Creating a centralized organization for content marketing strategy and development is what’s required for radical relevance across the enterprise.
As marketing has evolved along with new channels and modes of communicating with prospects and customers, the discipline has bolted on functional silos. We’ve divided the practice into silos or groups, such as demand gen, social media, events, corporate communications, product marketing, public relations, and more.
Quite often, none of the silos speaks to the others. They don’t collaborate or cross-utilize resources or even discuss the programs each of them are running or how they could collectively be working toward overall business goals.
When we say that digital marketing requires precision, we’re not saying perfection. What we mean is getting everyone on the same page operationally. Content marketing has changed the way enterprises communicate. Content has breached the boundaries of marketing to pervade the entire company. And it should. The story a brand shares should ring true across divisions, solution areas and verticals — while allowing each area to speak clearly and with relevance to the audience that cares most. That’s the definition of precision.
A Content CoE centralizes cross-enterprise initiatives.
A Center of Excellence (CoE) is a centralized operation for all of a company’s content marketing. It serves as a facility for sharing best practices, solidifying the brand story, ensuring tone of voice, style and brand personality and positioning the brand in the marketplace. In essence, a CoE is the keeper of the buyer personas and digital content strategy that powers all marketing initiatives.
It is also the facility that houses the writers and creative workforce that produces content or provides oversight and editorial direction for all the content used by the organization. While this may sound limiting, it’s actually freeing. With sound direction and an overall content marketing strategy, the organization if freed to come up with big ideas and new stories that the market will embrace, confident that the brand story and personality will shine through as it should.
A Content CoE solves an abundance of marketing challenges.
The latest research from Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs finds that the top challenges B2B marketers face include lack of time, producing enough content, and producing engaging content. A CoE solves these challenges and many more.
For example, with a dedicated staff of writers and creatives working to plan, the three top challenges above can be all but eliminated. And the marketers in charge of solutions or verticals will now have time to focus on the details of marketing initiatives and performance that is put on the back burner to focus on content development.
Sixty-four percent of B2B marketers say they outsource content writing and 54% outsource design. With a CoE, an enterprise can bring this expertise in house for about the same cost–perhaps less–than outsourcing. In-house talent means that it’s easier to hit the precision goal due to consistency in application. A writer that writes for your company exclusively has the time to learn more about your products, your buyers and customers, and the industry you work within.
Getting more from the content produced is also made easier with a CoE. With visibility into all the content produced, ideas for reuse and re-imagining across functions can create economies of scale and reduce costs that would otherwise be spent essentially reinventing the wheel. Because the content is all developed using the same foundational story, messaging and positioning, reuse becomes a competitive advantage that should not be overlooked.
A Content CoE can take many forms.
While change is never easy, and this change will have cross-functional impacts and challenges, it’s definitely worth the effort. Unless, of course, you believe that content will cease to be a key component in marketing. Since examples of content marketing have been around for a couple hundred years, we doubt this will happen. Instead, we predict that content marketing is here to stay and will simply be “marketing” in a few more years. The time to achieve operational excellence has arrived.
Taking an iterative approach is a recommended avenue to establishing a CoE. While a worthwhile initiative, the complete operation is not usually a short-term goal. Define the CoE that’s perfect for meeting the needs of your enterprise and then develop a phased plan for implementation.
A few considerations include:
- Organization: Create organizational structure around the hierarchy of your enterprise. For example, if your marketing is currently organized around products/solutions – keep that structure, but pull the development of the marketing programs for each product/solution into the CoE.
- Services: Decide how the CoE will provide services to the rest of the enterprise. What will this framework look like? How will it be facilitated? What will be the volume of production that will be taken on? Will there be a catalog of services that divisions can order from or will packages be provided based on the overall content strategy and business objectives?
- Production: What can you staff for and provide in house vs. what makes sense to outsource? For example, if video is only an occasional use, then it doesn’t make sense to build a video studio and hire a videographer.
- Workflows and Processes: What will operations look like? What processes need to be established? Will the CoE handle only production or will it handle distribution, as well? What technologies will need to be in place to support the operation of the CoE? What do you have in place already?
- Budget: Will the enterprise fund the CoE or will it be a percentage of the overall marketing budget? Will each division pay for what they use from their marketing budgets?
Contact us to explore the value that a content center of excellence could bring to your enterprise and develop the framework to make the transition. We can help you every step of the way.