Paying attention to content strategy within an organization is more important than most managers probably think.
The fact is: The consumption of information through social and other “new” media is on the rise. According to “The Social Media Habits of B2B Customers,” a study conducted by Forrester earlier this year, 98 percent of business decision-makers read blogs, watch videos or listen to podcasts. Clearly, these platforms are becoming increasingly invaluable for companies interested in using content for marketing purposes. You can also check out the survey Greentarget led with InsideCounsel and Zeughauser Group related to social and new media habits involving in-house counsel. That survey showed that blogs continue to serve as an important information resource and, when executed well, are influencing hiring decisions.
But who’s responsible for managing all of this content within a single organization—ensuring that the content produced is highly valuable to readers, that all platforms and resources are utilized most effectively, and that the content is reaching the target audience?
According to a recent op-ed in Adweek penned by Barry Lowenthal, president of communications consultant The Media Kitchen, it’s the job of a company’s head of content strategy, creation and distribution. But few companies actually have someone in this role, and they don’t even know it. “I bet many senior executives think this person already exists in the organizations, but I’m pretty sure they’re wrong,” he said.
Lowenthal believes a company’s content strategist should be at the VP level, reporting to the chief marketing officer, and must possess the ability to evangelize the importance of content in driving business results. And he’s right.
Research indicates that more companies are beginning to pour resources into content development. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s study, “B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America,” content marketing’s share of budget grew nearly 27 percent from 2012 to 2013 and 54 percent of companies plan to increase their budgets for content management in 2014. Additionally, marketing executive Holger Schulze revealed in his 2013 B2B Content Marketing Report that 82 percent of businesses plan to increase content production over the next 12 months.
This level of investment deserves—no, requires—an experienced and dedicated leader.
Lowenthal envisions the VP of content strategy will initially focus his efforts entirely inward, fully engaging in the organization’s offering and how it relates to the customer, as well as assess the company’s already existing content. Then, this person will work closely with the CMO to create a well-defined content strategy that fully addresses the needs of the company and its clients, and build a team to support that effort.
“To ultimately be successful, these staffers must be curious—part journalist, part marketer and part anthropologist—with deep institutional and intuitive knowledge of the company’s mission,” he said.
Visit our blog next week for an ongoing discussion on content and editorial strategy.