Over the last six years – I’ve seen some of the best and worst content marketing programs, and plenty in between. And it’s long fascinated me what it is that differentiates the two.
As a team, we’re frequently debating what makes a client’s content marketing successful, and the good news is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the sector they’re in, the size of the organisation or even the size of the marketing budget. In our experience, it all comes down to how content is perceived and operationalised across the business.
One of the greatest challenges we experience with clients across EMEA is the siloing of content marketing. Too many brands are still treating it as a pet project for the marketing team (or content team, or SEO team, or digital team…), without understanding the real, tangible value it can deliver across the business when done properly.
Fortunately – or unfortunately – we’re not the only ones. “Evangelising and socialising content strategy (and content, period)” is one of the top five content marketing goals identified in recent research of global enterprises by Rebecca Lieb. Another is having the right people onboard.
“A global content strategy requires buy-in from senior leadership” (hear, hear). “It also requires content leaders, often in central command roles, as well as regional leaders who can help oversee efforts on the ground in, say, Europe, Asia or Latin America. People in lines of business other than marketing have to be involved in content initiatives, too,” writes Lieb.
Brands that don’t make the commitment to effectively organise for content marketing wind up with all sorts of problems. We’ve seen it time and time again – multiple teams working in silos, with their own competing assets operating without an overarching ecosystem that allows them to work better and more efficiently towards a common goal. These teams then waste time and resources producing content – some of it good, some of it not so good – staggeringly similar to content already produced by various other teams. And don’t even get me started on the content carefully planned, produced, approved, yet never published or amplified – left to gather virtual dust on the company server.
Content marketing isn’t just a marketing tactic, it’s a change in business mindset. To do content marketing well requires the entire organisation to change the way they think about communicating with customers and prospects. And that mindset and support must absolutely come from the C-suite down – without it, the sales, customer service, brand, PR and product teams aren’t accountable for participating in the overarching content marketing process. Cue silos.
Looking ahead, this challenge presents us with a great opportunity – working with client teams to equip them to better organise, structure and manage content marketing.
It’s no easy feat. But the key ingredient in this socialising and organising of content marketing is finding the common ground that binds all these teams together – the common goal, the common metric they’re all working towards. It’s this business-wide approach that makes the work we’re doing with clients more exciting than ever.