Content Maturity Explorer.

How mature are your content operations? Assess your level with the Content Maturity Explorer.

This is a self-assessment tool for digital publishers to gauge their content maturity in different areas. It contains nearly 200 questions divided into 9 themes and 33 focus areas for your team to consider.

How to use

  1. Click on a panel to look at theme and focus area within each theme. 
  2. After reviewing the questions, rate your organization’s maturity in that area from 1 to 5 by clicking on the round number. 
  3. You can see a visual summary of your ratings below the questions.

Content flexibility

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Content structuring and classification

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Ad hoc (1)

selective structuring and tagging of content

Enterprise-defined (5)

all types of content are defined by an enterprise content model

  1. What is the balance between unstructured and structured (modular) content across your organization?
  2. Are all types of content structured, or only some content types?
  3. Do all teams structure new types of content that are needed, or only some teams?
  4. Does your organization have a process to define and approve new content types as they are needed?
  5. Does your organization have an enterprise content model that’s used by all content teams, or are there different content models used in your organization?
  6. Does your organization maintain an enterprise taxonomy?
  7. Does your organization have a process to add and revise taxonomy terms on a regular basis?

Emerging channels (Bots, wearables, AR, IoT, etc.)

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Low priority (1)

not the focus for the business

Forward looking (5)

actively exploring opportunities to utilize emerging channels

  1. Does your organization assess emerging channels for relevance and opportunities?
  2. Does your organization pilot projects in emerging channels?
  3. To what extent does your organization plan how emerging channels can be incorporated into existing content production?

Internationalization and localization

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Limited (1)

done on as-needed basis

Well-developed process (5)

comprehensive activities

  1. To what extent does your organization use region-neutral plain language to support translation and localization?
  2. Does your organization minimize the need for translation of revisions by using structured content?
  3. Does your organization have a repeatable process to localize content to make it appropriate for specific markets?
  4. Has your organization defined an approach to use culturally appropriate assets?
  5. Does your organization standardize terms and formats to allow them to be adapted to locale-specific terms or data formats?
  6. Does your organization maintain a multi-lingual taxonomy?

Personalization

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Limited (1)

personalization is not a priority

Widespread personalization (5)

many kinds of content are adapted to individual needs

  1. To what extent does your organization provide widgets or interactive questionnaires to customers so they can tailor content to reflect their individual preferences?
  2. To what extent does your organization adapt content to match customer profile such as their status or relationship to your organization?
  3. To what extent does your organization allow customers to save preferences relating to content interests?
  4. Does your organization attempt to learn individual customer needs over time based on their prior behavior?

Content utilization

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Channel management

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Uncoordinated (1)

channel addressed in isolation without coordination

Highly orchestrated (5)

many channels addressed

  1. To what extent does your organization plan content for omnichannel distribution? Is content created with the needs of multiple channels in mind?
  2. To what extent is content contextualized for specific channel characteristics?
  3. When new content is published, are channels coordinated? For example, are Web content and email content coordinated? Is social media content prepared as part of web content?
  4. Do channels have owners who are responsible for optimizing visibility and engagement for respective channels?
  5. Is the selection and distribution of content done according to what channels are most appropriate?

Content discovery

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Funneled (1)

access to content is assumed to happen through a fixed pathway

Multi-access discovery (5)

every point of access is evaluated for opportunities to improve discovery of items

  1. Does your organization utilize a recommendation engine to promote related items?
  2. To what extent does your organization cross-promote related content items?
  3. Does your organization provide effective internal search and filtering capabilities for its content?
  4. To what extent does your organization optimize navigation and pathways through different content it publishes?
  5. How extensively does your organization use semantic markup?

Distribution strategy

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Rigid distribution (1)

most content distributed in one channel

Flexible distribution (5)

all content is ready for distribution across channels and promoted where most effective

  1. To what extent can your organization dynamically change the format of content (shifting between text, audio, and video, for example) or offer multiple formats simultaneously?
  2. Can your organization easily assemble and bundle existing content items into new products?
  3. Does your organization have a defined strategy and process to distribute or syndicate content across different channels (for example, podcasts or news releases)?
  4. Is content identified that requires promotion in search and on social media platforms?
  5. Does your organization have a defined process to promote content targeted at specific audience segments?
  6. Does your organization plan how to increase the reach of content and how long to promote it?
  7. Does your organization plan for how to use APIs to distribute content to other organizations and platforms?

Engagement optimization process

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Selective (1)

content optimization is not performed uniformly across your organization

Active (5)

a well-defined process actively optimizes the engagement of large volumes of published content

  1. To what extent does your organization have a defined process to improve the engagement of content that’s been published?
  2. Does your organization actively monitor the performance of content items?
  3. Do authors have access to tools such as dashboards or alerts to monitor their content performance?
  4. Does your organization conduct A/B testing or multi-variant testing of items?  Does your organization focus on optimization of page elements such as headlines or CTAs on individual web pages? Or does it focus on optimization of elements that appear widely on many web pages?
  5. Can authors easily access data on audience feedback and monitor task completion rates?
  6. Does your organization explore opportunities to simplify your content?

