Content management, it’s in the eye of the beholder

The other day a professional service person (who acknowledged that he was just learning about online marketing in general) asked me what was meant by the term “content management.” Thinking with my writer-editor hat on, I promptly responded that content management was similar to editorial management. One creates an editorial plan or communication plan, determines topics and develops a schedule. The content is, of course, is intended to inform, advise and persuade target audiences. In essence, I described content management from a journalistic viewpoint. It’s not an incorrect description, but it occurred to me later that my description of content management probably wasn’t the best answer for this person.

Content Management System

A couple of explanations may have been better. As a student of online marketing, he may have been inquiring about content management in regard to content management systems (CMS).  If so, I should have talked a bit about the technology that exists to hold and distribute information. You know, the fact that a traditional and generally static HTML site is different than a website built with a database driven content management system. I could have mentioned the ongoing trend of creating dynamic sites that allow organizations to easily and continually add content and functionality (like an image gallery or a an ecommerce shopping cart).  I think many still people don’t understand the important technical differences between a Dreamweaver/HTML website and one built on WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or other CMS platform. Maybe that’s what he was asking.

Outbound Marketing

The other possibility is that my acquaintance was inquiring about content management marketing, also known as online marketing or inbound marketing. The folks at Hubspot do such a nice job of explaining the concept using the term inbound marketing in a simple sentence. They say, “Inbound marketing is marketing focused on getting found by customers.” This is opposed to outbound marketing, such as cold-calling, print advertising, television/radio advertising, direct mail and trade shows. In my own words, “Inbound marketing is making it easy for people looking for information and perhaps a solution, to find you and your solution via the Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines.” And when they find you, much of selling process has been completed. A qualified buyer has found a resource that they believe to be reliable and capable, and have made the first move.  Believe you me, it’s great to get that phone call or email from someone that has already qualified you and themselves! Maybe that’s what he wanted to better understand, this whole marketing concept that seems to taking the world by storm.

Moral to the story

So, what did I learn from all this? What’s the moral to the story? I think the lesson here is pretty basic. When asked a question, don’t assume you have to answer it right away and to the fullest extent possible. Even if your intentions are good, you may learn more if you leave a little silence and see if the other person has more to say. Or before you answer, try asking an intelligent, probing question or two. Then you might get the full story and really be able to help the other person. I know I’ve learned this lesson before, I guess sometimes you have to relearn old lessons!

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