Developing and executing a successful content strategy isn’t easy. We know firsthand and, if you’re a content person, then you probably do too. But here’s the thing: Most of us are in the same boat. We hit home runs with our content one week and then have misses the next. We think our strategy is dead on today only to decide we need to make major adjustments to it tomorrow. The fact is that we’re all grappling with similar challenges and doing our best to try to build our brands and create better experiences for our customers.
We can say that with total confidence because we recently got to hear from a lot of you when we co-hosted an unconference (yup, you read that right) about content strategy with the folks at PayPal. If you haven’t been to an unconference before, the idea is pretty simple. Rather than have a room full of people listening to presenters and staring at PowerPoint presentations all day, we wanted to bring a bunch of smart people together for a day-long open discussion.
And that’s exactly what we got. In fact, we had over 40 content professionals turn up representing more than 30 companies, including the likes of Adobe, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, PayPal, and SAP, among others. They came to talk and exchange ideas about the challenges that they’re facing in developing and executing their content strategies. Since you very well may be facing these same challenges, we wanted to briefly share them with you.
They effectively fell into three main buckets:
- Keeping up With the Never-Ending Demand for Content
Just about every organization struggles to keep up with the demand for content given the seemingly endless appetite for it, and the realities of the resource constraints they have to work with. And, beyond just the sheer volume of content that they have to create, they’re also challenged with ensuring that their content is of the highest quality, that it’s always consistent and aligned to their specific target personas, and that it’s on-brand.
When you’ve got lots of different writers contributing to your content strategy — particularly if they’re not in your department, your office, or even your country — that can easily become a major pain point. It certainly was for the majority of people who attended our unconference.
The solution? A lot of companies are bringing agile practices into their content creation processes. To learn more, check out this post that we published last year that explains how Facebook, Moody’s, and CA are approaching agile content development.
- Trying to Control All of the Chaos
Another area that the attendees said they struggle with is managing all of the moving parts associated with their content. That included everything from bringing the right people to the table for discussions about content, to getting buy in, to understanding their audience and creating personas for each segment, to ensuring consistency and cohesive messaging, to delegating work to a growing team of people.
The fact is that being involved in creating and distributing your company’s content is a massive job, and one that seems to get more complicated every day. While there’s no one solution to the problems that we’re all facing, the good news is that there’s plenty of new technology available that’s helping to make them a little easier to deal with. In fact, by the latest count there are nearly 3,900 different marketing technologies out there that can help you with just about any issue you’re facing.
- Measuring the Intangible
The final main problem area that came up during our unconference was the challenge of measuring so many intangible — yet incredibly important — aspects of content. That includes things such as your brand, as well as the voice and style of your content, your use of terminology, and the overall impression that your content makes.
While some of those areas definitely remain a bit squishy (yes, we’re talking about your brand), others such as the quality of your content, and whether or not it’s on-target with your style preferences and accurately reflects the proper terminology, are a lot more straightforward. In fact, those are all areas that Acrolinx’s software can help you with. (To learn more, check out this overview of our platform.)
The Bottom Line
Developing and executing a content strategy that works and delivers everything your company needs isn’t easy. All kinds of companies — big and small — struggle with this. But the good news is that you’re not alone in the battle, and that you can also learn from what your peers are doing to solve these challenges. As we’ve seen here, many of them are adopting agile content development practices and embracing technology to try to get ahead and meet the growing demands being placed on them.