We’ve all heard the saying content is king. No matter if you accept it as gospel or it makes you roll your eyes, there’s no denying content’s growing importance as a business tool. All around the world, companies are creating content — and lots of it — to attract and retain customers, build their brand, and ultimately forge stronger and more profitable relationships with their target audiences.
And it’s a trend that continues to accelerate. According to the latest research from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, for example, 70 percent of marketers expect their organization to produce more original content in 2017 than it did in 2016. And yet, what we haven’t seen is a corresponding spike in the number of writers and editors in the world. And that begs an important question: Who’s actually creating all of this extra content?
The short answer is just about everyone, and that can have important implications for your business.
Everybody’s a Writer
When you look at how companies are creating content these days, there are three common approaches, which often get intertwined and blended together:
1. Employing full-time content professionals.
It seems as though just about every company employs at least one person — typically on the marketing team — who has some kind of editorial chops. That might include content marketers, writers, editors, and communications professionals. At large corporations, there can be hundreds or even thousands of writers working to support the company.
While that’s all well and good, it can also be concerning. The issue is that many companies increasingly rely on marketers and communicators to create their content. Someone who is a content marketer or in corporate or technical communications may not be 100% comfortable with writing.
2. Outsourcing to third parties.
Many companies rely on freelance writers, content agencies, and other third parties to ramp up content production. While it’s often a cost-effective way to scale, and you’re usually benefiting from the help of professional writers in the process, working with third parties also adds complexity.
The challenge becomes adopting your company’s unique style and tone of voice. Whether it’s using all the correct terminology and adhering to all of the little nuances, your content needs to sound like you. Sure, you can share your style guidelines and offer feedback and training, but at larger agencies serving many clients, there’s room for potential mistakes. That means it’s up to someone in-house to review the content and ensure it aligns to all of your standards.
3. Relying on other non-writers in your organization.
In most organizations, plenty of other people get involved in the process of creating content. Sales teams create pitches and decks for use with prospects, product teams contribute blog posts and product overviews, HR teams create content to attract and retain talent. And the list goes on and on. While it’s wonderful to have so many different people creating content on behalf of the company, this may not be their area of expertise. You need to ensure their content complies with your company’s style guidelines and preferences.
Having so many different people contributing to your company’s content calls for a better way to manage its quality and consistency.
In a World Where Everybody’s a Writer, You Need Governance and Guidance
Now that we’ve established that most organizations have lots of people creating content, many of whom aren’t actually writers, it’s worth pointing out why that matters.
It matters because, as a result, you can easily wind up with content that’s inconsistent and doesn’t align with your brand. Worse yet, you can wind up with content that just isn’t well written and therefore detrimental to your brand.
The solution is to find a way to build some guidance and governance into the process as a way of adding checks and balances. With a content optimization platform, for example, you can consolidate all of your company’s preferences in terms of style, tone of voice, and terminology. You can then put processes (or governance) in place to ensure content creators adhere to those preferences. You can even offer them guidance so they get the help they need to write in a way that aligns with the standards you’ve set for them.
In a world where everyone writes, but very few people are actual writers, it’s a great way to ensure that all of your content is of the highest quality and accurately represents your company and brand.