Forgive the cheesy title, but yes I gave a presentation at the Technology for Marketing and Advertising (TfMA) show last week where I talked about the place of content and in web or digital engagement. Or as marketing put it in the show guide synopsis:  “The importance of good content management and governance as a platform for engaging your website visitors”

I promised at the end of the presentation to post my slides on Slideshare and indeed I have as you can see below. The problem with my slides is that I talk – a lot – and not all the points are in the slides, so I thought I ought to flesh it out a bit.

I try and bring the thing to life with personal experiences – on the ‘back channel’ of one of our events someone referred to me as ‘the king of analogies’ – is that good?

Anyway – in this case I talked about web engagement being like buying a suit (yes, I’ve done this before and you might have read about this in a guest post I did for CMSWire).

The story I tell is of walking into a suit shop – the guy in the store taking a look at you, guessing your size and taking you to the right part of the rail (possibly paying you a compliment along the way) and as we subtly move to suits that would really fit – he asks a question “What’s the suit for?”

He suggests a suit, we talk about the colour, the style and begins to compare my reaction to one suit or another. Eventually we hit on the perfect suit, it’s not on the rail it’s “out back” and he disappears, returning with a flourish and a sale (of a suit that is probably more than I wanted to spend).

The sale is great, but he’s also learn’t something about a customer like me – next time he might be able to narrow down to the requirements quicker or if he hadn’t made a sale that he needed to stock a certain kind of suit or maybe there is a big wedding in town.

The point I try to make is that this is analogous to a visitor coming to your site and the relationship we should have. The way they arrive, the search terms they have used, their first few clicks, their behaviour, we should use multi-variant A/B testing to compare those reactions – to learn what they want and equally we should understand our content well enough to match it to those interests. The same way that the suit guy knew what he had ‘out back’.

This understanding of our objectives and the audience, feeds our content strategy – what content do we need? The presentation builds on this premise, you need to understand your audience and have a large canon of well understood, relevant and fresh content for your visitor to consume – delivered to the channel, social media platform or website of their choice.

To build that content repository you need to get closer to the folks with the knowledge, the people that your visitors want to talk to (not necessarily sales and marketing) in order to be persuaded, engaged, communicated with – maybe even sold to.

Adoption into your web content strategy by “Information Knowedge Management Professionals” as Forrester refers to them – the interesting people that really know stuff – will be a key success measurement of your digital engagement strategy.

A super sexy website on launch day one is going to be worthless  if in 6 , 12 or 18 months it’s barren of content or if you are unable to react to your market or the needs of your audience. The same of course is true if you embark on a social media engagement strategy, not just a website – they need to be nourished with a reliable stream of fresh content.

These folks don’t give a stuff about the high principals of content management, they want to use tools they are familiar with or tools they can easily adopt.  But… “easy to use” isn’t just it. I promised to talk about governance and as you can see in the slides – I refer to this as an enabling  environment, of building trust, of devolved approval – who needs more bottlenecks? Who can spend a week going through a process to respond to a tweet?

Anyway, if you were there – hope you enjoyed the presentation – otherwise the event was videoed by the event people, so maybe at some later point I can add a link.

Updated 7th April 2010: Here is the video from the event, but they don’t show the slides!!