Thought Leadership
  • Content marketing

Brand publishing - why you need to get back in the driving seat

Stephen Hobbs
2nd November 2016

If you publish branded content, ask yourself this question…

If you publish branded content, or are thinking of publishing branded content, there's a really important question you should ask yourself:

Who's in charge of your brand publishing?

We're often faced with this issue. Who really owns a brand's content marketing output? Is it us at the agency? The marketing director? The sales team?

Sadly this is one area where confusion often reigns. But it's easy to see why.

It might seem obvious to some, a little muddier to others, but we're willing to bet you have an idea in your head of where the buck should stop.

Lines of responsibility are often the first thing forgotten in the scramble to get something, anything published and get your brand's content off to a flying start.

How does your content flow?

It's one of the reasons that before we publish anything for your brand, we advise a rigorous period of strategic planning. This will include the obvious stuff – tone of voice, publishing frequency, competitor analysis, social planning – but also drawing up both an org chart and an operational flow of how content will get from inception all the way to appearing on whichever platform you're using.

This isn't always simple. And here's why. Our background is in publishing, from magazines to websites, to microsites, to iPad magazines. We've been brought up in the publishing and that means our approach to content is steeped in publishing best practice.

The route to success

Our most successful projects have been where clients buy-in to publishing-based ways of working. The issue is that a publishing org chart – in its most basic sense – will look something like this:


However, a brand's org chart, is more likely to be something akin to this:


Multiple stakeholders from multiple departments often demand final sign-off on content. Aside from elongating the sign-off process and, ultimately, publishing speed, that means that multiple differing opinions can have the effect of watering down your content's purpose as you try to please all the people all the time.

You need to be brave, largely because it's pretty much a nailed-on, cast iron certainty that your organisation isn't set up to work like a publisher. But there's a reason publishing has run this model since before the dawn of the internet. It allows content to flow through a logical process to a single point of sign-off. Once it's signed-off, it goes live. Brand publishing is rarely so simple.

The key is to decide early on who your 'editor' is – the person with ultimate day-to-day control over what content your brand publishing team creates.

No compromise

Sales teams, product leads, research teams, all of them should absolutely have a say in your content's ultimate goals. But allow multiple stakeholders editing rights of your content and you'll only ever create compromised, schizophrenic content.

Of course in a brand publishing model you need to listen to the wants and needs of different departments. You need an 'end goal'. But what you absolutely must not do is lose focus on what your content is ultimately trying to achieve: being useful to your audience.

Get in touch on if you’d like to find out more.

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