Author: Jim Burns / Source: Marketing Insider Group In Content Marketing I’m done talking about “content.” The word is too conceptual to
I’m done talking about “content.” The word is too conceptual to have any useful meaning. In my world, words matter. To work, words must convey common meaning. I believe the word “content” and how it’s used actually causes problems.
This is undoubtedly a contributor to quality problems experienced with marketing and especially selling content.
Sales tells marketing, “we need better content.” Marketing replies, “what kind of content do you need?” Sales: ” we need customer stories, presentation support, videos, etc.”
Sound familiar? And I could go on about content for certain stages, personas and industry verticals, among other important relevance categories.
Having managed a business that created content for B2B sales, marketing and training organizations for 20 years, we regularly dealt with requests expressed this way.
Knowing desired content formats, audience types and selling stages is simply insufficient input to inform quality content.
We would ask, “What exactly do you want this content to say? What outcome do you want this content to produce?” (See What “Job” Do You Want Content to Do?)
Marketing organizations are under considerable pressure to “publish or perish.” Content calendars identify topics for each asset. Perhaps personas are named, although the data show this to be exception more than rule. Writers are hired and told to write well. Often subject experts are enrolled to create content.
Without an effective, formal, content requirements document that includes quality criteria, results are dependent on resources, time available and other factors that constrain optimum outputs and quality. (See Before Your Next Content Project.)
If you’ve conducted a content audit in the last year, I hope this article will have you re-visit that work.
I invite you to adopt and promote the term “situation-ready content” across your organization, as well as in conversations and writing.
The term inherently contains the right question. “What is the situation and purpose for which this content required?” It naturally leads discussions down the path of “why, what does that mean, so what?”
Clarity of thinking about the purpose and situational use of content should lead to documenting that thinking. When you run a professional production organization that depends on customer satisfaction with the outputs you deliver, you quickly learn how critical this is.
You now run such an organization. Not only do you apply a lot of resources and dollar investments to this endeavor, you have significant business outcomes…