Motorcycle Wisdom and the Art of Content Publishing

Switch to “floodlight vision” to make content publishing a smoother and faster ride.

Lee Parks’s book Take Control: High Performance Street Riding Techniques is one of my standbys for all things motorcycling — and as I think about it lately, it may just become one of my favorite sources of business wisdom as well. Just bear with me here.

Parks discusses the difference between spotlight vision (a small area with high detail) and floodlight vision (a large area with less detail), observing that it’s all too easy to neglect the latter. We’re wired to focus in on a single point at a time — “to analyze the world by breaking it into micro-sized bits.” And that’s not a bad thing: spotlight vision helped our ancestors hunt; it’s critical for night riding; and, in business, it’s necessary for responding to immediate, tactical challenges.

Moving fast, it’s intuitive to rely on the spotlight; but there are plenty of problems a hyper-targeted perspective can’t solve. When we limit our field of vision in this way, Park says, “we often run into the very thing we were trying to avoid” — whether it’s a patch of gravel in the road or, for my clients, a content publishing issue like a costly platform fix or an overwhelming volume spike.

Switching over to floodlight vision takes your sight (and thinking) wider and farther down the road, illuminating previously unseen patterns, risks and solutions. It “gives your brain more time to make decisions,” dramatically expanding what would otherwise be a microscopic view of a business challenge.

These are three spotlight-induced content publishing pitfalls I see over and over — and how turning on the floodlight makes for smoother, more secure and faster ride.

Publishing Pitfall #1: Seeing Software as the Cure-All

What They’re Seeing

A lauded, powerful, and probably expensive content publishing platform that looks like an all-encompassing solution. It’s purchased, customized, and ready to go — all that’s left, they think, is to push the button and watch the magic happen.

What They’re Not

Without the right people and processes in place, your new platform will almost undoubtedly let you down. Jumping into a new technology before establishing the surrounding workflows, documentation, governance and team results in ad hoc workarounds, inconsistencies, and, ultimately, an unsustainable model.

The Floodlight View

Software is just one supplement to the overall health of your content publishing operations — not a panacea. No platform can operate well in a vacuum; only a hands-on strategy will make it work, and keep it working.

Publishing Pitfall #2: Relying on In-House Employees to Publish Content

What They’re Seeing

A stack of content publishing tasks, a short timeline to complete them, and a fast, easy solution: handing the process over to in-house employees (or even just one person). After all, according to the platform vendor, anyone can take on this plug-and-play role. Even if your staff has zero content publishing experience, and even if they specialize in more conceptual work, they’re here — and they’ll get the job done just fine.

What They’re Not

Already busy and focused on their own areas of expertise, existing employees aren’t always the best fits for this work. Don’t believe the vendor’s hype: successful content publishing demands a unique skill set and a deep understanding of highly specialized tools and tasks. Ultimately, relying on the wrong people leads to delays and errors — and often, the high cost of paying high-level creative talent to perform routine tasks.

The Floodlight View

Aligning skill-to-task and task-to-cost are by far the most important keys to effective content publishing. Leave this work to a dedicated team of CMS specialists, and you’ll make sure that you’re enlisting (and paying) the right people for the right roles.

Publishing Pitfall #3: Reacting to Volume Changes Rather Than Anticipating Them

What They’re Seeing

Seemingly random fluctuations in content production volume that catch the company off-guard — stretching internal resources thin and compromising content quality.

What They’re Not

When they’re lost in the weeds, companies can miss the opportunity to piece together the different factors — such as seasonality, consumer trends and special events — that influence their content production workload.

The Floodlight View

Shift from a reactive to a proactive strategy: step back, take a breath, and take the time to make important and actionable connections. An expert analysis can help you develop an evergreen strategy that allows you adjust quickly and easily to changes in volume.

To Sum It Up…

Parks knows that getting used to floodlight vision can be a challenge; but in my experience, it pays off every time. “Widening your viewing area certainly takes practice,” he says, “but the further ahead you look in a turn, the better off you will be.”

That’s why I work with companies to help broaden their strategies, empowering them to prepare for what’s coming up next month, next year, and way, way, beyond. Why stop with what’s around the next bend? Let’s try to see the curve of the earth.