Why Your Company Needs a Content Curator (and wtf that means)

By Owen Frivold

Managing file libraries. Tagging your internal content and assets. Ensuring that your data remains clean and well-organized. These tasks are not as simple and straightforward as they may sound.

As digital marketing moves increasingly toward the creation of customer experiences with highly targeted or personalized content, it’s never been more important to ensure that your assets are properly tagged and stored. In our work with multinational corporations we’ve found it requires a new role: the content curator.

Appointing a content curator within your organization can solve three global pain points:

  • Internal organization & governance across all marketing channels
  • Easier insights from analytics and optimization, leading to…
  • More effective content personalization

A specialist who understands the importance of structured content, information architecture, and content strategy will tailor content to specific contexts, and become as invaluable an asset as every piece of collateral he or she oversees.

What does a content curator do?

A content curator at a high level is a mix of business analyst, information architect, and librarian. A programmer or project manager will understand and be able to execute aspects of the position. But in an ideal world, the person you’ll appoint (or hire) as your content curator is someone who understands everything from business analytics to project management. Global content specialists with advanced degrees in media management or library sciences intuitively understand the role of a content curator and how to help you execute a personalized, detailed strategy.

The need for a global curator role has become abundantly clear on a variety of HERO Digital projects, throughout client training and handover to ensure that the “clean” data and rules for assets input on day 1 continue with the addition of new assets into the system.

The following skill sets and responsibilities are recommended for this role:

Skill sets

  1. Business Analysis
  2. Information Architecture
  3. Project Management
  4. Influence and consensus building skills to align stakeholders
  5. Broad domain knowledge of the brand, its customers, its offerings, and its industry

Role Responsibilities

  1. System Administration & Expertise
  2. Content Curator

a. Gatekeeper

i. Best Practices Governance/Training

ii. Reporting (performance, system and program health)

It’s not just about tracking content changes, but also about ensuring that content can be appropriately served up in different contexts. Some assets may carry over from one department to another, for example, or be useful in a variety of campaigns. Others may be tailored to specific audiences, whether it’s a software developer or a chief technology officer. Being able to think and manage thoughtfully involves considering both backend system management as well as your organization’s front-facing content needs.

The case (study) for hiring a content curator

Recently, a global consumer electronics company needed our help with one such case. A massive conglomerate, with 30+ offices around the globe, the company needed staff to be able to easily access assets across content management systems and international teams.

Over many years of growth and product campaigns, no single person at the company had overseen content management basics. Tags were inconsistent. Source files weren’t stored in a reliable, organized way. As a result, designers were spending a large amount of time recreating assets that already existed. The design team knew the content was in the system. They simply had no way to find it.

This is a larger problem than it might appear at first glance, especially for a big company. When a team is spending that kind of time (or money) duplicating work, the costs to the organization add up quickly. Over time, what seems like a few minute details can end up dramatically impacting the bottom line with many precious hours wasted on needless, repetitive tasks.

We helped this particular company design and implement a system to avoid similar situations in the future. Relying on our own information architects, we created a detailed, easy-to-understand global tag taxonomy and baked it into a new, Adobe Assets (DAM) system with custom workflows. Anyone adding content can now, for example, only choose from specific, pre-set tags, which will help prevent lost assets and mislabeled files.

Many organizations need a taxonomy specialist to solve these issues before they ever become problems. A content curator can help an organization evaluate which technology solutions will best suit the company and manage the implementation process. That person can also train other employees on how to use new systems and tools, as well as re-evaluate the system from time to time to ensure it is meeting the organization’s needs as the company grows or changes direction.

Perhaps even more crucial, once a chosen system is in place, a content curator needs to be the ultimate enforcer, keeping employees from going rogue by monitoring how they use and interact with the system. In essence, you need a content specialist, file manager, and a people manager in one.

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