less-than-stellar (or even catastrophic) results. I’ve seen it happen with trucks. We sometimes see it with content.

Organizations are beginning to recognize the need for useful, usable content that will help them accomplish their business goals.

But, what they often fail to recognize is the need for staff resources and processes, which are required for the responsible ownership of that content. Or, they assign ownership to the content, but don’t tie ownership to website goals.

These organizations don’t look beyond that very instant the “publish” button is pushed. They might even think (and say) things like:

  • “The web is like a filing cabinet that never gets full.”
  • “Someone might look for that content, so keep it on the site.”
  • “Just get the content up there, we’ll deal with it later.”
  • “We’ll have an intern keep an eye on the content.”
  • “We haven’t touched it since 1999.”

Without ownership, and the maintenance and monitoring that go with it, content suffers. Goals become much harder to accomplish. Which puts us perilously close to having our content stranded on a proverbial mountain pass, with the grizzly bear of ineptitude pacing outside.

Have your content serviced every 3,000 miles

The best content owners do far more than just ensuring content makes it to the website. Regular service intervals apply to both Dad’s truck AND effective content.

Mindful content owners make a regularly scheduled habit of:

  • Monitoring content performance against goals and benchmarks
  • Ensuring ongoing relevance of content to business goals
  • Verifying  the accuracy of content
  • Maintaining usefulness and usability of content for those using it

Content (or truck) owners acting as good stewards will be able to use their content (or trucks) to do what their goals demand. People visiting their websites will be instructed and entertained, and they will accomplish tasks. Or take vacations with truck campers. Without fear of grizzly bears.

(This post originally appeared on the Brain Traffic blog.)

(Truck image from Dad, incorporating bear image from Flickr user tiredofh2o (CC: by-nc-sa 2.0))

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