Assessing your organisation’s content maturity (webinar takeaways)

Assessing your organisation’s content maturity (webinar takeaways)

Assessing your organisation’s content maturity (webinar takeaways)

Assessing your organisation’s content maturity (webinar takeaways)

Paige Toomes

Copywriter and Digital Marketer

Tracy Playle, CEO and Chief Content Strategist at PickleJar Communications recently did a webinar with us on assessing your organisation's content maturity. This article is a summary of the key takeaways.

While the webinar is useful for anyone wanting to level-up their content operations, this webinar is also organised in partnership ContentEd, which is a conference specifically designed for content professionals in the higher education sector.

In the session, Tracy goes through a brilliant framework she has developed for assessing the maturity of your organisation's approach to planning, creating and managing content.

Key framework: 10 pillars of content maturity

This framework covers things organisations are doing well from a content operations and content strategy perspective. What are the factors at play that set an organisation apart from the rest? What can you look to when you are assessing your own organisation? Here are the 10 pillars:

  1. Strategy and vision
  2. Leadership and accountability
  3. Knowing your audience
  4. Outputs, structures, efficiencies
  5. Assessment and evaluation
  6. Collaboration and practice
  7. Risk-tolerance and creativity
  8. Resource and investment
  9. Skills and know-how
  10. Training and development

The webinar is a shorter version of a specialist self-assessment tool with detailed benchmarking criteria that Tracy has also developed. You can use this to get a sense of where your organisation is in relation to each of the ten pillars.

Strategy and vision

Does your organisation have a unified, well-articulated and comprehensive approach to creating a vision for how we are going to create, plan, maintain, report on, and measure content?

Is understanding about content strategy in its broadest sense, and information management... or is it about content marketing strategy? The latter is a totally valid piece, but it’s not the whole piece of content strategy.

Here is a definition of content strategy, and what different levels of maturity look like:

The different boxes show how aligned a content strategy is with the business. Is it narrow and limited? Or is it broad across the organisation and supporting goals? Does it just look at the substance of the content, or is it about structure and content engineering as well?

Leadership and accountability

This is the second pillar. With this, what we are really looking to is clarity around ownership of content in an organisation. And what role does leadership play in the conversations around content? Are they advocates of it? Here’s what we see in low, medium and high performing organisations:

Knowing your audience

This should be valued highly in any organisation. It’s about research, insight, empathy and relatability. We are looking here for not just how well you know your audience, but how you go about finding out this information. Here are four key areas or layers:

  1. Access →  Knowledge about channels and platforms that they prefer to use and access information, and how they use them.
  2. Information → Knowledge about their information needs specific to your organisation
  3. Emotion → insights about their personality traits, behaviours, values and motivations that drive decisions they make.
  4. Influence → Insights into influencers and influences on them, barriers and distractions competing for their time and attention.

Here are the different levels of maturity for knowing your audience:

Outputs, structures, efficiencies

This is where we get into the realm of content engineering, but it sometimes gives people a headache in terms of understanding this. What we are really looking to here is - do you have the things in place to make content efficient, accurate, adaptable, and re-usable? It’s helpful to think of content as being made from blocks to assemble. It’s thinking about content as data fields.

Here are different levels of maturity for this pillar. It’s worth saying, I have never assessed an organisation that has come out strong on this one:

Assessment and evaluation

Here we are looking at measurement, reinvention, constancy and reporting on content. Are you measuring the content? Or are you just measuring things like page views? Whereas measuring the content itself might be looking at something like time spent on the page. Here is what different levels of maturity look like for assessment and evaluation:

Good testing looks at things like:

  • Comprehension. Does the audience correctly understand the content?
  • Findability. Can the audience easily find the content?
  • Task completion. Is the reader able to complete their task after reading this?
  • User satisfaction. What satisfaction levels are reported for this content?
  • Impression. What impression does this piece of content give the user?
  • Retention. How long does the audience stay with the content?
  • Call to action. Is there a clear call to action, does the user complete it?
  • Accessibility. How well does this content meet accessibility standards?
  • Readability. What readability score does this piece of content have?
  • Inclusivity. Does the user believe that this content is designed for them?  
  • Deliver to promise. Does the content deliver what it promises to deliver?
  • Scannability. How easy is it to find answers when skim reading?  

Collaboration and practice

The next pillar is about collaboration in content development. This includes stakeholder engagement, structures for working with others.

ContentEd Live also has an online course on working powerfully with internal stakeholders — understanding them, knowing them, involving them, and creating win-win relationships.

Here are things you can consider when assessing your maturity.


