Did you know that 60% of the content created by leading brands becomes “just clutter,” having little impact on consumers’ lives or business results? That’s a pretty alarming statistic for content marketers, right? (Source: Brandminds)

But don’t worry, there is a way to avoid this content waste and make your content more effective and efficient. It’s called content lifecycle management (CLM).

Content lifecycle management can be defined as the process of planning, creating, optimizing, organizing, distributing, measuring and preserving content throughout its lifetime. That is, from conceiving the idea to publishing it and monitoring its performance. CLM bridges the content strategy to business objectives and ultimately aids in meeting your customer needs as well.

However, managing CLM involves many challenges and pain points. The most prominent ones are accidental creation of content silos, asset duplication, brand asset inconsistency, content staleness, etc. That’s why you need a powerful digital asset management (DAM) solution to help you with all stages of CLM.

In this blog post, we will explain what CLM is, why it is important, what are the stages of CLM and what are the best practices for each stage. We will also show you how ImageKit’s DAM capabilities can help you manage your content lifecycle effectively.

So, if you want to learn how to get the most out of your content and avoid the clutter trap, read on!

Stage 1: Planning

The first stage of CLM is planning. This is where you define your content goals, strategies, personas, topics, formats, channels, etc. Planning is crucial for ensuring that your content is aligned with your business objectives and customer needs and consistent and coherent across different platforms and audiences.

Some of the best practices for planning content effectively are:

Conduct a content audit

A content audit is a systematic analysis of your existing content assets, such as their quantity, quality, performance, relevance, etc. It will help you identify your content’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the gaps and opportunities for improvement.

Align content with business objectives and customer needs

Your content should support your business goals, such as increasing brand awareness, generating leads, driving sales, etc. At the same time it should be capable of addressing customer needs, their pain points, challenges, desires, etc.

Create a content calendar

A content calendar is a document that outlines the details of your content production and distribution, such as the topics, formats, channels, deadlines, responsibilities, etc. it helps turn the content strategy into a time-based, goal-based calendar that will give visibility about the short-term activities. It helps you stay organized and accountable, and avoid missing deadlines or opportunities.

Stage 2: Contention production and scaling

Creation where you research, write, edit, design and optimize the content for different platforms and audiences. Further, once high-quality content creation process is sorted out, you must direct efforts towards scaling content production. Producing high-quality content at scale is perhaps one of the most common challenges that every business faces on a regular basis.

However, it is not without any respite. These best practices can help you scale your content production.

Use collaborative tools

Collaborative tools enable you to work with your team members or external contributors on the same content project without disrupting flow of information. In addition to streamlining communication, they can also quicken the feedback and approval processes, as well as avoid errors or conflicts.

Tools like Google Docs or Dropbox, etc. have been found to be ideal for creating and sharing content documents. For images you can count on image creation tools like Canva while tools like ImageKit aid in digital asset management.

Outsource wisely

There are several organizations that have the resources to perform all the functions on their own. Most often, they engage external agencies or service providers. Content creation is no exception to this practice.

Outsourcing your content production is a surefire way you save time, money and resources, as well as gain instant access to specialized skills or expertise. However, outsourcing is not without its own risks, such as quality issues, communication gaps or legal complications.

Therefore, you should outsource wisely by handpicking reliable service providers, setting clear expectations from the beginning, supplying them with brand content guidelines, and helping them progress and deliver results of your content projects.

Focus on quality over quantity

If you thought you can publish a fixed number of content regularly and achieve results, think again. It is always quality that trumps quantity. Quality over quantity is the principle of creating fewer but better content assets, rather than more but mediocre ones. It can help you improve your content performance, reputation and loyalty and avoid content fatigue or overload.

You can focus on quality over quantity by conducting thorough research, following best practices for writing and designing, proofreading and testing your content, and ensuring that your content adds value or solves a problem for your audience.

Stage 3: Organizing content systematically

When your content production is scaling new heights in terms of volume and variety, it becomes imperative to put in place a system of organizing the files. Without proper file organization, you will not be able to extract value out of your content. Also, poor file organization makes it difficult for everyone to locate files and use them, especially when it is a remote or hybrid working model.

With  proper content organization, you can reap several benefits like:

  • Saving time and resources by avoiding version duplication, design inconsistency, and content staleness.
  • Enhancing user experience by delivering relevant, personalized, and engaging content to the right audience at the right time.
  • Improving search engine ranking by optimizing the content for SEO-friendliness.
  • Increase ROI and conversion by measuring and improving the content’s impact and effectiveness on the business goals.

But how to organize assets efficiently? Try these methods:

  • Store the content in a cloud-based digital asset management system that can handle different formats, sizes, and versions of the content.
  • Ensure proper categorization and classification of assets using metadata, tags, keywords, and taxonomies.
  • Follow a term-wise folder structure, like a marketing folder structure dedicated to marketing assets.
  • Manage the content assets using tools and workflows that enable collaboration, approval, editing, and publishing of the content.

