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Content Operations

Understanding ContentOps – Definitions and resources

Robert Mills • 2 minutes

If your business publishes content, it has some form of content operations, or ContentOps.

That’s because content cannot be planned, produced and delivered without the three core components of ContentOps present – people, process and infrastructure.

ContentOps Venn Diagram

Even if there isn’t a well assembled content team, processes are legacy ones and unsophisticated, and the technology may not be the best tool(s) for the job, it is a content operation none the less. But what do we mean when we say, ContentOps? It’s something we have been thinking and writing about a lot at GatherContent recently, we are a Content Operations Platform after all. We’ve also been talking to other experts about what ContentOps means to them and trying to find other meanings to this term that is relevant to all businesses but perhaps not yet clear to them what it really means.

Defining ContentOps

At GatherContent, our current working definition of ContentOps is:

“ContentOps is the people, process and infrastructure that are required across an organisation allowing them to organise, manage and produce effective content, repeatably and at scale. ContentOps comes after you have defined your content strategy and before you deliver content to your audience.”

GatherContent The Content Operations Platform

Whilst we expect that to be refined as we develop our thinking into ContentOps, it works for us at the moment and is also in-line with some additional definitions from our esteemed content friends and experts:

“Content Operations is concerned with everything between Content Strategy and Content Management. Any form of content manipulation and analysis would be managed by a Content Operations process.”

Deane Barker Chief Strategy Officer, Blend Interactive

This is one of the first references of ContentOps we can find online and is provided by Deane Barker who is the author of Web Content Management. Deane’s definition comes from perhaps a more technical perspective than our own, but so necessarily references the space between content strategy and content management, or delivery. ContentOps is what fills that gap.

“A content operation is the set of processes, people and technologies for strategically planning, producing, distributing and analysing content. When properly implemented, it unifies the customer experience across all departments and channels and allows marketers to focus on authentic, resonant messaging that drives revenue and growth.”

Paralee Walls Director of Content, Kapost

Kapost have done a lot of work researching and communicating the idea and the value of deliberate ContentOps. Whilst the definition is understandably more biased towards their audience (marketers) and the related customer experience. It does still reference several valid components of ContentOps though, such as distribution and analysis of content, along with the benefits and outcomes such as growth.

“Content Operations is the behind-the-scenes work of managing content activities as effectively and efficiently as possible. Today, content operations often require a mix of elements related to people, process and technology.”

Colleen Jones Head of Content, Mailchimp

Colleen’s definition is taken from her recent book, The Content Advantage, so is very much a representation of her recent thinking on the topic. It is a really inclusive definition by focusing equally on people, process and technology, and it doesn’t specify a particular type of content such as marketing content. It’s a holistic view that makes it clear a lot of what ContentOps is about actually happens behind the scenes of an organisation.

“ContentOps is a set of principles that results in methodologies intended to optimise production of content, and allow organisations to scale their operations, whilst ensuring high quality in a continuous delivery pipeline, to allow for the leveraging of content as business assets to meet intended goals.”

Rahel Bailie Chief Knowledge Officer, Scroll

Rahel recently shared her own definition during one of our community webinars she presented, Principles not Prescriptions: The coming of age of ContentOps. The key is in the title here, principles, not prescriptions. Rahel rightly makes this distinction because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to ContentOps. You cannot prescribed a cookie-cutter process, or insist on the same people being involved, or expect every organisation to use the same technology. Rather, businesses should understand the principles of ContentOps and apply and adapt them as needed for optimum efficiency within their own situation and context.

Keen to learn more about ContentOps?

We’ve been producing and curating a series of resources focused on ContentOps, from what it is through to examples and implementation. Check out these resources if you want to learn more about ContentOps:

Understanding ContentOps – Definitions and resources

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About the Author

Robert Mills

Content Strategist, GatherContent

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