Guest Post: 3 Common Issues with Your Approach to Content (And How to Fix Them Today)

By John EllettOctober 14, 2016austin ama, Brand, Marketing
3 Common Issues with Your Content Approach

This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on nFusion’s blog and was reprinted here with permission. If you’d like to submit a guest post, contact AMA Austin volunteer Bana Jobe.

I’ve had numerous conversations with CMOs who frustratingly declared that their number one headache is content creation. They fully appreciate the need to produce more relevant content, more frequently and more efficiently. Yet they are encountering numerous issues that get in the way of executing this critical element of their modern marketing tool set.

I believe the most common issues marketing leaders have today when it comes to producing quality content are: channel myopia, random acts of content and supply-chain disruption. Let me elaborate.

1. Channel Myopia

Most content today is produced to fill a specific need within a particular channel of communications, such as social media, email or blog, each with its own channel managers. This leads to two problems. The first is that subject matter experts (SMEs), one of most companies’ scarcest resources, are being asked for input and review from numerous content creators. This creates delays in producing content because of the limited availability of SMEs. It also creates fragmentation of messages since content for different channels is produced by separate teams at different times. Try instead creating a bundle of content that involves an SME once and then creates an integrated set of content optimized for various channels.

2. Random Acts of Content

In the channel-driven content model, content is produced to meet the schedules of that specific channel. It may be near real-time for social, weekly for email and whenever for the website. Or it may be driven by the latest request from a senior exec that “has something to say.” The result is inconsistent content, both in terms of timing and message. And it is often more focused on what the brand wants to say instead of what the customer wants to see or hear. Defining a content calendar that is aligned with customers’ interests, the place in their decision journey and the key messages of the brand will help reduce the randomness issue.

3. Supply-chain Disruption

Marketers are using different organizational models for creating content. Some are trying to build internal content studios to keep variable costs down. But this approach often leads to log jams when the fixed resources are tapped out. It also leads to producing only the type of content the fixed team is capable of producing. While some companies have refined the internal studio model, I often hear frustrations about the lack of responsiveness and the creative quality from this approach. Other companies rely on their brand agencies to produce content under the assumption that these agencies already know the brand. But many talented creatives who are developing TV commercials or dramatic digital experiences simply don’t want to be bothered with the long-tail of content needed today. Additionally, some companies are bundling content creation with their media buys and relying on publishers to produce it. While this works in limited situations, it is not a very flexible or scalable model. Finally, some marketers hire freelance talent to produce their content. This model may work for smaller companies, but the multi-freelancer management nightmares for larger companies make this an impractical approach for many modern marketers.

By custom-assembling the right resources for the brand’s needs from a scalable pool of talent, by applying best-in-class methodologies for planning and creating customer-relevant content, and by building feedback loops to optimize content over time, you can overcome the common issues which are creating headaches today.

John shares his insights on marketing at Forbes’ CMO Network, the nFusion blog and in The CMO Manifesto.