In 2011, we published Content Supply Chain, an eBook that laid out a strategic framework for forecasting content needs, managing production and publication and measuring its impact on business goals. ComBlu has created a companion, Epic Content Strategy: A Formula for Overcoming 4 Major Content Pain Points, which deals with four key pain points of content marketing. Following is a preview of the new eBook, which will be published mid-May.
Pain Point One: Brands recognize their role as a content publisher, but still grapple with the best way to organize the content creation and distribution process. Most of the information about organizing the marketing function as a content publisher follows the media or newsroom model. While instructive, the larger point is missed. Most brands today publish a massive amount of content. The real pain point is not having a central view of who is producing content and how to create better points of collaboration. In the typical organization, many pieces of content are being created about the same topic by multiple areas in the company with little or no awareness that the other content objects already existed or were in process. The lack of a well-defined governance process leads to inefficiencies, wasted time and resources and a suboptimal content experience both internally and externally. Many brands try to build a content organization without first understanding their full, existing content ecosystem. Failure to do this will create new, more complex pain points. Ouch!
Pain Point Two: Brands still wonder if they can continue to effectively “feed the content beast.” In fact, according to a Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs study, 64 percent of marketers say their biggest challenge is creating sufficient content. Marketers fret that they will never have enough content to reach people and stay top-of-mind at every point of the buyer’s journey. In reality, the brand will never maintain the post position in the day-to-day lives of customers, prospects and other stakeholders. Content whizzes past people’s consciousness so quickly that they barely have time to bookmark, download or save it. And even if they do, they may not remember they did so when they need it.
Many brands overcompensate for these dynamics by generating a ton of content and indiscriminately amplifying it across as many channels as possible. The real goal is to worry less about content volume and instead create fewer pieces of “epic” content that kindle an “aha” moment when a person discovers it and realizes it is just what they need right now. That is how most people consume content. They go find it when they need it.
Finding the right mix will help eliminate the “feeding the beast” syndrome as less of the content creation burden falls on the internal content team. This requires an insights process that forecasts the right content and topics along the decision journey.
Once the roadmap is complete, creating the right content becomes a more focused effort. One outcome of the insights process is the creation of filters that can be incorporated into a checklist or scorecard to gauge the overall effectiveness of each content asset. These filters would include segment relevance, message attractiveness, appropriate voice for genre or format, contribution to KPI, ability to differentiate and pertinence to the marketplace. This tool will focus authors and give editors or strategists a process to optimize the value of content. And, if the content is both emergent and engaging, it will have a longer shelf life, which can result in the need for fewer pieces of content.
Pain Point Three: Content cadence is another big conundrum. Many brands still fall into the trap of thinking they need to produce content because they have a publishing cycle that dictates “x” pieces of content per week or month. They use traditional time-stamped publishing models to schedule content. An emerging best practice is to monitor the content amplification process to uncover the natural rhythms and life cycle of your content. This will probably vary for each distribution channel and can be impacted if you publish content that regularly goes viral. However, if the nature and quality of your content is optimized, you may be able to publish less frequently with better effect.
One of the key outcomes of the insights process, referred to in Pain Point Two, is data that informs both content cadence and publication timing. It requires the brand to view the output from the insights process through a different lens; one that is time-based and will uncover natural points when content topics will have better resonance and opportunity for content breakthroughs.
Pain Point Four: Brands want to know if their content is working hard enough for the investment made. Content ROI is subjective and driven by the business mission or objectives of the content marketing program. An integrated approach to measurement yields a value story as opposed to simply tracking activity metrics. The important thing is to know which content is performing and which distribution channels provide the best positioning and consumption. The resulting data becomes another source for the insights process so that efficiencies and effectiveness evolve exponentially. Brands run into difficulty when they believe that placing multiple activity metrics next to each other on a dashboard will actually tell them a value story. The trick here is to pull metrics from multiple sources into a single dashboard for each KPI. This allows analysis that gleans insights and creates a path for appropriate action.
ComBlu’s new eBook delves into these pain points and presents a method for attacking and taming each one. If you’re interested in reading about these topics in greater detail, you can pre-register for a copy of the eBook by filling in the form below. We’ll send you a copy immediately upon publication.
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Kathy’s forte is enterprise content strategy, content marketing and thought leadership. Over the past 40 years, she has worked with both emerging brands and large enterprises in developing content and thought leadership strategies. She has written several research reports, white papers and has been a key contributor to Forbes Publish or Perish Report.