Marketing Manager or Managing Editor: How to Streamline Content Overload
February 5, 2019
Content has become synonymous with marketing. Gone are the days when marketers could push content to the back-burner, focusing on it only when they had a little extra time. To remain competitive today, marketers must oversee and create content that compels readers while mapping back to strategy, messaging and brand voice.
But this can be tricky business, and has introduced two significant challenges that continue to stump marcomm teams. The first is the obvious resource strain. Unless you are at a large enterprise, your marketing team is likely comprised of marketing generalists, with perhaps one or two content experts. According to Curata, only 42 percent of companies have hired a designated content strategist executive. This means that the time- and energy-intensive task of strategizing, writing, editing, distributing and tracking content, and the success of those projects, sits on the shoulders of teams that are likely spread too thin.
Moreover, content can be a significant burden when the internal team does not have access to someone with journalistic training. When a company is trying to tell a meaningful story, in a way that breaks through the ridiculous amount of noise we’re all dealing with on a daily basis, it’s critical that the writing is factual, authentic, original and clear. Nobody is better at this than journalists. Quality content is rooted in journalism, yet the vast majority of marketers do not have education or experience in professional writing.
There’s no shortage of amazing freelance journalists and writers for hire to get content projects off the ground. They are a great resource. But when a marcomm team is working on numerous projects with a revolving door of freelance writers, teams still feel the strain on their time and end up wearing a managing editor hat more often than a marketing or PR hat. While a marketing manager fully understands the company voice and message, he may not have the time or knowledge to be a managing editor. Further, juggling projects across a broad range of freelancers (getting them up to speed, connecting them with internal experts, shuffling invoices, etc.) is time consuming, drawing the marketer father away from his day-to-day responsibilities.
If you are among the many in-house communications professionals dealing with these challenges, check out our tips below. These will help you streamline content overload and make working with writers easier, so you can get back to your day job.
- Strip it down: Go back to square one with your content approach and make sure you have a solid, functioning strategy in place. It should clearly outline the types of content you are creating, how these will meet goals, their efficacy in reaching and engaging customers, the budget and a plan for utilizing various distribution channels. Managing projects with freelancers will be much easier with a thorough and attainable strategy in place. It also ensures everyone is on the same page, so projects can be successfully delegated.
- Be smart about how you use content platforms: A number of content platforms, such as Curata, Percolate, Kapost and others have emerged, applying the power of technology to common content marketing challenges. When used right, these can make a real impact in streamlining content operations and initiatives. They help with organizing projects, finding writers, budgeting and more. For time-strapped teams though, these services can be a slippery slope to freelancer and content overload. They are worth a look, and may make sense for your team, but don’t expect a silver bullet.
- Find reliable partners you can use again and again: Sure, you could read this as a shameless plug. But the reality is that your most valuable resource in the quest for content will be a writer or content partner that deeply understands your business and industry. The ideal partner will be trained in the art of journalism and copyediting, passionate about journalistic standards and capable of weaving a story that supports the company’s messaging without being self-serving.
- Remember you are not an island: Even if you are a one-woman marketing team, you are not an island. Others in the organization can and should be leveraged to help elevate and maintain content efforts. If your product team has requested a technical data sheet, or your sales team has asked for a whitepaper, you can lean on internal resources in other departments to work with writers and ensure they are getting the input they need to succeed in drafting content. Though content typically falls to the marketing team, it is useful across HR, investor relations, customer service and more. Marketing teams shouldn’t be afraid to reach across departments for support on these types of initiatives.
Whether through media relations or content creation, we’d love to help you tell great stories. I wholeheartedly agree with Jay Acunzo, whose quote was featured in our February newsletter trend spotlight: “Stories contain conflict. Something is at stake. There’s friction. There’s a hero. Action. Emotion. But then we go to work and forget what a narrative arc actually requires, and so rather than arc, our work flatlines. There’s no hidden or corporate meaning behind the word ‘story.’ We know what they are. And we need to start telling them.”
His point rings true and serves as sound advice for anyone responsible for managing or developing content marketing.
-Ashley, Director of Content at Barokas Communications