5 ways to get a handle on content run amok
- Posted on August 24, 2018
This article was originally written by Avanade alum Priscilla Donegan and Stella Goulet.
It’s often said that content is king. But sometimes the king runs amok: too much content, coming from too many teams within the business, misaligned messaging, the wrong tone of voice.
It’s a scenario faced by many global marketing organizations. And at Avanade we’re no exception. Like other B2B marketers today, we increasingly use content to develop better connections with our key audiences. It’s a lesson learned from B2C companies, which have been using content to get closer to the consumer for some time now.
As clients’ expectations for useful content on a wide range of topics have grown, so too has the volume of content we produce. We recently decided to look at how to better manage that content. It doesn’t mean we want to control all the content. It means we want to ensure that we inspire our clients with strong, relevant content with consistent messages and brand voice.
Lessons learned on our content journey
We’ve learned a lot on our content journey so far, but five things stand out.
- Start with strategy. Know what you’re trying to solve for – for example, improved content consistency, visibility, quality, etc. – and develop a strategy to address your specific challenges. In our case, we put in place a content operating model with the objective of removing departmental silos, focusing on our priorities, and better coordinating content production plans and teams. Our approach includes a Content Council, made up of people involved in producing and using content, both in marketing and beyond. The council’s role includes addressing issues related to content, reducing silos, reviewing key content and overseeing the editorial calendar.
- Put the right processes and governance in place. For instance, we established regular editorial reviews, which have improved quality, and helped reduce duplication of content and identify content gaps. We now use a centralized writing approach for some of our content, which has provided a more aligned tone of voice and better quality, as well as cost savings. And while we don’t want to be content police, we’ve implemented governance around content like our corporate overview story and company factsheets to ensure they’re kept up to date.
- Arm your teams with the right tools. For example, implementing an editorial calendar can go a long way to increasing visibility into the content that’s coming. It’s a helpful tool for both content developers and users. In addition, providing templates for content like web pages can improve consistency and speed up production and posting. And tone of voice/writing guidelines or a corporate style guide is an essential tool for marketers, writers and agencies.
- Focus on relevant topics and formats. This requires understanding your audiences and the kind of content they’re looking for. Ongoing research across multiple personas helps us identify the most relevant topics, formats and channels. But resist the temptation to cover everything; pick your priorities and stick to them.
- Measure the metrics that matter. We’re still working on this one, but assessing the performance of our content across key channels, including our website, digital advertising and social media, is critical to ensuring we’re delivering the right content for our key audiences. It also points to the importance of the martech stack, including the CMS system, to track, measure and analyze content performance. This ultimately helps us deliver better client experiences via capabilities like increased personalization.
Realizing the fruits of our labor
Our journey isn’t over yet. Reining in the king isn’t easy, and we still have plenty to do. But we’re providing better value to our clients, as well as improving quality, consistency and focus. What’s more, we’ve improved coordination and collaboration on content across teams both inside and outside marketing. And that’s a big step forward.