Customer focus

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Alignment of content with customer needs

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Low (1)

much content is created without input from customers

High (5)

most published content is focused on verified customer needs

  1. To what extent is your organization’s content focused on supporting known customer tasks?
  2. Does your organization research customer questions and needs before creating content?
  3. Does your organization verify that content is clear and complete to answer customer questions?
  4. Does your organization ensure that content is written in the customer’s own language and not in specialized jargon?
  5. Does your organization plan content around customer scenarios and journeys to decide what content is needed?
  6. Does your organization plan for how and why customers will come to the content and what they will want to do after viewing it?

Customer journey planning

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Generic (1)

not complete or grounded in customer research

End-to-end planning (5)

all scenarios and journeys covered

  1. Has your organization researched and documented key scenarios that prompt interest in content?
  2. Has your organization researched and documented scenario drivers and triggers (why need arose, what customers expect)?
  3. Has your organization researched and documented decision-making criteria influencing customer choices?
  4. Has your organization mapped and planned for potential entry or access points to content, such as how they discovered your website?
  5. Has your organization mapped conditional pathways through content with if/then logic?

Understanding of audience

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Loose (1)

writers use assumptions about audiences when creating content

Granular (5)

writers have access to detailed profiles of audience segments based on research

  1. Has your organization defined and documented personas for major audience segments it addresses in its content?
  2. To what extent do all authors have access to personas when creating content?  Are the same personas used across the whole organization?
  3. To what extent are personas informed by qualitative and quantitative user research such as search logs, analytics, user interviews, usability testing, customer feedback, and suggestions?
  4. Are personas mapped to key customer journeys?
  5. Does your organization have a process to define and research new personas and audience segments?

Editorial planning

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Brand and message consistency

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Uneven (1)

advice for writers is vague

Deliberate (5)

content is created according to well-defined guidelines so that it sounds consistent

  1. To what extent does your organization’s content have a distinct voice, style, and personality?
  2. Do customers perceive your organization’s content as having recognizable qualities?
  3. Does your organization have a style guide governing correct terminology and usage for the whole organization? Does terminology reflect the language of target readers?
  4. Do internal and external writers consult voice and tone guidelines when creating content?
  5. Does everyone in your enterprise follow the same writing guidelines?
  6. Has your organization developed messaging pillars or a message hierarchy?

Content reuse

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Low (1)

little content reuse

High (5)

content is reused widely

  1. Can writers locate existing content created by others so it can be reused?
  2. Is content sharable across different teams in your organization?
  3. Is content that needs to be presented in many situations created only once?
  4. Have you taken measures to ensure that duplicate content is not a problem?
  5. Does your organization make an effort to standardize a version of content about topics that are widely used?
  6. Can previously published content be supplemented and extended with new content?
  7. Can teams repurpose content that was created for one purpose and use it for a new purpose?

Creation process

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Ad hoc (1)

no standardized process is followed

Unified (5)

repeatable and coordinated process for creating content

  1. Prior to creating content, has your organization defined the audience, key messages, and developed a content brief?
  2. Does your organization have a defined process to draft new content that is followed by all contributors including external agencies?
  3. Do different roles have the means to collaborate efficiently when creating content?
  4. Can different stakeholders easily and efficiently comment and make suggestions on content?
  5. Are content creators able to access and select existing media and assets easily?
  6. Can your content creators efficiently incorporate existing content into new content?
  7. Does your organization have a process to test messages or clarity prior to publishing?
  8. Does your organization have a process by which content can be created in advance and scheduled for publication later?

Ideation and prioritization process

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Ad hoc (1)

no defined process for prioritizing content requests

Defined process (5)

clearly defined and agreed process for reviewing suggestions and requests

  1. To what extent does your organization prioritize content to create based on agreed goals?
  2. Does your organization have a defined process to prioritize content requests from business stakeholders?
  3. Does your organization have a repeatable process for capturing ideas for new content and reviewing them?
  4. Are suggestions prioritized according to business need, customer need, and effort to do?

Planning process

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Reactive (1)

scheduled items are mostly based on routine or individual requests

Strategic (5)

items planned according to their expected effort and benefits

  1. To what extent is content created based on defined customer needs and journeys?
  2. Does your organization plan content to address customer journeys across different channels?
  3. To what extent are decisions about new content initiatives informed by data?
  4. To what extent can you accurately estimate the time and resources required for planned content?
  5. To what extent can you accurately estimate how long your content will be useful without requiring revision?
  6. Does your organization have a regular process to decide initiatives?
  7. Does your organization maintain an editorial calendar that’s accessible to staff?
  8. To what extent does planned content have clear KPIs?

