As companies look to scale their content development to keep up with constantly evolving product development, they often use an array of different authoring tools, content management systems (CMS) and content delivery platforms. While small to medium-sized businesses have less trouble keeping their content management team members connected with one another, larger enterprises often find themselves with multiple teams working on similar projects, but severely lacking in coordination. These content tools, in turn, often result in content silos, wherein each channel that content is published has its own unique experience, as well as varying content types, quality and consistency. This in turn causes a wide array of issues such as incorrect content, content duplication, and a lack of brand cohesion.

Content silos lead to difficulty finding the right information, inconsistent information across channels, and, ultimately, poor customer experiences.

However, there are ways to connect content silos without incurring long-lasting business disruptions, ongoing costs, or adopting undesirable business practices.

Key Takeaways

  • Implementing new CMS as quick fixes to deep-rooted problems could result in new content silos.
  • Content silos might reduce writer access to reusable content and reduce content relationships.
  • Focusing on collaboration may help prevent future content silos.

Content Silos Causes and Problems

What Causes Content Silos?

Content silos are a natural and sometimes necessary progression as businesses grow. The trouble with these silos begins when a new CMS is implemented as a proverbial band-aid. As a result, this solution acts only as a convenient and quick fix. It does not necessarily address the core problems, such as various departments taking ownership over their own content, voice, and deliverance instead of working collaboratively to create and maintain a cohesive voice and experience.

There are many situations under which your company may add a CMS that results in content silos, including:

  • The business culture promotes individualism. Your various departments might not be accustomed to either communication across teams or project collaboration.
  • The company has not updated its technology. The business may be using applications that worked yesterday but will be obsolete tomorrow. Not updating tools and using outdated systems could mean that your teams are ill-equipped to handle growing piles of data.
  • You have updated technology, but the company is misusing it. Having the appropriate technology is only half the battle – teams must also know how to use it in a collaborative setting. If your company is misusing these tools and in a non-collaborative fashion, silos are likely to form.
  • You are looking to scale your company. Content silos might be unavoidable as your company expands. As the content inflow increases, you could introduce new tools that require you to grow your teams. This increase in complexity may further disorganize your content if not handled correctly.

What Are the Resulting Problems?

Segregated content silos create negative customer experiences in three ways: 

  • Recreating the wheel. When scattered documents across multiple silos are inaccessible to the other teams, those teams spend time recreating it, which takes time away from creating content that doesn’t exist elsewhere. Quality reusable content can save your writers the time of recreating work unnecessarily.
  • A low degree of findability. When your company stores content in different places, your customers have a tough time locating it. Attempting to locate content across various systems may require a different searching behavior for each silo, which will cost your customers valuable time and create undue frustration.
  • Disparate brand experience. Customers access content from different places - like your doc portal, your CRM, your community. When they search in multiple locations and get different information or a different look and feel, this can create confusion and distrust.

Possible Solutions

First and foremost, you should promote collaborative problem-solving across teams. There are ways for you to combat content silos – in ways more effective than simply shoving all content into a single CMS – but it might require a collective effort. 

Complete content migration to a single, indivisible CMS can not only be a cumbersome and expensive ordeal, but it also does not provide a solution to all silo-driven problems. 

Instead, you could consider alternative approaches, such as the following:


How do you avoid exposing your content silos to customers? Promote a collaborative culture across all teams.

To encourage collaboration, take the following steps:

  • Schedule and conduct regular inter-team meetings.
  • Implement cross-departmental reporting dashboards.
  • Encourage writers to step away from silos and collaborate freely with other teams.

Implement a Headless CMS

A “Headless” CMS does not have a front end - meaning it has no user interface. The headless architecture allows enterprises to connect multiple application front ends to a single backend using APIs - or Application Program Interfaces. In other words, it separates content management from delivery, and enables one CMS backend to connect to multiple front-end solutions.

Headless CMS solutions support omnichannel content by enabling multiple teams to connect API-driven delivery tools to a single content source.

An API-driven delivery platform, such as Zoomin, enables enterprises to build pipelines from multiple content authoring and management tools, unify the disparate content, and deliver it to a state-of-the-art documentation portal, to a community site, to a CRM, and even inside the product itself.

Implement an Enterprise Search

You might address the unnecessary duplication of content and lack of findability by implementing an enterprise-wide search of silos to identify and correct these issues.

Enterprise searches allow businesses to leave their current systems unchanged while consolidating the content inside of each silo. This method also produces minimal disruption to content teams because you are not migrating content – you are simply reorganizing it in its current locations.

However, implementing enterprise search on its own doesn’t make a great customer experience. Why not? Well, think of the search page as the bus station where you have many choices of places to go. Once you get on a bus and leave the station, it’s significantly more challenging to catch a bus back to the busy station, right?

In the same way, if you click on a search result and it takes you off the site to another location, it’s significantly more challenging to get yourself back to the original site. And, if the other connected sites don’t also index all sites, your next search will yield different results.

Design a Business Taxonomy

Your company can standardize its methods for organizing content across various silos by designing a business taxonomy.

An effective taxonomy provides users with consistent experiences across multiple channels and improves findability. A strong taxonomy will also allow you to classify information by role, product, or function, so your users find relevant information - no matter which team authored the content!

To make the most of your taxonomy, you’ll also need to have a standard metadata model across all content-producing teams. Metadata is descriptive information associated with content - for example, the role of the person who should read it, the version number of the product it pertains to, or the date the content was published.

Use this unified metadata in conjunction with your taxonomy to serve the right content to the right people at the right time!

Do Not Let Content Silos Impact Customer Experiences

Breaking away from deep-rooted content silos might prove a challenging endeavor. It can often require updated and integrated tools, multi-team collaboration, and reorganized operations.

Book a demo today to learn how we can help you overcome content silos to create a unified content experience for your customers.

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