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In the last blog post, we discussed the fourth of five core marketing processes essential to effective and efficient marketing operations — the campaign development process. This month, we are discussing content operations.

Let’s face it, marketers have been developing content for eons, and we don’t need to discuss the basic process around content development. But there are several new factors that require content operations and associated processes to bind it all together:

  • A requirement to develop content in such a way that it can be splintered
  • Multiple sources of content (including blog posts) from many regions of the firm
  • New formats for content such as interactive whitepapers
  • New channels for business including blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
  • New requirements for tracking content effectiveness

If you arbitrarily combine the disparate teams developing content, with the types of content, the tools for handling and storing content, and all the channels, the result is chaos.

Content Operations Process

In 2015, the Content Marketing Institute shared that on average, B2B marketers allocate 28 percent of their total marketing budget to content marketing. That’s right, one third of the total budget going to content and yet:

  • Only 30 percent of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing, down from 38% last year — Content Marketing Institute, 2015
  • 55 percent of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like – Content Marketing Institute, 2015
  • Only 32 percent of B2B marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy — Content Marketing Institute, 2015

Wow! One third of the marketing budget is devoted to content and yet only one third have a strategy.

To avoid the chaos and spend your budget wisely, you will be well served by organizing your content operations along these lines:

  • Strategy — Start with the demand gen plan and the customer lifecycle (buying journey) and work backwards to a content plan. Do not start with the product/service and go forward.
  • Ideate — Provide a central location to share and house ideas across the firm.
  • Produce — Provide one or more centralized functions for planning and production of content, publishing content calendars, streamlining the production process and driving brand alignment.
  • Publish — Have a plan for all the channels you want to support and the content formats needed. Coordinate release of content on different channels. i.e. the blog folks should know what the social team and inbound team are doing, as should the email campaign folks and the sales enablement team.
  • House — Provide a central location for all content. Make it easy for sales and channel partners, as well as remote marketing folks to browse the library by topic, format, campaign suitability, and success at driving prospect and customer engagement.
  • Curate — Don’t just leave content sitting on the digital shelf. Retire old content, splinter new content, figure out all the places it can be used — audience and channel. Someone should own maximizing the use of these assets.
  • Measure — Most importantly, don’t forget to measure content effectiveness above and beyond impressions. I.e. measure engagement, and influence on your pipeline.

Content Operations Technology

If your marketing organization is centralized in one location and you are less than 50 people, you may not need any fancy technology to help you execute the seven steps listed above. You can probably get by with Basecamp, JIRA or spreadsheets. But if you are investing hundreds of thousands in developing and promoting content, and have marketing in two or more locations, you will benefit from setting the content factory up right. Look at products like Kapost or Compendium to streamline the content operations process.

Final Wrinkle

Our firm has less than 100 people, so we are limited as to how much content we can create. So, we want to easily leverage relevant, new content/articles we find on the internet to share with our database. We want to enable the sales team to do the same.

Most importantly, we want to measure the engagement with these articles and even adjust prospects’ and customers’ lead score based on engaging with this content.

We don’t want to have to license the content. How is this possible you ask? Well, we use Grapevine6 to find the articles, we promote them through the corporate and employee social channels, and we enable our sales team with Marketo Sales Insight (MSI) to share directly with prospects. And we tag all of the recipients by having the article first link through a redirect page that we control. After the recipient reads the article, if they are already in our database, we bump their score. If they are not yet in our database, we put them in a remarketing campaign on Facebook aligned to the article they read. We just extended our content reach to 100K new articles every week. Another wow.