“Content is king.” We have heard this phrase many times before. With the advent of new content curation technologies in L&D, lots of organizations want to jump on the bandwagon and offer their learners the best possible experience through the newest gadgets. But before starting any curation efforts, we have to remember that good content is the foundation of all effective learning.
The Basics of a Content Strategy
Think of a content strategy as an inventory at a grocery store. Stores keep track of what is on their shelves and in the warehouse so they know exactly how many products they can sell. If they come close to products selling out, they order more. If a store doesn’t have inventory in place, how do they know when to order new products?
According to Kristina Halvorson, CEO and founder of Brain Traffic, content strategy is the “creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.” It lets you manage your content as a business asset. “Content” includes the content you write as well as images and multimedia. Ultimately, having an established content curation strategy helps create meaningful, engaging, and sustainable content and enables you to identify the right content at the right time for the right audience. You can easily recognize what content already exists, what should be created, and, more importantly, why it should be created. Leveraging data here is key to pinpointing what content is accessed the most and what content has hardly been touched.
Create a Content Strategy That Sticks
The best place to start is with what you already have in place. Most organizations have an abundance of content with no central repository or one person responsible for maintaining it. Get all stakeholders together, including instructional designers, facilitators, copywriters, and someone from marketing, and simply summarize what content already exists. Then, create a content strategy plan, which can be a simple Google or Excel sheet outlining, for example, content titles; descriptions; delivery channel; access data (how often, devices, time of day); responsibilities; tags; and maintenance cycle. This will help identify current gaps and show the additional content that is needed. When thinking about content creation, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. As a rule of thumb, create about 65% of content, curate 25%, and collaborate on 10%.
Next Step – Curate Content
First off, content curation in the traditional marketing sense is the process of sorting through large amounts of content on the web and presenting the best posts in a meaningful way. Curation is not creating new content but rather discovering, compiling, and sharing existing content. L&D departments don’t necessarily go out and use the entire web for their content curation purposes (although they might use tools such as Degreed); they often focus on in-house content.
The key to successful content curation lies in the learner’s ability to find appropriate content, which means that content needs to be properly tagged and organized in the first place. It’s our responsibility to sift through content, and group and categorize it. Categories could include onboarding, product training, etc. Then, the content is shared through online portals and platforms that can be accessed by the learner as needed.
The advantage of curation tools is the just-in-time delivery of content and the relevance it has to the learner. More and more, we see a need to move away from the traditional LMS toward a more robust platform that aligns with modern learners and their needs to access relevant content when and how they need it. However, before moving into that direction, ensure you have the basics in place, which will help to create a successful content curation strategy that makes a difference to your learners.