Unlocking the benefits of a streamlined content inventory relies heavily on a well-implemented taxonomy. In other words, your team needs to have a standard way of strategically categorizing your content. Here at Kapost, we’ve seen our fair share of incredible taxonomies. With the right taxonomy—and thus, a great content inventory—teams understand what content they have and where gaps exist. This categorization is the key to delivering the right content to the right customer at the right time.
However, to unlock the many benefits of taxonomy successfully, you need to manage the change within your team. Without alignment or adoption, your content can turn out to be classified incorrectly or unclassified entirely.
Now the real work begins.
In order to make a lasting and effective change in any process, make sure you repeatedly reinforce the new system through multiple mediums. Making a taxonomy stick in the long term requires both documentation and communication to smooth the transition.
With the right tools in place, your team can overcome the pain of change.
Taxonomy Relies on Your Team
Aligning your entire team to a new taxonomy requires bi-directional communication and an opportunity for feedback. Every member of your team will need not only to understand each of your critical attributes and their values but also to give input. A robust taxonomy is one that works for both you and your team.
Always Communicate the Why
It’s tempting to jump right into the definitions of your strategic fields. But don’t forget to inform your entire team why it’s so important to categorize your content. When making a change to your team’s operations, the needed buy-in requires an understanding of the rationale behind the change. Think about what’s in it for the team, and make sure each member understands the various benefits, both individually and for the team as a whole.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you develop your strategy for managing change in taxonomy:
1. Document Everything
As your taxonomy spreads throughout the organization, document the process for easy reference. This documentation should be readily accessible to your team—don’t leave it inbox-buried. Make sure to include your why. Always start there.
2. Gather Feedback. Then Provide Training
Town-hall style meetings can be an effective way to gather input from the broader team. But don’t try to do everything at once! A two-step approach, where you first gather feedback and then train your team on the final categorization, reduces confusion that comes from overwhelming your team.
Remember, you can’t please everyone. Separating the feedback and training processes allows you to make high-level decisions without having to address every individual opinion. Again, don’t forget to communicate why this change is so important to your organization.
3. Talk About Your Taxonomy Often
Making a change requires ongoing written and verbal communication. Find meetings where you can discuss your taxonomy in addition to communicating via email. One meeting and one email are not enough. You’ll need to live and breathe this new system. Bring it into as many relevant discussions as possible. Using multiple modes of communication to keep everyone informed improves the knowledge base of stakeholders and improves data integrity.
Don’t forget to include the rational behind your change in each communication.
4. Create a Clear Path for Ongoing Questions and Feedback
A taxonomy is not, and should not, be a static process. Find a way to funnel questions and feedback for changes. Make sure each member of your team understands how to provide feedback and get their questions answered. The process should open up the door to incorporate small changes, provide an opportunity to reject changes, and limit the need for total process overhauls.
5. Reinforce the Results
Make sure to track the progress and celebrate wins. Share often and widely. Celebrating positive results improves momentum and increases adoption. Visibility of status also encourages your team to prioritize learning how to align their work with your taxonomy. As much as possible, tie your wins to the impact on your marketing department or the company as a whole.
Establishing an effective taxonomy unlocks many of the key capabilities of an effective content operation. Because managing the change your team will experience throughout the evolution of a new taxonomy is essential to realizing the benefits of an organized system—and delivering the right content to the right customer at the right time.
While this process isn’t easy, it’s certainly worth it.
We know change is hard. Looking for extra help? Kapost customers can contact their CSM for best practices, for help building a strategic plan to establish their content inventory, or for more information about our services.