Traditionally, business content creation occurred in a centralized, marketing directed, professional creation organization and process. Today, creation has disbursed to front line creators in the executive ranks, marketing, sales, and even channel and partner organizations. This creates new challenges and requirements. To make this a positive, efficient, contributing effort with positive results, these "new producers" require support.
Failure to provide support could result in haphazard creation efforts of poor quality content, frustrated constituents, reduced productivity, hidden costs -- in fact the risks can be significant.
Here are questions that will help your team, and your management, understand what's at stake by continuing to pursue a process of "random acts of content." (IDG)
- How do people throughout your organization know what content to build next? Why it should be created? How it will be use? Does the reason meet a set of defined criteria?
- How do you enable anyone to create content without becoming a domain expert, having to figure out what to say, or how to say it (right down to desired phrases or glossary terms)?
- How do you avoid turning your subject experts into content creators?
- How do you preserve message, brand and quality standards while enabling messages to be quickly converted into effective content?
- How to you insure efficient and optimum acquisition of subject expert insights as source input to content creation efforts?
- How do you lower the cost (time, effort and dollars) of content creation, especially over time, as requirements drive up content volumes?
Marketing and Sales Content Strategy
Most people embrace the notion we need to deliver the right content, to the right people, at the right time, in their preferred format.
This begs the question, how do we create the right content, so it is available the instant it is needed and can be made relevant to all the people we address? How do we deploy content so anyone in the organization's "communication ecosystem" can access, tailor and deliver content at the right time, in audience preferred formats?
Without a defined and documented plan of action, organizations risk inaction, or worse, chaotic efforts that create serious un-intended consequences due to "random acts of content."
Organizations need a content strategy, not only for the web, (Halvorson) but for broader marketing and sales purposes.
This strategy should make clear the content creation priorities needed to fill key marketing and sales content gaps. It should inform and guide acquisition of insights from important subject experts who provide source content. The result would be a defined plan for sanctioned content priorities, supported by an acquisition and creation calendar.
Total Cost of Content Model
We need to move beyond justifying the direct costs of a "point production" project. We need a model that illuminates the "total cost of content" across the organization, and measures the "total value of content" from each project.
This thinking will lead to a new process that yields:
- Lower development time and effort --especially on subject experts -- and faster content time to market
- Content created for multiple (not single) purposes
- Source content assets that can be used for other content creation purposes, as well as re-usable, modular content
- Content that can be tailored for different audiences, purposes, sub-issues, buying stages, consumption lengths (scan and read)
Questions that Guide Your Organization
Has your organization embraced content marketing principles that encourage relevant, customer education oriented over vendor, product and service oriented content?
Have you developed a marketing and sales content strategy, defined your customer's buying process and the questions they must answer to buy your products or services?
Have you conducted a content inventory, assessed how well your content supports your new requirements and made sure it is in the customer voice not the vendor voice?
Have you mapped your content to your customer's buying process by persona, sub-issue, stage, alternative solutions (your competition) as well as to your sales processes -- and identified critical content gaps?
I agree, this can be a daunting task, especially without a good, defined and documented strategy that clarifies specific plans, priorities, policies, processes, procedures and standards. Leaving it up to individuals or groups is both inefficient and ineffective.
Perhaps this is a good point to invoke Albert Einstein's famous quotation:
"The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."