Risk-tolerance and creativity

This is about the willingness to step into something new, and support from leadership. How willing is an organisation to fail forward, take risks and make mistakes? What risk tolerance and creativity really looks at is the culture of the organisation. Here’s how different organisations perform:


Resource and investment

This is about how well-resourced is your content and content strategy? Content teams and structures, budgets, partnerships and support. The resource is there for things like:

  • Insights
  • Strategy
  • Editorial planning
  • Content creation
  • Auditing
  • Maintenance
  • Systems
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Promotion
  • Training
  • Compliance

Here’s where different organisations sit on the scale:

Skills and know-how

This is about existing skills, content team roles and capabilities within your organisation. In this section, we are looking to see if these particular skills exist either in-house, and are they being invested in and developed? Or are they commissioned? These can include:

  • Audience research
  • Strategic alignment
  • Strategy and planning
  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Consultation
  • Workshop design
  • UX design
  • Content design
  • Content creation
  • Content testing
  • Asset management
  • Content modelling
  • Training
  • Pair writing
  • Interface design
  • Journey mapping
  • Taxonomy design
  • Governance
  • Workflow
  • SEO and IA
  • Promotion
  • Content auditing
  • Metadata and semantic mark-up
  • Brand and style

Here is where different organisations might sit on the scale:


Training and development

This is this final pillar of content maturity. This is about how strategic investment in new skill development and sharing knowledge with others is. This isn’t just about occasionally paying to have a workshop or training. It’s about really getting strategic with your skills development.

The way that you train somebody who has high capability and low confidence, is different from somebody who has low capability but high confidence. And it’s important to understand the differences and tailor training to different needs.

Here are the criteria for maturity in this area:

Watch the webinar on-demand


Access the full on-demand webinar to follow along with the slides and do a self-assessment of your organisation's content maturity.

Tracy also does a full version of this assessment for organisations wanting to diagnose and improve their content strategy and content operations. You can find out more about this by contacting her via the information on the slide above, or in the bio on the on-demand webinar page.

Tracy Playle, CEO and Chief Content Strategist at PickleJar Communications recently did a webinar with us on assessing your organisation's content maturity. This article is a summary of the key takeaways.

While the webinar is useful for anyone wanting to level-up their content operations, this webinar is also organised in partnership ContentEd, which is a conference specifically designed for content professionals in the higher education sector.

In the session, Tracy goes through a brilliant framework she has developed for assessing the maturity of your organisation's approach to planning, creating and managing content.

Key framework: 10 pillars of content maturity

This framework covers things organisations are doing well from a content operations and content strategy perspective. What are the factors at play that set an organisation apart from the rest? What can you look to when you are assessing your own organisation? Here are the 10 pillars:

  1. Strategy and vision
  2. Leadership and accountability
  3. Knowing your audience
  4. Outputs, structures, efficiencies
  5. Assessment and evaluation
  6. Collaboration and practice
  7. Risk-tolerance and creativity
  8. Resource and investment
  9. Skills and know-how
  10. Training and development

The webinar is a shorter version of a specialist self-assessment tool with detailed benchmarking criteria that Tracy has also developed. You can use this to get a sense of where your organisation is in relation to each of the ten pillars.

Strategy and vision

Does your organisation have a unified, well-articulated and comprehensive approach to creating a vision for how we are going to create, plan, maintain, report on, and measure content?

Is understanding about content strategy in its broadest sense, and information management... or is it about content marketing strategy? The latter is a totally valid piece, but it’s not the whole piece of content strategy.

Here is a definition of content strategy, and what different levels of maturity look like:

The different boxes show how aligned a content strategy is with the business. Is it narrow and limited? Or is it broad across the organisation and supporting goals? Does it just look at the substance of the content, or is it about structure and content engineering as well?

Leadership and accountability

This is the second pillar. With this, what we are really looking to is clarity around ownership of content in an organisation. And what role does leadership play in the conversations around content? Are they advocates of it? Here’s what we see in low, medium and high performing organisations:

Knowing your audience

This should be valued highly in any organisation. It’s about research, insight, empathy and relatability. We are looking here for not just how well you know your audience, but how you go about finding out this information. Here are four key areas or layers:

  1. Access →  Knowledge about channels and platforms that they prefer to use and access information, and how they use them.
  2. Information → Knowledge about their information needs specific to your organisation
  3. Emotion → insights about their personality traits, behaviours, values and motivations that drive decisions they make.
  4. Influence → Insights into influencers and influences on them, barriers and distractions competing for their time and attention.

