I was wondering how many different answers I would get if I asked 20 people - ‘What is content management?’ I am absolutely certain that many responses would imply the changing of content on a website from one version of static information to the next, a bit like printing next year’s brochure. This is understandable, given the way many view their websites, but it grossly underestimates what a successful website can do for your business. One huge advantage of a website over printed material is that it can react immediately to any change in your company’s position. It can only do this if you have control over the content on a day to day basis.
I propose this is a an answer to my own question - ‘Content management is editing, developing and generating content so that your website keeps pace with your organisation’s needs.’ If we accept that customers buy goods and services in response to a perceived need then keeping in touch with that perception of need is going to be crucial to maintaining sales, particularly in difficult times. An obvious example would be that selling luxury items must be pretty tricky at the moment, so companies everywhere are trying to react to changing attitudes. Do you change your products? Do you change the emphasis of your sales approach?
You may have been selling a product on its time-saving benefits or its ease of use, knowing that customers had the money to spend on making their lives, or their employees’ lives, easier. You know that saving time and even making peoples’ lives easier ultimately saves money but now you need to convince your customers so everything about your sales language will change. Changes like this do not happen over night and if your website is going to perform for you it needs to change with you.
Once you have decided your approach you have, as always, a list of things which need to happen to reflect the new approach no matter how subtle that change is. This is why large companies find it so difficult to react to fast changing circumstances. Whether your website is your front line sales medium or there to back up your sales team, it is crucial that it accurately reflects your current thinking. Real control over your content where you can make changes in real time allows you do this.
After a meeting at which you decide, for example, to adjust prices, change the emphasis from one range of products or services to another and offer a number of special deals, it is immediately clear what must be done. The question is, how long will it take?
Printing takes time, postage is expensive and cannot be done until the printing is done, most forms of printed advertising are extremely expensive and less and less effective. With the Internet and with a genuine content management system you can change your website that same morning and email your database of customers to alert them to your new approach.
When I first worked with a company that realised generating business on the web was its only future, we had huge problems with content management. The same old story of waiting for changes and changes to changes, the expense and more important the cost to efficiency and the lack of control.
I did not even know that content management by the ‘lay’ person was possible. Once I did, I needed no persuading. The benefits to our organisation were obvious. Just think! If every time you got a reaction to your marketing material that you agreed with, you could immediately adjust it, how much advantage would that bring? That is before we talk about all the other ways in which a dynamic website can help you to communicate with your customers.