How to improve content performance and operations output

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Magician

 

Marketing leaders, and the executive team to which they are accountable, understandably want to improve performance of customer facing content, get better outputs from content operations, and better returns on content investments.

At the recent Content Marketing World, content ROI was a prominent topic.

This post will provide an overview vision of what you must do to tune your content operations for optimal performance.

Content operations performance means the ability to reliably and consistently meet content standards you’ve identified:

  • Quality
  • Timing (continuous and rapid time-to-market)
  • Quantity (to cover requirements with versions and formats)
  • Audience relevance
  • As well as other factors you’ve identified (reuse).

There are so many factors marketers must optimize, starting with resolving their challenges, as well as new, digital era content criteria.

Content requirements and challenges

 

We will explain our recommendation for an operational shift in the first video below. The second video illustrates how this works using a new, continuous publishing, or “content supply chain process.” 

 

Why Don’t You Get the Most

To resolve a problem it helps to understand its underlying causes.

We’ll highlight a few, of very many, that indicate some of the primary changes required to resolve this problem.

We find it useful to consider causes, or challenges, in three categories, Strategic, Operational and Technique.

Strategic — Principles 

The conventional approach to content delegates content responsibility to each business function. They define, budget for, and create the content they require to meet their business obligations. Traditional content is primarily a way to deliver vendor messages. This approach has created a process that has been characterized as, ad hoc, random acts of content.

The result is siloed decision-making, and limited synergy for planning, budgets, and resources.  Planning and preparation is focused primarily on what’s required to satisfy trigger event requirements, within specific tactical groups, within a separate business function. Inefficiencies result, especially an inability to scale outputs and versions, as indicated by the adage, “you can have it good, fast or cheap ….”

The implications of the digital era, with content marketing strategies, empowered buyer realities, and digital communication opportunities, has flipped everything.

The strategic implications include a need for universal and foundational, planning and preparation for content work, that can be shared across all customer engaging, content dependent groups. For example, why should every project or tactic have to figure out audience personas or the best wording, from scratch?

Many of our 6 Competencies Framework for an Marketing and Sales Content Strategy apply to each group and content project. We use the word “enterprise” deliberately to suggest there is core work that should be provided to each business function and content project as a starting foundation.

Operational — Processes

As a result of 20 years producing content for B2B enterprises, we’ve concluded:

The traditional, project-oriented, creative craftsman approach to content production is outdated. It will not meet the many new content requirements of empowered buyers, and their digital channel and format preferences.

It can’t efficiently support the content requirements of ALL customer engaging functions across the enterprise. It cannot scale without compromise. 

Reliance on SME for content Gartner blog comment523x377Another constraining factor that indicates the need for a process change is the tendency to rely on subject experts as content creators. In fact, it may be assumed method as the sidebar comment reveals.

One even hears recommendations from pundits that everyone should create content, including sales people.

We believe organizations need a different, better operations process. Over the last few years, we developed a content supply chain process that addresses these issues. The videos below provide an overview, and posts that follow will explain this process in greater detail.

Techniques — Practices

Techniques develop in line with working processes. Change the process and two things happen: you must change some of the techniques, and you can change techniques.

Consider digital video as an example. Look at how radically that process and associated techniques have changed that capability.

 

Re-examine the Hub and Spoke Content Method

You have undoubtedly heard of the practice of creating content pillars from which smaller content can be extracted. This is a good, if small, first step.

A publishing approach, which is based upon a content supply chain process, designs content for multiple … purposes, personas, audience problems, stages in their solution journey, industry considerations, channels and formats. This video explains this fundamental shift in the approach to content creation. Other important shifts support it.

Visualize the Content Supply Chain in Practice

This means every content project should leverage this process as they shift from periodic content projects, to a continuous publishing operation. This is especially appropriate for major content initiatives, such as new product introductions, demand management programs, and content for sales and channel enablement. This video explains.  

Summary

At this point you might be thinking, “what the heck?” It may seem daunting. In much the way magic tricks baffle the mind, until you learn the technique. The content supply chain approach creates a similar reaction.

The thing is, which of those new content criteria or requirements are you willing to compromise, and what impact will that have on your desired outcomes?  Much the way manufacturing re-engineering in the 90s produced simultaneous improvements in product quality and reliability, through-put, delivery times, and lower costs, a shift to a content supply chain process and program can have similar impact on content operations.

 

Related Content

Content Supply Chain Operations Model