Here are the different levels of maturity for knowing your audience:

Outputs, structures, efficiencies

This is where we get into the realm of content engineering, but it sometimes gives people a headache in terms of understanding this. What we are really looking to here is - do you have the things in place to make content efficient, accurate, adaptable, and re-usable? It’s helpful to think of content as being made from blocks to assemble. It’s thinking about content as data fields.

Here are different levels of maturity for this pillar. It’s worth saying, I have never assessed an organisation that has come out strong on this one:

Assessment and evaluation

Here we are looking at measurement, reinvention, constancy and reporting on content. Are you measuring the content? Or are you just measuring things like page views? Whereas measuring the content itself might be looking at something like time spent on the page. Here is what different levels of maturity look like for assessment and evaluation:

Good testing looks at things like:

  • Comprehension. Does the audience correctly understand the content?
  • Findability. Can the audience easily find the content?
  • Task completion. Is the reader able to complete their task after reading this?
  • User satisfaction. What satisfaction levels are reported for this content?
  • Impression. What impression does this piece of content give the user?
  • Retention. How long does the audience stay with the content?
  • Call to action. Is there a clear call to action, does the user complete it?
  • Accessibility. How well does this content meet accessibility standards?
  • Readability. What readability score does this piece of content have?
  • Inclusivity. Does the user believe that this content is designed for them?  
  • Deliver to promise. Does the content deliver what it promises to deliver?
  • Scannability. How easy is it to find answers when skim reading?  

Collaboration and practice

The next pillar is about collaboration in content development. This includes stakeholder engagement, structures for working with others.

ContentEd Live also has an online course on working powerfully with internal stakeholders — understanding them, knowing them, involving them, and creating win-win relationships.

Here are things you can consider when assessing your maturity.


Risk-tolerance and creativity

This is about the willingness to step into something new, and support from leadership. How willing is an organisation to fail forward, take risks and make mistakes? What risk tolerance and creativity really looks at is the culture of the organisation. Here’s how different organisations perform:


Resource and investment

This is about how well-resourced is your content and content strategy? Content teams and structures, budgets, partnerships and support. The resource is there for things like:

  • Insights
  • Strategy
  • Editorial planning
  • Content creation
  • Auditing
  • Maintenance
  • Systems
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Promotion
  • Training
  • Compliance

Here’s where different organisations sit on the scale:

Skills and know-how

This is about existing skills, content team roles and capabilities within your organisation. In this section, we are looking to see if these particular skills exist either in-house, and are they being invested in and developed? Or are they commissioned? These can include:

  • Audience research
  • Strategic alignment
  • Strategy and planning
  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Consultation
  • Workshop design
  • UX design
  • Content design
  • Content creation
  • Content testing
  • Asset management
  • Content modelling
  • Training
  • Pair writing
  • Interface design
  • Journey mapping
  • Taxonomy design
  • Governance
  • Workflow
  • SEO and IA
  • Promotion
  • Content auditing
  • Metadata and semantic mark-up
  • Brand and style

Here is where different organisations might sit on the scale:


Training and development

This is this final pillar of content maturity. This is about how strategic investment in new skill development and sharing knowledge with others is. This isn’t just about occasionally paying to have a workshop or training. It’s about really getting strategic with your skills development.

The way that you train somebody who has high capability and low confidence, is different from somebody who has low capability but high confidence. And it’s important to understand the differences and tailor training to different needs.

Here are the criteria for maturity in this area:

Watch the webinar on-demand


Access the full on-demand webinar to follow along with the slides and do a self-assessment of your organisation's content maturity.

Tracy also does a full version of this assessment for organisations wanting to diagnose and improve their content strategy and content operations. You can find out more about this by contacting her via the information on the slide above, or in the bio on the on-demand webinar page.

Webinar Recording

Assessing your organisation's content maturity

Watch this webinar and learn ten factors that create a thriving environment for content success, from the strategy to attitudes to risk, systems and more.

June 30, 2020

4:00 pm

Register now

Webinar Recording

Assessing your organisation's content maturity

Watch this webinar and learn ten factors that create a thriving environment for content success, from the strategy to attitudes to risk, systems and more.

June 30, 2020

4:00 pm

Watch now
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About the author

Paige Toomes

Paige is an English Literature and Media graduate from Newcastle University, and over the last three years has built up a career in SEO-driven copywriting for tech companies. She has written for Microsoft, Symantec and LinkedIn, as well as other SaaS companies and IT consulting firms. With an audience-focused approach to content, Paige handles the lifecycle from creation through to measurement, supporting businesses with their content operations.

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