Your company has a website. And a digital camera. And e-mail. And Word. People in your company can take pictures, edit websites, make brochures. They regularly do.
Your employees create and publish content. That's this month's topic. (Plus a bonus topic about an upcoming Google change.)
Surprise! You're a publisher.
You certainly have other things to do, like selling, making and delivering, but in 2013, you or your employees also publish. It wasn't always like this. In the past, fewer people were involved in publishing corporate materials. In 2013, lots of employees can and do "publish".
First, that's a good thing. Employees can tailor anything to their purposes, their audiences.
Second, that's still a good thing because of the flexibility it gives your company.
Third, there is a pitfall: disorganized content of varying or marginal quality.
Content – What Your Company Publishes
You're a publisher, so your company has content. It's in the form of:
- written text, product descriptions, company history
- product lists, prices, specifications
New to the Internet Age: Content for SEO
Accuracy and "rightness" have always been important. With your website, there's a new issue: search optimization.
Content for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is beyond the scope of this newsletter, but I want to mention that the "right" content for your website has even greater importance. It influences your search rankings. It's not the only factor, but it's significant. The current mantra in the SEO world is "Content is King", yet another motivation to pay some attention to your company's content.
Tips for Managing Content
Your company has content. That's the point. If I raise awareness of that idea alone, I'm successful with this newsletter.
- Who makes your content?
- Where is your content stored and archived?
- Is it up to date?
- Can employees find the "right" and "accurate" content when they need it?
- In a single question: Does your company have a handle on the content you publish?
Generally, the bigger your company, the more you'll have to keep up with content. Smaller companies can get by with less management control; after all, management and owners are often creating and publishing the content.
That said, I'll leave you with some tips for managing your content.
Prioritize Your Content
Decide which content you need to control, and which you can leave up to employees. Keep approved versions of important content readily available for designated employees to copy and publish. Things like:
- Company History
- Management Biographies
- Product Photos and Drawings
- Staff Photos
- Product Descriptions
- Price Lists
- Any critical content
Designate a Person or Department and a Place
Designate a person to keep approved content readily available. This person should keep the most current approved content and should keep an archive of all previously approved versions.
Designate a directory or network drive where your content files are stored. Regularly back up those files.
Use a File Naming Template
Use a file naming template for your approved content, and include version numbers. As files and versions build up over time, standardized file names are a big help. Here's one I suggest.
For a small company, this might seem overly meticulous, but in one year, even small companies have multiple versions of multiple files. Bigger companies have even more multiple versions of more files.
A simple file naming format is an easy habit for keeping and finding approved versions of content.
Make Approved Content Easily Available to Employees
If employees can quickly find your approved content, they're more likely to use it.
- Create a place on your network where employees can get approved content.
If you don't have a company network,
- Create a hidden directory on your website where employees can get approved content.
- Use Google Docs or another file storage service.
If needed, put the approved content in a password protected place.
Google Link Spam Filter is Changing
Updates to Google Penguin, the link-spam filter Google uses, is coming in the next few weeks. On May 10, Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google, tweeted that the update is coming.
If you depend on links to boost your rankings, keep a watch on your visitor stats and rankings. You might see a change. If you've been spammy with your links it might hurt you. If you have authoritative, high-quality links, you can hope for an improvement as spammy-link sites disappear from the rankings.
Info on the internet now is speculative. Watch your rankings and stats over the next few weeks.