Stage 4: Publishing

All the content you create constantly needs to get published in the right channel through the right platform and at the right time. Publication is the stage where this happens. All the produced content is distributed, promoted and shared across various channels and platforms like website, blog, social media, email, etc.

Most often you might also want to optimize your content to make content compatible with these channels. For example, Instagram and YouTube have their own video file restrictions. It is necessary to decide the publishing destination and then optimize the content accordingly.

Some of the best practices for publishing content effectively are:

Choose the right channels and formats

Depending on your content goals, strategies and personas, you need to select the most suitable channels and formats for your content. For example, if your goal is to generate leads and create brand awareness, you might choose to publish your content on your website, email newsletters or social media platforms.

If your goal is to establish authority, you might choose to publish your content on industry publications, podcasts or webinars. You may also want to plan for image format conversion and and video format conversion to suit the channel where it is getting published.

Optimize your content for SEO and accessibility

To help your content reach its intended audience, you have to optimize it for SEO-friendliness. This requires optimizing the content with relevant keywords, writing persuasive headings, adding meta tags, alt texts, and captions, etc. All these inputs will enable the search bot to scan your content and rank it appropriately.

Further, you must also ensure that the content is compatible for all different devices and browsers. This is most important for images and videos that must be made responsive to adapt seamlessly to the user’s device.

Measure the performance and feedback of your content

Content performance is usually monitored using metrics such as traffic, views, clicks, shares, comments, likes, and conversions. Of course, depending on the type of content, these metrics will change as well.

For example, email will focus more on open rate, click-through-rate, and conversions than shares and comments.

Stage 5: Analyzing

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” said Peter Drucker once. It holds true for everything including content lifecycle management. If you do not analyze how your content is performing, how it is being used, and how it helps meet business objectives, all the efforts will be in vain.

There are several ways to analyze the content assets in content lifecycle management, depending on the goals and metrics you want to measure.

If you are keen on content quality, use readability tests, sentiment analysis, feedback surveys, and user testing. You can even use A/B testing to see which landing page copy or image helps maximize conversions.

Stage 6: Repurposing

Most businesses, once they have created an asset, leave it at that. Content in any form is never supposed to be a single-purpose asset. It should be converted into multiple formats and distributed across platforms to maximize its reach. This act of converting an existing content into multiple formats is referred to as content repurposing.

Choosing evergreen topics that have consistent interest and demand over time. Alternatively, you may also identify high-performing content that has proven to be valuable and engaging for your audience. Once content is identified, adapt your content to fit the new format and platform, following the best practices for SEO, accessibility, and usability.

For example, a blog can be converted into an infographic or a video to be distributed on social media.

Further, you can also refresh aging content by adding new information, insights, or perspectives. This applies specifically for time-sensitive content  like year-based studies, research, etc. Any update on this information requires an update for the content as well.

Best practices to master your Content lifecycle management

Now you know the various stages of the content lifecycle. Each stage has its own roles, responsibilities, and requirements. While it might be difficult to manage them all, it is still a doable task. These best practices will help you.

Define your content lifecycle stages and processes

Define each stage of your content lifecycle starting from conception, production, distribution, engagement, analysis, and archiving. Without this definition your content lifecycle cannot be determined adequately.

Identify and classify your content assets

This will help you organize and manage your content according to its attributes, such as topic, audience, purpose, channel, format, etc. Use metadata, tags, keywords, and taxonomies to identify and classify your content into format, type, purpose, etc. Asset classification will make it easier to find and use assets.

Invest in the right tools and technologies

Tools like digital asset management systems, content management systems, web analytics platforms, content marketing platforms, are must-haves in your content marketing toolkit. Spending on these tools are not expenses but investment to drive your content strategy forward.

Create a content calendar and a distribution strategy

Content production should work with clockwork precision. It should ensure that content is produced and published on a timely basis and not haphazardly. You need  editorial calendars, project management tools, social media schedulers, and similar tools to keep a tab on the timelines.

Optimize and update your content regularly

Remember, the shelf life of content is not finite. It is necessary to refresh it periodically to ensure that it continues to deliver value to your audience.  A/B testing, headline optimization, call-to-action optimization, are some of the favorite tools of content markers and they must help you as well.

How to manage CLM with a DAM system

During the course of this article, we touched upon several times why a Digital Asset Management system is necessary for efficient content lifecycle management. Without a DAm system, it could be difficult to manage assets which ultimately hampers your lifecycle management. Further, the absence of a DAM system could also mean that you will unnecessarily spend time and resources in searching or recreating assets.

ImageKit is a powerful DAM solution that can help with all stages of CLM by providing features such as digital asset storage, image optimization and transformation, CDN delivery, adaptive bitrate streaming for blogs and much more.

ImageKit can help extend the lifecycle of assets with repurposing by enabling easy modification and transformation of images on the fly with parameters such as crop, resize, rotate, filter, watermark, etc. This allows users to create different versions of the same image for different purposes and platforms without affecting the original quality or size of the image.

Sign up for the forever-free trial to know how ImageKit can make a difference to your content lifecycle management.