What is content ops, anyway?


The content world is ever progressing. As content strategy grows into a mature discipline, there’s an important and growing connection between content strategy and operations – Content operations (ContentOps). Operationalising your organisation’s content assets is a much-needed development for professionals across the content spectrum. Why?


You can turn a content strategy into an operational model

As any content manager or senior practitioner with a role that involves creating an operational model in their organisations can tell you, turning a content strategy into content operations is paramount to executing the strategy.


So what is an operational model? 

An operational model, if you go to Wikipedia, is about how an organization actually runs itself. Wikipedia gets very meta describing what is essentially an abstraction of a visualization that represents the organisation. But it’s really about how an organisation operates.

If you talk to strategy folks, they express it slightly differently. They talk about behaviour, workflow and processes, and process design in a way that lets you meet business objectives.

An operational model is how you configure the organization to deliver its strategy. This is all well and good, because it assumes there’s a strategy you are going to configure, and that that configuration is then going to turn itself into some sort of operational model.


Operational model examples

DevOps, software development operations, is a good example of a working operational model because we’re probably all familiar with DevOps. It’s a methodology that can shorten systems development life cycles. It’s all about doing things more efficiently, in this case, so you can do it in a shorter period of time. They advocate automation and monitoring all the rote tasks.

ResearchOps, are very specific about reducing inefficiencies and scalability, repeating processes, repeatable processes, ready-to-apply methods. They also encourage cross functional team participation. This is part of how research and user research operationalises.

DesignOps talk about doing their craft using methods and processes with minimal friction, in other words more efficiently. This is starting to become a bit of a repeating theme.


What are the fundamental components that go into content operations?

If we look at the commonality across all these models, we have some explicit and implicit common themes going on: 

  • reducing inefficiencies
  • getting rid of the waste
  • automating whenever possible
  • creating repeatable processes
  • scaling up outputs
  • monitoring results and perform analytics to gain insights

Content, of course, is different. It’s messy. It’s nonlinear. A content lifecycle is maybe a bit more convoluted than what we see in, say, finance. But the whole point of strategising it is to make it operational at the organisation level. This requires a tailored operational model too. There’s a lot to learn – we’re just getting started.

An introduction to content operations

This self-paced video workshop presents the core principles of content operations and guides you to apply them to the content you need to operationalise.

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