Efficient operations

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AI approach

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Limited (1)

limited or no use of AI in content operations

Active (5)

AI is used in more than one area of content operations

  1. To what extent does your organization use AI to recommend content or products to customers?
  2. To what extent does your organization use AI to make writing recommendations to authors?
  3. To what extent does your organization use AI to tag content with metadata or taxonomy terms?

Content development process

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Low (1)

limited visibility into resources needed for content development

High efficiency (5)

processes are managed granularly

  1. Is content development sustainable and able to meet demands on a long-term basis without strain?
  2. Is there a contingency process for handling extraordinary workloads?
  3. Does your organization benchmark the efficiency and the value-added of content development processes?
  4. Does your organization work to eliminate waste in content development processes, such as time waiting, excessive resources (poorly used funds, skills, executive time), and the need for rework?
  5. Does your organization have a good sense of the effort or time required to produce content before it is created?
  6. Does your organization have good visibility into content work in process and backlog?
  7. Can your organization readily adapt to new content requirements and scale up easily?
  8. Can your organization readily source content from different teams, including partners outside the organization?
  9. Does your organization manage its available inventory of content, knowing what it is missing and what it has in excess?

Content maintenance

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Passive (1)

few measures to ensure content is up to date

Active (5)

multiple measures to ensure content is up to date

  1. Is your organization’s content easy to update?
  2. Does your organization know how old all your content is?
  3. Does your organization remove old content regularly?
  4. Does all content have a clear owner who can make decisions about its revision and removal?
  5. Does all content have a projected shelf life—a duration before it will be out of date?
  6. Are certain categories of content retired or archived automatically?

Coordination of content and UX

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Low (1)

content and design are not coordinated and may require redesign or rewrites

High (5)

content and design have established systems that mesh with each other

  1. Do content and design teams engage in cross-functional collaboration on new projects?
  2. Are content requirements considered as a part of UI design?
  3. Is content structure aligned with the UI design system?
  4. Can screen designs be changed without requiring revision of content?
  5. Are writers involved with defining the features and design of online products and services?

Coordination of operations (planning, creation, delivery)

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Federated independence (1)

each team makes their own decisions without consulting other teams

Highly aligned (5)

different teams working toward shared goals

  1. To what extent are content operations coordinated across different channels (social, web, apps, email, print, and physical channels)?
  2. To what extent are content operations coordinated across different functional areas (marketing, customer service, and other areas)?
  3. Do different parts of your organization participate in a community of practice relating to content?
  4. Is content developed by different functions (marketing, training, customer support) connected so that it supports one another and does not overlap or result in gaps?
  5. To what extent does your organization utilize shared enterprise-wide practices relating to content?  Or do different teams operate independently from one another?

Prototyping and iteration process

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Limited (1)

no defined process for refining content

High (5)

continuously refining content from initial concepts to maturity

  1. Does your organization—prior to publishing—prototype and test content addressing new customer needs, such as new educational or support materials?
  2. Does your organization do pilots to explore the possibilities of using new formats or channels to present content?
  3. Is critical content that is used for long time iterated and improved through new releases?

Quality process

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Passive process (1)

not centrally coordinated

Active process (5)

numerous practices

  1. Does everyone in your organization follow the same process when creating content so that is it of uniform quality?
  2. Does your organization have quality standards that are applied to content that’s created and published?
  3. Does your organization conduct content testing to ensure customer understanding of the information they publish?
  4. Does your organization have acceptance criteria for content, such as when draft content is complete and meets expected goals?
  5. Does your organization have a standard process to check for factual accuracy and policy compliance?
  6. Does your organization maintain a ‘single source of truth’ for content so that there aren’t multiple versions that may differ in factual details or messages?

Workflow

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Informal (1)

case-by-case

Formalized (5)

specified

  1. To what degree is a uniform workflow lacking, meaning that assignments are decided on a case-by-case basis by individuals involved with the work?
  2. Has your organization defined a preferred workflow? Do individuals still decide what is next?
  3. Has your organization specified workflows according to roles, responsibilities, and permissions?
  4. Are certain steps within content workflows automatic, where the system takes action on tasks or routes assignments to people?
  5. Is content workflow part of your organization’s standard operating procedures?

Evaluation

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Analytics

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Generic (1)

off-the-shelf

Targeted (5)

precise and specific

  1. Does your organization collect enterprise-wide web analytics (i.e., not limited to individual websites)?
  2. Are the metrics for content that your organization tracks associated with business outcomes? For example, are content metrics linked to business KPIs such as sales or customer resolution?
  3. Does your organization measure engagement rather than superficial metrics such as views?
  4. Does your organization measure actual content performance against expected performance?
  5. Does your organization actively correct dirty analytics data associated with default settings in analytics programs?

