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Why You Might Not Need a Unified Content Development Process (Yet) [Rose-Colored Glasses]

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Why You Might Not Need a Unified Content Development Process (Yet) [Rose-Colored Glasses]


The pandemic made organizations care (finally) about building a strategic content development function.

As a result, I see more and more content marketing leaders face the challenge of solving how content flows through the business. It all comes down to organizations finally learning what it means to act like a media company.

It won’t be easy.

Enterprises are a messy thatch of conflicting agendas, values, priorities, and goals. And the effects of these conflicts seem particularly harsh when it comes to content.

Why? Because content is communication. When parts of the business aren’t communicating well internally, the business can’t communicate well externally.

When teams don’t communicate well internally, the business can’t communicate well externally – and that hurts #ContentMarketing, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Who owns which content?

I recently spoke with a marketing leader who plans to launch an initiative to sort out the company’s enterprise content strategy in 2022. The effort arose out of a problem many enterprises face – a lack of agreement about who should drive content development for specific parts of the customer journey.

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The marketing team didn’t feel responsible for creating content to cross-sell new products and services to existing customers. But the account services team felt that kind of content should be a core marketing responsibility.

With no one owning the initiative, random acts of customer content occurred.

Existing customers got mixed messages about which new products were available, when, and why they might care. And each team felt frustrated with the results.

Aim to create function from content dysfunction

As the marketing leader dug into the issue, they realized the content development process was dysfunctional from head to toe. But tackling content at an enterprise level felt overwhelming.

Leaders in some of the other affected areas couldn’t agree on which part of the process caused the most problems. The refrain “it’s not my team” echoed through the figurative hallways.

I advised the marketing leader to look for ways to create function within the dysfunction.

Don’t try to dictate a content approach for the entire journey, I suggested. Instead, remove the dysfunction from the content process for one part of the customer journey at a time.

Don’t try to dictate a #content workflow for the entire customer journey. Try removing dysfunction from one journey stage at a time, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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Marketing teams often look at content from a lifecycle perspective. They ideate, create, produce, activate, manage, and measure it. The natural tendency is to create a process that solves one part of that lifecycle.

Usually, discreet teams handle each step of that lifecycle. Creators handle content creation. Design teams package and manage the content. Channel managers activate and promote the content. It seems easier to solve by team than by the customer journey.

Spoiler alert: It’s not. The creation process for awareness content could (and probably should) look very different from the creation process for customer service content.

It may be more productive to look at the content development process in a siloed way. For example, ask, “What does the ideate, create, produce, manage, activate, and promotion look like for X?” (where X represents a specific part of the customer journey, a content platform, or a particular channel).

Yes, this approach maintains the silos. But it’s an opening gambit for building a functional process within a dysfunctional organization.

Once you’ve developed a process that works for X, you can move to the next part of the customer’s journey and solve the dysfunction there.

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More process, but less complexity

The key to this approach is to avoid getting caught up in how things should work vs. how they do work.

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The way one team handles content development might work well for them – and not well at all for a different team.

The way one team handles #content development might work well for them – and not well at all for a different team, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For example, in the company I mentioned previously, a marketing person collects ideas for website content in a spreadsheet that lists priorities for which pieces to create and which to translate for global audiences. The spreadsheet lives on a server for anyone to find. The approach works fine for the global marketing team and the translation agency. But someone on another team wouldn’t know where to look for that spreadsheet and wouldn’t understand how or when that prioritization occurs.

Could that process be better? Maybe. Maybe not.

A pragmatic approach to content development isn’t all or nothing. The point isn’t to remove all variation – or even every dysfunction.

The goal should be to remove enough dysfunction to communicate effectively.

Remember, the more information you create to communicate with other teams, the less you create to deliver value to your audience and customer.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

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Rose-Colored Glasses is a new weekly column in which Robert Rose shares his view of content marketing challenges. Every Friday, he offers reasoning, rationale, and rhetoric to help you advance the practice of content marketing in your organization.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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MARKETING

How to Outmanoeuvre Your Peers as a Startup

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How to Outmanoeuvre Your Peers as a Startup

One of the primary goals of a startup owner is to ensure that you shine above the rest of the crowd. There are many more ambitious startup owners out there, and it’s your job to ensure that you aren’t left behind, no matter how competitive the industry.

Of course, such a thing is easier said than done. Many business owners recall the early years of business management to be the most tumultuous, and for good reason. Even the slightest mistake could have severe ramifications for startup owners.

The good news is you aren’t alone in your plight. There are just as many opportunities for success as there are roadblocks, and it’s never a bad idea to learn about how you can experience early success.

1. Understanding logistics and the fine print

Just about every new business will have to deal with supply chain logistics, something that could potentially cause plenty of problems if you aren’t careful. Fortunately, you can look at the example of successful startups to see potential solutions to the issue. Data management platforms, or anything you can use to optimise and simplify logistics, can go a long way in helping your business succeed.

There’s also plenty of risks that come with the management of logistics, which is why supply chain risk management monitoring is so critical to success. It’s an age where modern tech can trump just about every aspect of business, so it’s a good idea to look into as many modern software solutions as possible.

2. Taking the time to truly know your audience

Trust is one of the core building blocks that can help any business elevate itself, outpacing the rest of the competition in the process. If you want to build trust, you have to prove to your audience that you know them well enough and that you care about the customer journey.

A great example would be the world of telematics and usage-based insurance (UBI). With UBI, people have much more control over the pricing of insurance, as it depends heavily on best-practice methods as drivers on the road. Not only will best-practice methods save you fuel, but they will also save you insurance costs. A company owner that takes such an example to heart will grow the trust and loyalty of their audience sooner rather than later. Flexibility and the customer journey can win the day!

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3. Taking full advantage of feedback

As stated above, flexibility is a must when you consider all the aspects of business management. One way you can take advantage of feedback is to use social media and various other review sites as a foundation for customer reviews. Remember that how you respond to reviews will dictate the pace of your success, as even negative reviews can be transformed into a positive spin with the right strategy. For example, responding to negative reviews ASAP with solutions shows people your company cares, even if the critic no longer responds.

You can outmanoeuvre your peers as a startup with a genuine commitment to improvement in your chosen industry. The tips above will help reinforce such a mindset.

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