Tips for Easing Into Content Management

You may have a long-term goal to implement a component content management system (CCMS) and structured authoring, but you may only have the staff and budget to dip your toe in and wade slowly through the shallow end rather than to plunge into the deep end all at once. Is it possible to break the implementation down into manageable steps?

To incrementally implement a content management strategy, you can begin to get your ducks in a row prior to working in a CCMS. Then, to ease into the new process, you can use some CCMS features even before all your content is ready. Here’s how:

Start changing mindsets.

When moving to structured authoring and a CCMS, one of the toughest challenges is changing the way writers work. To get them to start thinking in terms of a “structure,” set up styles for unstructured content in your documents (e.g., H1, H2, Numbered List, etc.) and train writers to consistently apply these styles as they write new content. As an added benefit, these styles can also be used to make the conversion process to XML cleaner, easier, and cheaper.

Start big in the database.

You can install the CCMS and begin to use its features with your unstructured documents. Load files of content (MSWord, unstructured FrameMaker, etc) and begin using the CCMS as a document management repository. Use features such as workflow to manage the processes that need to take place on the documents and versioning to track all the historical versions of the documents.

Gradually go granular.

As you get the resources, start to convert active content into XML components and begin working modularly. Now, you will really see the benefits of content reuse in the CCMS as you drill down into the details of your content.

Maintain a mix.

Keep files of legacy content stored as documents in the CCMS along with your XML content. Now, all of your structured and unstructured content is stored in one place for easy retrieval. To save costs, convert pieces of legacy content as needed. If you convert everything to XML, you may find you spent a whole lot of money converting content you’ll never need again.

Call us at 717-764-9720 or visit our website for help in getting started with your content management strategy.