If I asked you to close your eyes and imagine a content factory, what would you envision?
Most of us associate factories with images of busy assembly lines filled with high-tech machinery. We might think about the people, parts, and processes that it takes to create a product like the laptop I’m writing this article on or the smart phone you might be using to read it. Put the word content in front of factory, however, and people often get a little confused. It’s not that they don’t understand what one is (a little explanation goes a long way), but rather that they can’t always immediately make sense of why a company would go to the trouble of building one.
Let me explain the rationale by using OpenView as an example.
If you’re familiar with OpenView, you know that we regularly generate eBooks, reports, case studies, articles, videos, and podcasts, among other types of content. When I talk about our content factory, I’m referring to the infrastructure that we have in place to facilitate all of that work (our managing editor, freelancers, content creation and editorial calendars, etc.). It’s the careful orchestration of people, processes, and tools that allows us to not only produce a steady stream of high-quality content, but also get it out the door so that people can use it.
So why would a venture capital firm (or any company for that matter) that neither sells its content nor uses it to generate advertising revenue invest the time and resources it takes to build a content factory? The simple answer is that OpenView recognizes that we live in a content-centric world.
Having our own content factory helps us to take advantage of that fact so that we can achieve some important goals such as:
1. Providing our customers with information they need
At OpenView, our “customers” are our investors and the portfolio companies that we back. By producing content that we believe our portfolio companies will find useful as they grow (primarily how-to content on a range of operational issues they face), we’re trying to help them succeed. That’s an approach that not only serves their ultimate goals, but ours and our investors’ as well.
2. Making our firm a trusted source of information
When you publish useful content on a regular basis, over time you’ll invariably become a (maybe even the) source that people go to for specific information. If you’re good, not only will your customers look to you for information, so will prospects, competitors, and other interested parties. Although OpenView’s content was originally intended for our portfolio companies, it now gets read by thousands of people every week, including an array of entrepreneurs and other professionals who value the content we provide.
3. Driving traffic
The Internet is a crowded place. You’ve got to give people a reason to not only visit your website, but also to keep coming back. Content provides that reason. Once you’ve established yourself as a trusted source of information, your site will become a destination. When it does, you’ll have a lot more eyes looking at your site, greatly increasing your chances of converting some of them into customers.
4. Enhancing our brand
Over time, a content factory can have a cumulative, positive effect that will help to elevate your brand. It can help establish you as an expert or even a thought leader. It can also help extend your reach so that more people know who you are and what you do. Finally, if you’re equipped to produce great content on a regular basis, it will go a long way toward helping you stand out from your competitors.
These are just some of the many benefits of having a content factory that every company should consider when deciding whether or not to build one themselves. Although it may seem daunting at first, it’s really only takes a relatively small investment to build one, and yet it can have a very large impact on your organization’s success. Stay tuned for future posts in which I will outline the best practices companies should follow to build content factories of their own.