Content assessment capabilities

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Selective (1)

only some areas assessed

Comprehensive (5)

major areas are assessed

  1. Does your organization have the ability to track content performance by topic?
  2. Can your organization track content performance by business initiative?
  3. Does your organization monitor and evaluate patterns of content usage and coverage?
  4. Does your organization analyze gaps to determine what is needed?
  5. To what extent does your organization routinely review internal search logs to identify content that’s being sought by customers?
  6. Does your organization have a complete content inventory of all published content?
  7. Does your organization conduct rolling content audits regularly?
  8. Does your organization conduct usability testing of high-use content?

Executive commitment

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Resource management (staffing, tools, investments)

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Ad hoc (1)

uneven and possible erratic

Planned (5)

consistent

  1. Are dedicated resources allocated to content operations on a consistent basis each year?
  2. Are resources sufficient for current content operations?
  3. Can content operations teams request a budget for projects to improve or upgrade operations?
  4. Can smaller teams draw upon shared resources?

Value of content

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Low priority (1)

content is important to executives

High priority (5)

content is highly valued

  1. Is content treated as an asset?
  2. Do executives of your organization have an interest in content?
  3. Is content considered a differentiator?
  4. Does your organization perceive competitive differentiation of the content compared to other sources viewed by customers?
  5. Are expected content outcomes clearly tied to business goals?
  6. Is content considered early in new projects?

Governance

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Governance policies and standards

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Selective (1)

governance policies are limited in scope or are unevenly used

Comprehensive (5)

governance policies are followed for important aspects of content

  1. Are policies relating to the management and publication of content documented and accessible to everyone who needs to see them?
  2. Can content systems check for policy violations?
  3. Does your organization have an enterprise style guide for correct terminology?
  4. Can authors access policies relating to regulatory compliance such as disclosures, terms and conditions, and allowable statements and claims?
  5. Does your organization have policies to ensure accessibility standards are met?
  6. Is your organization able to identify content that’s subject to specific legislation or regulations?
  7. Do content operations policies account for privacy and data protection requirements?
  8. Are social media policies part of content governance?
  9. To what extent does your organization have visibility into any risks associated with content that’s published?

Governance process

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Localized oversight (1)

governance decisions are made by individual business units or teams

Global oversight (5)

governance roles and responsibilities are defined centrally

  1. To what extent are teams across your organization aligned around enterprise content goals and processes?
  2. Does your organization have a central body directing decisions relating to content across the enterprise, for example, a governance board or content center of excellence?
  3. Does your organization have a dedicated head of content operations with responsibility for enterprise-wide decisions?
  4. Do content staff have an executive sponsor who can advocate with other executives on behalf of content initiatives and resources on ongoing basis?
  5. Is content governance coordinated with other enterprise governance activities such as branding and design systems?
  6. Does your organization ensure the coordination of different content-focused initiatives to support one another?

People

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Job roles

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Weak (1)

largely reliant on external resources

Strong (5)

mostly rely on internal resources dedicated to content operations

  1. To what extent does your organization rely on external agencies to create content?
  2. To what extent does your organization rely on freelancers to create content?
  3. To what extent is content created and managed by employees whose primary responsibility isn’t focused on content?
  4. To what extent are content operations the responsibility of employees in generalist content roles (content manager, content writer)?
  5. Does your organization employ specialized content roles (editors, content engineers, UX writers)?

Team structure

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Unspecialized (1)

collective ownership of responsibilities

Differentiated (5)

specialized

  1. To what extent do different content teams have specialized responsibilities for different kinds of content (for example, sales, marketing, customer service and communications, technical documentation, user interface copy)?
  2. Do separate divisions produce similar kinds of content? Are these teams organized along similar lines, or are they different from one another?
  3. To what extent do members of a content team have distinct roles and responsibilities?
  4. To what extent is there a clear owner for content relating to a topic or intended for a specific audience who is accountable for the outcomes relating to that content?
  5. To what extent do members of a content team have accountability for standards of performance such timeliness or preventing errors?

Training

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Limited (1)

occasional or selective

Comprehensive (5)

ongoing and widely available

  1. Does your organization offer training in company policies and procedures relating to content?
  2. Does your organization offer staff training in content tools?
  3. Does your organization offer training on best practices?
  4. Do content teams train business users on content topics?
  5. Does your organization assess skills of those working with content?
  6. Does your organization know that the right people are in the right roles?

Summary

  • Content flexibility
  • Content utilization
  • Customer focus
  • Editorial planning
  • Efficient operations
  • Evaluation
  • Executive commitment
  • Governance
  • People