In our last best practices post, we wrote about the importance of Content Libraries. We discussed how they are pivotal to centralizing content and making it available for everyone who’s involved in the RFP response process.
So case closed…or is it? Nope, still very much open! You see, as necessary as it is to have a Content Library, it’s only one piece of the RFP content strategy pie. Today we are going to focus on the content itself. More specifically, we are going to talk about organizing content through categorization and tagging.
Better Navigation = RFP Acceleration
What is the purpose of categories and tags? Well, in a nutshell, both are effective ways to narrow down content. Navigating through a library of content should not be complicated – it should be intuitive.
Let’s say you have 1,500 library entries and no categories. Imagine searching through all of them to find what you need – it’s not going to be easy. Now imagine having these 1,500 broken down into 10 categories and five sub-categories each. This way, you only have 30 library entries per sub-category. Searching for information now becomes less overwhelming and also quicker.
The easier content is to find, the more we can accelerate the RFP response process. Having content that is well categorized and tagged leaves us with more time to focus on building a winning RFP by preventing the nightmare of reading each piece of content until we find what we are looking for.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into what each of these organization tools means and how they differ from one another.
Categories: Broad and Hierarchical
You can think of a Category as a filing cabinet that contains a broad grouping of content representing a “general topic.” Let’s set up some sample categories that a company might use:
When creating categories, remember not to go too granular. If each of your library entries has its own category, there is no point in having them! Also, think about your occasional library users (e.g., Subject Matter Experts). The categories you come up with have to make sense to them as well.
Categories are hierarchical, which mean we can use subcategories to help us determine how to organize content within each category.
If categories are filing cabinets, then subcategories are folders within each cabinet. Let’s add a few subcategories to our three categories:
As you can see, each subcategory belongs to one category only, making it easier for us to drill down on what we are trying to find. Also, when setting up your categories and subcategories, you want to think long-term and not set up anything that can foreseeably become obsolete.
Tags: Specific Micro-Data
Similar to hashtags on social media, tags are less formal and represent the more granular details associated with each piece of content. Think of them as a method to improve search results by associating keywords with your content. Tags can connect content across multiple categories and subcategories. But remember, tags need to add value. That means not duplicating keywords that are already present in the library entry.
To illustrate this, let’s say we are adding a piece of content, such as a client case study for Vandelay Industries, to our Content Library. We’d start by assigning it to the proper category and subcategory:
Now we can tag it with keywords to help us locate this piece of content in future searches:
In this case, we used the company size, geographical location, and industry. With these tags in place, search queries such as “healthcare case study” and “enterprise customer case study” will more readily identify this piece of content.
Is There a Best Way to Categorize and Tag Content?
The short answer is no. How to best organize content comes down to how your company is structured. Methods of categorization that we’ve seen our customers use successfully include segmentation by business function, geographical region, and product. Here are two examples.
Single Product/Service Companies.
Let’s say that we are a company named Astro Software with a product called SpaceTime. Since this is our only product, we can dedicate categories to SpaceTime and structure them so that they cover different segments of our business. We can then use subcategories to dive deeper into each of the categories:
Further to this, it would be helpful for us to have a category dedicated to general company information:
Suppose we decide to develop two new products at Astro Software: MoonBeam and SunFlare. When a company has multiple products, it is best to give each product a category. We can now use our subcategories to define secondary categories for each product, as illustrated below:
For content that applies across different product lines, such as general company information, it’s best to create a separate category:
With respect to our tagging strategy for Astro Software, we will want to use descriptors that will help us find our content. When considering what could serve as useful tags, we should think of the keywords we would use if we were to do a Google search. You might also want to use keywords such as acronyms or other terminology used internally at Astro Software.
Remember the Basics
The goal of organizing content is to make finding it as intuitive as possible when responding to an RFP. Along with a powerful search engine, RFP software should have a Content Library that allows you to categorize, subcategorize, and tag your RFP content easily.
In Loopio, categories, subcategories, and tags are predefined by users with specific permissions, but users at all levels can use them to filter their searches. Organizing content is a good investment of time, as this will lead to a more speedy RFP response process, and who wouldn’t love that?
- Categories and subcategories are your filing cabinets: Think broad when defining these, as you can always get more specific over time
- Tags operate like an index: They are more specific keywords that are not tied to any specific category or subcategory
- Choose your content organization strategy wisely: What will work best for you is heavily dependent on your organization