The existing world of marketing is broken. I say this because everything has changed in the last 3-4 years. Content channels have grown, mobile is becoming more dominant, tablet’s and their eco systems are emerging; where once the web was the only place to play with content, now as a marketer you have to deal with mobile, tablet’s ebooks, SEO, and social communities.
That explosion of channels and strategies; along with the need to optimize for each channel means the existing processes for managing content creation and optimization don’t work.
And if you run a company where you outsource content creation to agencies, no longer can you afford to have one agency focus on creating and optimizing just their piece of the puzzle. Now each agency and internal team has to understand how to work together to get more return from content that’s optimized for different strategies across all of the new channels.
For example, I recall sitting in a room at a large company, where a content creation team was discussing how to create content for print, the web and the tablet, off to the side was the SEO person who wasn’t contributing, or driving the conversation, while PR was nowhere to be seen. While the meeting was a step forward because those different teams were thinking about how to leverage created content across different channels, the team wasn’t thinking about how to leverage content across different marketing strategies effectively.
Part of the problem was that the managers could not see the whole picture as it comes to digital content strategy because they had not experienced how to make effective digital content; you needed to understand how the eco-system of the web works.
The other part of the problem was how the company’s internal and external agencies are managed. All of the agencies are competing with one another; the goal is to grow each group or agency’s piece of the pie. That’s natural, but also not helpful in today’s ever expanding marketing channel world.
The idea of content gardens is the idea that you create a digital presence and digital content strategy that sources content that works for how the eco-system of the web works. So you hire paid writers because they can write ready to go SEO copy. You encourage columnist sign-ups, because of the quality of the content, and the existing relationships with social influencers, and you have a community manager to share and engage the community. Sites like Mashable, Wholefoods and Ford’s digital social site all understand how to source content not just for the channel but also for the digital marketing strategies so that you build a successful digital marketing presence.
In addition to thinking about how you leverage content creation and optimization across channels and strategies, I also recommend companies rethink their model of publishing by internal teams and agencies.
- Build an overall model of publishing. Define your audience, and which channels you now need to use to reach them. List out all of the possible strategies you need to incorporate to build the most successful content on the web.
- Rethink partnerships with agencies. For companies break down the barriers between agencies, make them work together to optimize and leverage across channels and strategies.
- Agencies rethink partnerships with agencies. Don’t be limited by the idea of just growing your own piece of the pie, instead think about what would be possible if you were able to partner with your client’s other agency partners. Not only will everyone be able to do more with less, but you’ve built a partnership with another agency that could be used with other clients.