If you haven’t already bought into the concept that content marketing is more important than ever, and that it impacts the entire marketing mix, this post is not for you. You can find the information you’re looking for in articles like B2B Magazine’s “Content marketing becoming vital” or Content Marketing Institute’s “2012 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends.”
For those of who are still reading, consider the following real scenario, with names redacted to protect the innocent. Company A believes in content marketing, and whether they know it by that name or call it something else, they invest tens of thousands of dollars per month in content marketing programs. Here’s a breakdown of who handles which pieces of content marketing in Company A:
- Small internal marketing team: Handles primarily lead generation and partner marketing programs. This team creates some content such as corporate website copy, but it’s difficult for the people managing the team and the process to also create content.
- Small employee blogger team: Employees blog when they can, and often times post excellent thought leadership material. Blogging, however, is not a requirement, and therefore suffers in the face of higher priorities.
- Public relations agency: Creates press releases, media briefs, and bylined articles.
- Content marketing/social media firm: Manages all blog content and distribution, as well as social media content calendar.
- PPC/SEO Consultant: Creates PPC ads for search engine marketing campaigns, and handles some SEO copywriting and meta tag creation.
- Other consultants/internal staff: Others jump in when needed or hired for things like webinar, white paper or PowerPoint creation.
The good news is that these teams create lots of content. The even better news is that these teams create some impactful, high quality pieces of content. And yet the overarching complaint from those inside the company is that the core corporate message is non-existent at worst and inconsistent at best, throughout the content marketing effort.
What’s likely the heart of this problem? No one person or entity owns content marketing. The effort is completely decentralized, including administrative, management, and execution pieces.
Centralizing your content marketing program is not necessarily easy, but offers the following tangible benefits:
1. Higher quality content
There’s a reason every major print and web publisher is always on the lookout for great editors. Amongst other things, editors not only guide content direction, but they ensure that every piece of content meets the standards of the publication or website.
Your effort as a content marketer is no different. Centralize the effort and establish a single owner, whether it be a person or an entity, and the quality of your content will improve.
2. More consistent messaging
In the scenario above, it’s almost impossible to achieve consistent messaging. Not only does the program lack an owner, but there are 5-6 different groups creating content without any concrete direction. If you want consistent messaging, it has to start at the top, and then get communicated down to every level, person or group that is involved with the program.
3. Long-term cost savings
Company A has at least 6 different groups creating content, and no single group or person managing the content marketing program. Establish a single owner structure, and reduce the amount of people responsible for content creation, and there is no question that Company A would reduce their content marketing costs over the long haul.
A forewarning on this one: Many companies, when exploring this type of centralization option, conveniently forget to include the real cost of full-time employees that are dedicating a portion of their time to content marketing. When I talk about long-term cost savings, it’s critical to start not just with “outsourced” dollars, but with all dollars being spent inside and outside the company.
4. Meaningful reporting
Right now, Company A generates a bunch of reports, some of which include meaningful pieces, but nothing that ties it all together. They may know they need to issue press releases, write blog posts, and send email newsletters regardless of what the reports say, but to track return on investment at some point, you need to know what went into each piece, and what you got out of it. Based on those factors, maybe you heavy up in one area, and lighten or even remove time and money from another area. If you don’t have someone looking at how all the pieces fit together, and how all those pieces are performing in relation to one another, you’re just capturing data, and not actually doing anything with it.
What are the other benefits to centralizing your content marketing program? For those that have been in situations like Company A, what are the pitfalls to centralizing the program? Feel free to share your thoughts below.