Organizing, Storing, and Protecting Data and Content
I did not have a system to organize and protect my content and data, and I had an employee that quit and turned in her computer to me. However, she had cleared her computer and deleted every single file. We had paid so much money to develop massive amounts of files, but she deleted it all and I lost all of the data, tens of thousands of dollars of files that I had paid her to create.
This employee had every right to do that because it was my job to create a system to safely store and protect our content.
Scott occasionally works as a contractor, and he often has to sign non-disclosure agreements or things of that nature that say he’ll manage that content and give it back to them; it’s their intellectual property. When they make him sign those agreements, he often asks, “What process do you have in place to back this up in case something happens to me?”
We need to engineer our content as an operational part of our business, instead of a tangential part, an afterthought, or a necessary evil as it is often seen. When software developers create a new product it is going to need content to go with it.
“[Content] gets caught in the trap of a necessary expense, instead of an opportunity to make revenue,” Scott said. When someone has a bad experience with an existing product and they go to look for a new one, they’re going to Google the things that were wrong with the first one: Is this difficult to install? Is it challenging to use? Does the company have a good knowledge center for questions?
Each of these questions is an opportunity for us to create content that not only answers the question, but also shows them that our company is organized, we have all the information in one place, it’s available in whatever language, it’s available on whatever device, etc. Our content can solve lots of problems for our customers.
We can use what Scott calls content operations or content ops to operationalize content and make it part of our everyday routine by documenting it, governing it, and making sure it performs in the way we want.
Do We Have Access and Control?
Scott said we need to be able to answer yes to this question: “Can the company deploy, or put to work, the information you pay people to create or curate from others for any reason today?”
We need to have immediate access to our information. It shouldn’t be on someone’s computer that we don’t have because they’re on vacation. We need to plan for when someone is on vacation or when they quit.
This isn’t just a security problem, it’s also a productivity and efficiency problem. The larger the company, the more variables we have to keep track of. “Those things will have to be managed as well, and they need to be managed in a repeatable systematic way. They can’t [rely on] the employee or the contractor that’s the best person because he or she knows how to do it better than you and I do; . . . it can’t rest on them.”
If someone left their job at McDonald’s for a better opportunity, McDonald’s can drop a new person in that role immediately. They have a process. They won’t say, “The previous cashier used to do it differently so we don’t know how to do it.” That wouldn’t be acceptable, and it shouldn’t be acceptable with content either.
Do We Have Real Backups?
We also need to plan for when a hacker or virus deletes all of our information.
I helped a friend of mine buy a domain name. He mortgaged his house to build this company and launch a website. He wasn’t worried about hackers because he was paying Dell to do backups. However he didn’t realize that Dell goes in every day and they overwrite the previous day’s backup with the new day’s backups. So, when a hacker got in and deleted the website files, Dell overrode his backup with nothing. His backup had nothing and his site had nothing. He lost his whole business overnight because a hacker deleted his content.
There are people out there who can have malicious intent and may want to put a company out of business by deleting all of their content. It is important to have backups, real updated backups.
Sometimes a password isn’t strong enough to protect against hackers. We may consider hiring a content specialist to help us with security and what we want our content to be able to do.
In one of my previous businesses, a hacker came in and deleted my website. The backup we thought we had didn’t have all the data in it, and a lot of the stuff was really old, more than six months old. So, we lost a lot of the new stuff. Even though we think we have a backup, we probably don’t have what we think we have, so we need to double check our back ups to ensure we’re ready if something unexpected happens.
Scott’s best monetization strategy is to rely on other people to help him make his money. For example, as a thought leader, Scott could charge people to listen to him. But he could also bring together 45 other thought leaders and charge people to listen to them.
As the person who put that together, he gets credibility; people have the perception that he’s good at what he does because he coordinates everything. He also has a higher quality service that he’s selling because it isn’t just his expertise.
Scott published a book called The Language of Content Strategy. Scott invited 52 experts to define one term related to content strategy and explain why somebody would need to know what that term means. They each had a couple sentences for the definition and 250 words for the explanation.
Scott gathered the content and published them on the web once a week for a year. He put them together in the book. He published the terms as a set of flash cards. He could also publish a set of cards for the contributors with their names on one side and their stats on the other, like baseball cards. The book and all this other material then had 52 people that would share and promote it.
Internal and External Credibility Marketing
We need to focus on both the internal and external sides of credibility marketing.
Scott said, “Inside of companies, it’s important to find the people who are good storytellers, who are good at being authentic and less about repeating the company line. What we need are people who are believable, who will be able to relate to the actual customers that we’re trying to attract or maintain. . . . We need to sound authentic inside.”
While getting a YouTuber who loves our product to make a video about it is a good strategy, it isn’t enough. We have to be transparent. We have to tell stories. We have to be authentic.
Externally, if we bring in an expert, they’ll talk about the best practices for X. This is good, but what’s more believable and authentic is what not to do, the 10 mistakes we made that you shouldn’t.
We shouldn’t shy away from our mistakes. We’re all human and we all make mistakes every day. We shouldn’t pretend we’re perfect because everyone knows we’re not.
Thank you so much Scott for sharing your stories and insights with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- We need to know what process we have in place to back our content up in case something unexpected happens.
- We can use content operations or content ops to put content into use and make it part of our everyday routine by documenting it and governing it and making sure it performs in the way we want.
- We need to be able to answer yes to this question: Can the company deploy, or put to work, the information you pay people to create or curate from others for any reason today?
- Even though we think we have a backup, we probably don’t have what we think we have, so we need to double check our back ups to ensure we’re prepared for anything.
- We can gather contributors to make content, gain credibility, and create a higher quality product.
- We need to focus on both the internal and external sides of credibility marketing.
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