It’s typical to think about supply chains in the context of industries like manufacturing or technology. Ivestopedia provides a thorough explanation of what a supply chain is and does:

“A supply chain is a network of companies and people that are involved in the production and delivery of a product or service. […] The functions of a supply chain include product development, marketing, operations, distribution, finance, and customer service.”

There’re multiple steps to take until a product finally reaches the end customer. The same is true for content: “A content supply chain treats content as a utility — where content is electricity and the technology is the grid.”

Let’s think about our blog about meaningful content, where we introduced the fast fashion metaphor. Sustainable fashion, unlike fast fashion, emphasizes the concept of reuse in more than one way. Which has led us to think of a lifecycle instead of a supply chain. 

We see evidence of this lifecycle when we compare fast fashion production with sustainable fashion production. In the table below, we contrast the two, based on an infographic by GoodOnYou

An example: fast fashion and sustainable fashion processes

Phases until clothes are sold

PhasesTypical fast fashion processesSustainable processes
DesignFast fashion designers copy runway looks.– Sustainable fashion designers lean toward long-lasting trends.
– Sustainable fashion is often more casual and evergreen than fast fashion.
Producing materialsOften, low-quality materials like polyester are used.– More natural fibers are used.
– Sustainable fashion often follows higher textile standards.
– Sometimes, reused fabrics are used.
– Sometimes, fabric production uses less water than normal fabric production does.
Producing clothes“Poor working conditions in some factories and sweatshops.”– Often, there are better working conditions.
– Some brands are even fair-trade.
Distribution and retail“Widespread transportation of clothes and textiles leads to increased pollution.”A few brands focus on regionality.

Phases after clothes are sold

PhasesTypical fast-fashion processesSustainable fashion processes
Reaching customers“Fast fashion manufacturer changes its collection every four weeks” – so customers are likely to buy new clothing very often to keep the pace.Collections typically change seasonally and there are evergreen items. 
Worn by customer“35% of all microplastics — very small pieces of plastic that never biodegrade — in the ocean came from the laundering of synthetic textiles like polyester.”The less microfiber in clothing, the less pollution happens while laundering.
Gets dumped“Globally, an estimated 92 million tonnes of textile waste is created each year.”Slow fashion elongates the time clothing is worn, so less clothing is dumped.
Circularity: is rewornTypically, clothes aren’t reworn.Often, sustainable clothing is slow fashion that lasts longer, so more than one person can wear it.
Circularity: is reusedTypically, clothes aren’t reused.There are brands that upcycle materials.
Circularity: is recycled“13% going to material recovery” (UK).

The concept of sustainable production includes these sustainable fashion supply chains. And this concept is easily applicable to content! The magical term is “content lifecycle!” Instead of a process with a defined beginning and end, a lifecycle repeats. After it’s reached its audience, the impact and performance of digital content tells content experts what to do next. 

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Your strategy to implement a content lifecycle

Instead of crafting new content, creative teams can also refine the content they already have by adapting it to another audience, reusing good content, and drawing conclusions for the future. The circle closes.

Pre-publication and publication phase

PhasesTypical enterprise content workflowsRecommended content workflows
Concept– Content creators copy other’s ideas.
– Content creators react to new trends.
– There’s a tendency to write what’s on an individual writer’s mind rather than following a strategy.
– Implement a strategy and a content plan. 
– Define your target audience.
– Find out your target audience’s demand.
– Identity relevant topics.
– Choose the right channels to meet your audience.
– Cover different funnel stages.
Choosing asset typeChoose fast content asset types like social media postings.– Decide for a mixture of asset types for a rich customer experience.
– Always consider what your audience is likely to read.
Content creation– External writers and fluctuating teams create content.
– There’s no content governance.
– Insufficient content review may result in poor language quality.
– Focus on your content goals.
– Use content governance to make sure you reach your goals.
– Use AI writing assistance to align all writers to goals.
– Produce high-quality content.
Content distributionMarketers prefer multichannel (and typically the more, the better).– Focus on where to meet your typical audience.
– Distribute content where it’s relevant to its audience.
– Besides active content distribution, focus on findability to make sure people find it.
– Consider moving from multichannel to omnichannel.
Reaching customers– Content is often maximized on clicks.
– Content creators use fancy headlines to draw attention.
– Sometimes, headlines and content aren’t in line.
– Content should be relevant for your audience.
– It should fulfill what the headline promises.

Post-publication phase

PhasesTypical enterprise content workflowsRecommended content workflows
End of consumptionHigh bounce rates and low time on page indicate a poor content experience. For instance, your visitors either find content irrelevant or leave because of low-quality content. They quit with the risk of not coming back.– Focus on low bounce rates and high time on page, as this implies relevance and interest.
– Never forget that high-quality content is essential to keep people interested and positive towards your content and your enterprise.
Long-lasting content impactTypical enterprise content isn’t optimized for long-lasting content impact.Reach long-lasting content impact:
– Make people remember your content by being relevant.
– Aim at making them come back to your website by delivering constantly great digital experiences.
– Use content analytics to monitor how your content performs over time. 
– You can even mix qualitative and quantitative analytics. Our Content Cube feature is here for you.
Content republishing– The more seasonal content is, the less likely it will be republished in the future.
– Fast content that’s not seasonal might be republished.
– Many enterprises tend to rather write new content instead of republishing old content.
– Focus on evergreen content that can be republished. This makes your content marketing more efficient.
– You can also optimize content to be up-to-date again and then republish it.
Content reuseMostly, content isn’t reused.– Consider reusing sentences or whole content modules. This way, you can publish great things without having to create them from scratch.
– Reusing content makes your content processes more efficient.
Content recyclingMostly, content isn’t recycled.– Even content that isn’t great can be recycled.
Use software to improve its impact and performance.
– Reuse improved content as much as possible.

Circular content workflows extend the content lifespan

What about your content processes? If they’re a bit chaotic or resemble a typical one-way supply chain, consider introducing more circular content workflows. To sustain great content impact over time and extend the lifespan of your content, try to:

  • Focus on relevancy
  • Create evergreen content
  • Reuse, repurpose, and recycle content

Sound a bit intimidating? Don’t be afraid. It’s not about having perfect content lifecycle management from the start. Every single aspect mentioned above adds relevance and impact to your content. Start small and add value to your digital assets — and the processes they’re living in.

Acrolinx can help you get started. Our platform offers comprehensive content governance for your enterprise. It actively helps you follow your content strategy and deliver a great and clutter-free customer experience over time.  

Curious? Let’s talk!

The Enterprise Content Governance Playbook It’s time to create impactful content that performs

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Hannah Kaufhold

is a Content Strategist and Global Product Marketing Manager at Acrolinx, with over eight years experience in content strategy and content creation. They hold a Master’s degree in linguistics. Hannah has a strong interest in controlled languages and terminology and is passionate about diversity and inclusion. In their free time, they enjoy spending time with their family and reading.