This is the year when web content comes of age. Organizations will
slowly stop viewing content as some cost that needs to be managed.
Instead, they will begin to see content as an asset that can drive
profits and productivity. A new role will emerge within many organizations:
1. Finally, content gets taken
seriously in 2004. Management will start thinking about content in
a whole new way. Content will emerge as a strategic asset. Better
organizations will begin to identify processes that will ensure the
creation of high quality content, and reduce the creation of poor
Driven by the emergence of the view of content as an asset, the process
of organizational restructuring will gather pace. The role of the
chief information officer will come under pressure, as such people
tend to have a technology-centric view of information.
3. The battle between IT and communications/marketing over
who should be in charge of the website will continue. Communications
will ultimately win. But IT will fight hard as it has a lot of budget
to lose, and will have to downsize if it loses responsibility for
4. The average communications department will be in for a big
shake-up. Many organizations communicate with staff and customers
not because they see any major benefit in it, but simply to be seen
to be doing it. With content now being viewed as a potential asset,
that will require a very different type of communications department;
one with a much sharper profit and productivity focus.
5. The practice of delegating content creation to the most
junior resource will decline. Those who can create quality content
will start getting recognized and rewarded more. Content creation
will be added to the job specification of many more people.
6. Writing for the Web will emerge as an important new skill.
There will be a particular focus on getting people to create content
that drives actions. Writers will begin to think more about how their
target audience search, and write content accordingly.
7. Metadata will be recognized as a crucial web writing skill.
Keywords, in particular, will be researched before a piece of content
is written. Then, these keywords will be included in the content.
The common practice today is to add keywords into a keyword metatag
after the content is written. This is not a good idea.
8. Information architecture will be recognized as a publishing
discipline, not some technical thing. Too many people talk about information
architecture in some weird language meant for techies. Information
architecture is about metadata, navigation, search and layout. It
is the responsibility of the editor.
9. Organizations who have multiple intranets or public websites
will see them for what they are: a significant waste of time and money.
Standard publishing processes and designs will drive website consolidation
as return on investment becomes more of an issue.
10. Finally, someone will be put in charge of the website.
This person will be given real authority to say what does and doesn’t
get published. I know that this is a revolutionary concept but it
has been found to be effective in other areas of management.