A Content Strategist’s Initial Thoughts on Sitecore’s Content Hub
POSTED : November 25, 2019
BY : Derek Phillips

The Content Hub rollout came into focus at Symposium 2019

If you’ve never been to Sitecore Symposium there are a few things you should know:

  • It’s super informational. And by that I mean there is just a stream of information coming at you at all times. From Sitecore, from partners, from vendors, from prospects…it’s a LOT.
  • It’s actually really fun. I had countless conversations with people who were passionate about their content strategy and marketing activities and were eager to learn from each other. Attendees were open with each other, and that leads to number 3.
  • We all have pretty much the same problems.

The cure for the content crisis?

Sitecore has been talking a lot about what they call “The Content Crisis,” and it will sound familiar to anyone whose job it is to create, manage and distribute content. Not to be confused with the “Content Shock” that I wrote about way back in 2014, The Content Crisis basically boils down to this:

  • Marketers invest huge amounts of money and resources creating, managing and distributing content.
  • There are also huge inefficiencies in the creating, managing and distributing that content.

Sound familiar? It should. According to The Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America:

  • 91% of marketers report that their companies use content in their marketing strategies.
  • 9% of the organizations it surveyed ranked their efforts as sophisticated in their content strategy.

That means we all know how important content is to our marketing efforts, and very few of us are investing in sophisticated systems and processes to support those efforts.

The content management market is cluttered

It makes sense. The market can be confusing. There are so many tools out there, where do we begin? And what if I buy something that doesn’t scale to my needs or integrate with my existing systems?

This is where Sitecore says the Content Hub comes in. Sitecore’s Content Hub promises to bring some calm to your rocky content waters by providing a “foundation for building and managing relevant content.” Sure, that’s easy to say, but here’s what Content Hub does:

  • It provides one place to create and distribute content. No more spreadsheets on computers or shared drives, or who knows where else. No more Word documents locked in a former colleague’s laptop. No more social distribution platforms for which nobody can remember the login credentials. Sitecore’s Content Hub provides one space to create, collaborate and share content.
  • It understands content effectiveness. I try to instill in our workshops the idea that content is a business asset—it requires time and money to create—and so we need to have a process by which we can evaluate that investment. Content Hub promises dashboards to show how your content is performing so you can make enhancements or cut bait.
  • It serves as one unified user experience. This is for the marketing team. You’ll have one system—and therefore, one UI to navigate—for all your content needs. Finally.
  • It enables personalization at scale. This is a biggie. We’ve all experienced the demand for more personalization in our experiences, from executives, from marketers…even from our customers. But the more personalized your experience is, the more content you need to support it. That’s why we have such a mess on our hands, or as Sitecore would say, a crisis. We’re struggling to keep up to feed the beast and so the ability to better manage large volumes of content is critical.

Getting our hands on Sitecore Content Hub

Full disclosure: Concentrix Catalyst is a Platinum Sitecore Partner, which means we’ve proven we know Sitecore inside and out. That also means we have access to some early training on new features and I’ll be posting more specific details on these over the next few months. I’ve started the process of detailed training on Content Hub, and I’ve found early indications to be promising. The UI is clear and intuitive, and the functionality supports many of the tasks content creators and marketers juggle, including rights management, project tracking and collaborative workspaces.

A few more things…

As I said previously, Sitecore Symposium delivers a constant stream of information. Obviously, that includes news about Sitecore itself. Some of the biggest news includes:

  • Sitecore AI: Announced jointly by Sitecore CEO, Mark Frost, and Microsoft’s EVP of Cloud and AI, Scott Guthrie, this partnership leverages machine learning and Azure to deliver Sitecore AI for auto-personalization. This initiative promises to personalize at scale.
  • Sitecore SaaS: Updating your Sitecore instance can be a huge task. The announcement of Sitecore SaaS promises that subscribers “will always have the most current version of the product with the ease of automatic upgrades.” Desta Price, EVP of Product Management for Sitecore told DMNews, “The goal is to allow brands and partners to grow with us, as we grow in functionality.”
  • Sitecore Experience Platform 9.3: There are several updates on 9.3, but a couple should be of particular interest to marketers and content authors. A new editing interface known as “Horizon” promises a more intuitive UI and contextual insights. Also available is enhanced reporting, which Sitecore says will provide “more granular visibility into how personalization is driving performance.” As personalization continues to grow as a key tactic for marketers, the ability to evaluate assets will be crucial.

All in all it was a fast-moving and exhausting week that left me inspired to have conversations with our clients and partners, which is the whole point of this event. As we roll into 2020, I look forward to solving those problems we all seem to have with some new tools.

To learn more about our Sitecore practice, head over to our Sitecore partner page.

About the Author

A picture of Derek PhillipsAs Director of Content Strategy, Derek is focused on building Concentrix Catalyst’s content strategy practice and has deep experience working with regulated industries, including utilities. He works alongside other discipline leads to develop processes, templates, and best practices that enable strategic approaches to content for Concentrix Catalyst’s clients. His recent projects include Portland General Electric, NW Natural, BMC Software, Spectrum Health, Priority Health, Banner Bank, Everence Financial Services, Zimmer BioMet and Citrix.

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