Consumers today engage with brands in new and exciting ways. Multichannel engagement is the norm, but with so many touch points—website, social media, email—managing content while delivering the customized messaging is a challenge. Add to that the continuous, round-the-clock nature of social media and consumers expect content to be instant, highly personalized, even targeted to where they are.
Historically, in most organizations, content marketing strategy was handled by the marketing department—one campaign with multiple assets was employed by all teams across the organization. Today, and with the advent of social media in particular, the cycle of content creation, approval, and distribution has changed dramatically.
External Agency vs. In-House
An integrated content marketing approach is the only way for brands to bring the process together while rolling it up into broader business and marketing goals. But how do organizations create consistency across varied content marketing channels? Some outsource content strategy to an external agency, while others maintain a core content within their organization.
Utilizing an External Agency. An external agency spearheading content marketing strategy can result in a more organized workflow and a steady supply of high-quality assets. Yet, quality content comes at a price and it can be challenging to transfer core values, brand voice, and overall messaging in a timely manner. Nevertheless, the right agency can alleviate pressure on a marketing team that often is tasked with filtering endless amounts of content. With multiple teams piling into a central repository, the amount of content that needs to be assessed for tone, style, and consistency simply isn’t scalable. Automating filter functionalities by building them into external workflow makes sense.
In-house Dedicated Content Team. Managing thousands of pages of content in-house can be challenging, as this team will be tasked with collaborating and sharing content across the company. However, an in-house team may be able to maintain consistency better than an external agency could. Assets are more contained, and as a result, can move through longer creation and approval cycles before distribution. The only exception to this is social media, where there isn’t time to move through the same process as email or Web content.
Whether you have a dedicated content team on staff creating high-quality assets or you’re working with an external agency to develop a content marketing strategy, the key is to break down the silos around the content repository to give people visibility into what’s out there and available for them to use. Integration across content development, publishing, and tracking is critical for success and the answer to seamless end-to-end content management.
A Data-Driven Approach
A core component to solving the challenge around scaling content delivery and management is data. A data-driven approach means having the ability to track not only where content is going, but also who is engaging with it and why. Data creates a clear picture for decision-making across the entire customer journey from discovery to conversion.
Knowing precisely the impact specific content has creates opportunities to enhance customer experience. For years, marketers have been using data to track the demographics of visitors to a website. By gleaning new insights—what pages they visit, how long they stay on each page, and which elements they look at the longest, it’s possible to connect the dots. Rather than simply producing content randomly or struggling with which type of content to produce, a data-driven approach enables more effective content decisions.
The Bottom Line
Content marketing is growing rapidly and will continue to place demands on organizations. Brands looking to stay ahead of the content curve need to centralize access to business assets, providing teams the visibility and opportunity to use content that is consistent with brand voice and messaging. Breaking down silos between teams ensures content not only ties back to the customer, but also has a positive impact on engagement and conversion.
As consumers rely more and more on content to make purchasing decisions, it’s up to brands to coordinate an effective content marketing strategy that optimizes the development, creation and distribution. Whether you decide to work with an external agency or pursue content marketing strategy in-house, an integrated data-driven approach for a solid understanding of the customer is the key.