- Content marketing
Many brands wrestle with which marketing staff to have in-house and when to rely on agencies. But a strategic approach to content marketing demands that companies embed the right staff and processes to allow quality, customer-centric content to be created rapidly and regularly.
So what’s the answer?
The pandemic has proven the advantage of in-house teams who deeply understand customers’ changing priorities. But it has also highlighted the benefits of creativity, agility and surge capacity that come from agency support. One solution is to work with agencies who, rather than selling time by the hour, embed consultants within their clients in order to bring expertise and effect lasting change.
“Embedding isn’t just about agility,” explains Mediablaze co-founder, Roger Barr. “When our specialists work on site with clients, they also quickly identify any gaps in the internal team’s knowledge and help to fill them.”
However a company chooses to work, it is essential that they document and share their processes in a living, growing Content Marketing Playbook and training programme.
The following outlines the key steps that help brands to resource effectively for successful content marketing.
I. Planning – the key to effective creativity
The first content hire should be someone who is able to plan content and manage creatives. This person will own the Editorial Calendar, aligning it with marketing campaigns and seasonal trends. They will write briefs that marry the calendar, content strategy and customer needs while allowing space for creativity.
The job title for a content planner can change depending on the size of team and relative seniority. For example, a blog-focussed content strategy would benefit from a Managing Editor, who will bring commissioning and copy-editing skills.
Alternatively, consider a Content Designer – a digital native who combines creative talents with an analytical mind: decoding briefs, incorporating insights, and creating the content most likely to drive action.
II. Breaking out of organisational silos
Even with a dedicated content marketing resource, it’s common for internal teams to focus on their micro-objectives rather than macro-level goals. This can be overcome by creating an Editorial Board: a forum to bring together diverse voices from around the business. This high-level meeting ensures the content strategy is being implemented with company-wide support.
The Editorial Board should enable businesses to step back and review overall performance according to agreed KPIs and goals. It should also facilitate the sharing and updating of the Editorial Calendar to ensure that activity in one part of the business – such as a CSR project or sales promotion – is supported and amplified by the entire organisation.
Central to the Editorial Board is a Managing Editor who writes briefs, commissions and liaises with creators, and oversees the strategy implementation. In larger organisations, this person is managed by a Content Director, tasked with evangelising content marketing, pitching for budgets and overseeing production.
III. Scaling it up
Scaling a content marketing operation can be hugely challenging. But look at big global brands like Nike and Innocent. How do they manage to keep tight control of their brand, yet also allow local markets to leverage inside knowledge to target the right communities with the right tone?
Key to increasing the sophistication of a business’ content marketing is establishing common workflows across teams and territories. These workflows should be centred around customer experience, using insight from local data, and underpinned by shared technology platforms for content production and digital asset management. They must also, of course, be firmly tethered to the Content Marketing Playbook.
For international brands like Timberland, who want to take a genuinely customer-centric approach to content marketing, local markets need to be given flexibility to create locally relevant content within the framework of a global strategy. Well-conceived global assets, translated and localised, can still drive most locally published content. A global Editorial Board may also be required to provide governance and guidance.
IV. Agile content – fusing art with science to steal a march on competitors
Media newsrooms and science labs provide the model for the most sophisticated content marketing operations. A newsroom mentality allows the content team to be agile and responsive to news and trends, and to seize opportunities. This approach demands trusted leadership from an empowered Head of Content with round-the-clock support from creatives and data analysts. It also requires a finely tuned governance process and, ideally, legal support.
To ensure a content machine is efficient and effective, businesses need to be armed with creative innovators and a scientific method for testing new ideas, driving a ‘fail fast, succeed faster’ ethos.
Talk to us
Does your organisation need an operating model for effective content marketing?
Our four-week sprint programme will define the right blend of people, processes and technology. It includes:
Interviews with key stakeholders
Review of your current documentation
Audit of existing personas and journeys
Review of customer touchpoint strategy
Review of existing production processes
Audit of current content formats and cadence
Development of long-list of experiments
The output will include recommendations on the composition of in-house teams and requirements for agency support, plus bespoke workflow and governance.
To find out more get in touch with the team.
How to improve your content marketing in 2021
Many brands are looking for a more sophisticated approach to their content marketing which is why we’ve created an in-depth whitepaper to help you go from ‘good to great’. Produced by our specialist team of content strategists, this piece provides an operational and measurement framework for content marketing and clearly outlines how to up your content marketing game.