With New York Fashion Week upon us, Bryant Park has been overtaken by Rebecca Minkoff, Marc Jacobs, LaQuan Smith, Helen Yarmak, and other stylish tastemakers, followers, and upstarts. The fashionistas will introduce new looks, inspired by personal stories, geopolitics, prevailing philosophies, and access to materials—some even creating new categories.
100 or so blocks south of the runway, we are also creating a new category (and strutting about on the engineering catwalk, so to speak), too. It’s called Content Lifecycle Management (CLM).
What is CLM?
The idea behind CLM is that today’s brands communicate to their audiences across multiple channels, and they do this with content. Content begins as an idea. Then, it’s developed; formatted; refined; shared, broadcast, or published; and then a decision has to be made: save it, change it, do more of it, or scrap it. This journey from inception to decision is effectively the content lifecycle.
Why is the content lifecycle important?
In brief, because the content lifecycle impacts the whole organization. Content is typically created by an individual operating in a silo, i.e., a particular business unit or department, but then it gets reviewed, evolved, and reacted to by multiple internal and external stakeholders. This provides ample opportunities for bottlenecks and breakdowns, among other challenges, which is why we believe a holistic solution like RubyApps is uniquely positioned to expedite and improve this process.
In order to consider the areas of opportunity for RubyApps along the content lifecycle, let’s explore the discrete phases of content’s journey.
What are the phases of the content lifecycle?
Create—Content first begins as an idea and then it has to be developed. This may begin with an individual drafting a document and then sharing it with team members for review and/or approval. It may require a creative tool, like an Adobe application; it may require a digital asset management system to locate and place a graphic; it may require an authoring tool, like a Microsoft or Google application, or even Ceros for experiential content; or, it may simply reside in an email or chat message. Whatever format it takes and whatever environment in which it’s created, there are pain points that can slow and even derail the creative process.
Manage—Once the content is developed it must live somewhere in which it can easily be located, edited further, multiplied or divided into different versions, and shared with key stakeholders for approval, publication, and launch. Box, Dropbox, Google, and even Microsoft Azure are terrific options for storage, and even for collaboration and certain types of workflows. Some organizations, though, prohibit the use of these platforms from reasons ranging from security to data privacy concerns to a general aversion to cloud computing that is still pervasive in some sectors.
Deliver—We tend to think of most publishing tools as channel specific. For instance, social publishing platforms like Hootsuite push snackable content out to social media networks; content management systems push digital content out to websites; and email marketing platforms push email campaigns out into the inboxes of people on lists. For many of these, the creation and management of content happens within them, and then authors and editors must publish content channel by channel, adding each one incrementally to comprise an omnichannel strategy. There’s a lot to manage between channels, and plenty of room for inconsistencies, dropped balls, and other obstacles.
Analyze—Today’s executives lean on data more than ever before to make strategic, informed decisions. Business intelligence tools, replete with analytics, dashboards, and visualizations, provide insight into how marketing and sales initiatives are performing—on the web, social media, in email inboxes, and elsewhere. So what are the weaknesses here? Frankly, many of these tools are top class. But, many require that you view them in their respective platforms and they don’t allow analysts to view other data (from other channels) within them. They also frequently require significant training and more advanced technical knowledge to provide the insights you require. So, there’s some time lost cobbling together SEO reports and website traffic, for instance, and conjoining them manually to get a broader perspective.
Isn’t there an abundant supply of content tools in the marketplace?
Yes, there are a burgeoning number of tools to create, manage, deliver, and analyze content. There are content management systems, digital asset management systems, content marketing platforms, collaboration tools, business intelligence tools, and there are many good ones out there. But, none can seamlessly support the entirety of the content lifecycle, which is rife with friction and fragmentation—especially when an organization deals in high volume content.
How does RubyApps differentiate itself from the rest of the pack?
Beyond being a dapper and fashionable solution for many of the world’s professional services firms, as well as the hopeful choice of Brandon Maxwell, Staud, and Tory Burch “it-bag” carriers, RubyApps is an end-to-end solution that gives content workers a singular and integratable tool, residing at the center of the marketing technology stack, with which to shepherd content along its lifecycle.
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