The Bog Where Nearly-Finished Content Goes to Rot
Every business has a Bog inside it.
It's a digital morass. An invisible in-between spot, nestled amongst email chains and Slack threads...and it's where you find something quite valuable. Content. Usable, relevant content, in a completed or nearly-completed state. Maybe blog posts. Case studies. Reference material.
But it will never escape the Bog. It will sit there in the virtual muck, going out of date, spoiling like milk left outside in July.
Why? Why does the Bog even exist?
Because no business finishes all of the content they start. For one of many reasons, the content never reached completion, and fell into the Bog.
What reasons could trigger such a waste of potential value?
- FALLEN BY THE WAYSIDE - A higher priority came along, and lasted long enough for the content to fall off everyone's to-do list
- EMPTY CALENDAR - The business doesn't use an editorial calendar (or only part of it does), so the content didn't get on the schedule
- OFFICE POLITICS - Jane doesn't like Joe, so she "misses" Joe's request for content approval
- SUFFOCATED - "Nobody can publish until Bob, Mike, Janet, and three of their team members ALL approve each & every content item! And Janet's out for the next month!"
- LOST AMID THE TREES - One or more people needed to approve the content item, but either missed it, or forgot to respond
- OOH SHINY - A team lead encountered a new trend, topic, or 'other shiny object' which distracted them
What should you do about the Bog?
Recognize its existence. Might be huge, might me tiny. you won't know until you go looking.
You CAN get content out of the Bog, but you'll have to remind people it exists first.
Use questions like these to see if the Bog has content you could use:
Did your team ever abandon any content projects?
I noticed we're light on content about X topic. Have we ever worked on content about it?
I'd like to create more content around X topic. Do we have any references for that, or maybe some early-draft material on it?
To keep the Bog small, you'll need a consistent approval process. Not the easiest thing to produce & maintain, but it's doable.
These processes take different forms depending on your company's internal structure. As such, let me give a simple diagram to illustrate.
PROCESS AWARENESS >
SUBMISSION OF CONTENT >
REVIEW REQUIREMENT >
SET DEADLINE >
CONSEQUENCE OF MISSING DEADLINE
The last one is very important. Without some form of consequence for missing content approval deadlines, nobody will follow the deadlines. The Bog makes happy blurping sounds when that happens.
Consequences might include department-wide follow-ups, asking people to (publicly) report on why they didn't submit a review on time. Or telling someone privately that if they can't meet a review deadline, management will pass that authority to someone else.
Yes, it's shaming to a degree. But the fact remains that, if someone agrees to review content and doesn't deliver, they are the ones shirking their responsibility.
Strive to Keep the Content Bog Small and Empty
Can you eliminate the Bog of Nearly-Finished Content? I don't think so...not 100%. I'm sitting on hundreds of such content pieces from all my clients over the years. Most have rotted to the point where they're no longer usable as-is.
That said, you can (and should) strive to shrink the Bog and keep it small. Losing an occasional content piece to another priority happens. Regularly consigning good material to the Bog means your content operations need some maintenance.
Where do you think "The Bog" lurks within your company?