Content—it’s at the heart the publishing industry. It can mean the difference between success and failure. So it comes as a surprise that once this content has been created, managed and shared, it often gets lost.

In Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she urges us to pare down our belongings so we feel more inspired. Taking the concept of a tidy sock drawer to a whole new level, publishers are starting to look at ways they can apply the Tidying Up theory to what they do – how can they tidy up their content.

Assuming an average salary of $80,000 across 1,000 employees who each spend 2.5 hours a day searching for lost content, the cost would be $25 million a year in wasted time.

A new breed of content management solutions and software promises to take publishers to new realms of content tidiness. According to research conducted by the Radicati Group, the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) market will grow to more than $9.4 billion by 2018.

In a recent podcast, my colleague Carl Robinson from Ixxus explained just how important it is for publishers to promote a positive content management culture. Here’s his take on the situation:

Less is more

As publishers know, the combination of looming deadlines and the importance of the bottom line means that the idea of managing content has stepped into the limelight.

Look at where content currently resides, and it’s easy to see why it is hard to manage. It’s on our hard-drives in databases and spreadsheets, and it’s split across laptops. Put simply, it’s a mess. It’s time for publishers to act smart about what they do with content, to turn the chaos into calm.

Where are publishers going wrong?

When you lose something at home, how long does it take you to find it? Car keys, remote controls, and phone chargers—all have a habit of going missing, and it can be frustrating hunting them down. However, replace those items with misplaced content, and it’s more than just annoying; it means lost time and lost productivity for the business.

For some publishers it’s quicker to repurchase photos, for example, than to search through the thousands of pictures they already have. Clearly, that’s a waste ripe for remedy.

According to a study by the International Data Corporation, the amount of lost time and effort in searching for unindexed content is costing businesses more than they would like to admit. Assuming an average salary of $80,000 across 1,000 employees who each spend 2.5 hours a day searching for lost content, the cost would be $25 million a year in wasted time.

Reclaiming content

The only way to stop people from losing content is to keep it in one place. Once you have a system, the next step is ensuring users understand how and where they can use specific items of content. Where is it? What can I do with it? What rights are attached to it?

With the answers to these questions just a click away, the need to repurchase content disappears. And all of a sudden, publishers are able to create new value from content they’ve already got.

It’s content consumption, but not as we know it

The way we consume content has changed radically over the years. And that’s not a bad thing. However, the publishing industry runs into trouble when it tries to look at books through a digital lens.
Publishers need to start thinking outside the book by commissioning content and thinking about how layout might later constrain the reuse of that content. Users want to consume content in different ways, and publishers need to enable that consumption.

The smarter the publishing industry becomes about how content is to be used, now and in the future, the more mileage it can get from every piece of content. It’s about being format agnostic, adding value to content by organizing and granularizing it. It’s time to ditch the book mindset and exchange it for a content management mindset. It’s time to have a holistic attitude to content.

Adding value through enrichment

The way to add real value to content is through metadata, essentially decorating content with information. We’re talking about data that goes beyond a date, but relates to location, descriptions, copyright and anything else that will help future users find something they never knew they were looking for. Users can look into content through its metadata and pull out content based on specific details.

People, processes and technology

The digital transformation that people are seeking will never happen without the right tools and mindset. Instead of solving a problem by increasing the resource, publishers need to change the way they manage and commission content. They also need to ensure maximum traceability by securing that content through logins and processes.

If we can help change the mindset and the way our clients work, then they can be smart and agile with their content. We want to remove the nonsense, most notably spreadsheet management. We want to let publishers do what they do best, act as content curators.

Author: Matt Pedersen

Matt Pedersen is the Director of Rightsholder Relations, where he runs the account management program for CCC’s publishing partners. Prior to CCC, Matt was Director of Corporate Sales for Elsevier’s Science and Technology Books. Matt majored in theatrical arts, and put his education to good use as a costumed museum interpreter at Plimoth Plantation. 
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