“We don’t have enough content.”
B2B marketers frequently lament the gap between the content they need and that which they’re able to produce. Even marketers who are comfortable with their volume worry about its quality and look to upgrade their arsenals. This game isn’t getting any easier, and marketers need more high-quality content to meet their goals.
But do they really?
For all the talk about the content shortage, conversations with over 400 marketers over the last year revealed that just one in six marketers said they actually suffered from a lack of content. In the vast majority of cases, the culprit turned out to be coordination. They have plenty of content, but it doesn’t get where it needs to be when it needs to be there. Here are three common reasons why this tends to happen.
Content is created for specific products
In many B2B marketing organizations, product marketers are split off from brand marketers. This empowers deep focus on unique product needs, but often results in product content with little connection to the broader company story. Consequently, it collects digital dust after it fulfills its original purpose instead of being reconfigured to meet other needs.
Content is stuck in technology silos
Specialization is a major rallying cry of the marketing technology industry. We need a dedicated team and purpose-built tools for email marketing, social media, mobile and web. And while these tools have indeed helped unleash the potential of each channel, they have also fortified silo walls between the teams that operate them
Content is made inconsistently
B2B marketing organizations in particular are often urged by sales to create “one and done” content for specific customers. This work is vital to meeting special needs in the moment, but the content produced typically doesn’t happen inside the standard marketing processes. As a result, it often exists outside brand standards, can be cumbersome to adapt for broader needs and ultimately suffers from a short lifespan.
Good marketing drives successful outcomes
What happens to all of this content created for specific product needs, stuck in single channel software repositories and made inconsistently with brand guidelines? It gets lost in the shuffle. It doesn’t get reused. Work gets duplicated. Compromises get made. Ideas and experiences that could provide valuable exchange between teams don’t happen. And with so much time and energy invested in poorly coordinated results, marketers predictably lament their organizations’ insufficiency of resources to meet new content needs.
But these are not quantity problems—they are coordination problems, best solved with process. And contrary to a common fear amongst marketers, process does not hinder one’s ability to create. It instead facilitates it with a clarity of purpose and accessibility of resources.
Here are a few simple ways to begin:
Make planning your mantra
Unplanned projects take people away from the strategic work that needs to get done, and it usually gets executed outside of official channels. That makes it harder to ensure that the best stuff makes it into the marketing bloodstream. A good content intake planning process not only enables greater volumes of work but also initiates a record of every asset produced so that it can be easily leveraged again in the future.
Create strategic briefs
Briefs are simple blueprints that depict what each piece of marketing content needs to accomplish. It takes just a few lines of direction to ensure strategic alignment and quality control of results. More importantly, content gets made with far less of every content marketer’s least favorite activity: revisions.
Develop a modular mindset
Much of the content that marketers need is unique to the purposes for which they create it. But there’s also a good chunk that is valuable across purposes. By creating and making available modular, atomic units of your content, you not only save marketing team members the time and trouble of recreating it from scratch for other purposes, but you also ensure consistency of brand messaging.
Try a shared calendar
You can’t fix what you can’t see. One of the core challenges marketers share is that there simply isn’t enough visibility across teams. By creating a shared calendar of all in-progress content, individuals can help each other early and often.
The content bottleneck is only going to grow more intense in the coming years. To get ahead of the curve, marketers must have a well-defined process in place that helps avoid coordination problems. When the content you have (but didn’t know about) never sees the light of day and you’ve already expended your creative resources on content that can’t be repurposed, then you really will find yourself with a content quantity problem. Put a strong marketing content process in place now, and you won’t have to worry about catching up in the future.