This post is based on a presentation Phyllis Davidson, a Research Director at SiriusDecisions, recently gave at Content Connections, Acrolinx’s annual conference. Held in May 2017, the event attracted content professionals from around the world. You’ll also find a recording of Phyllis’s full presentation embedded in the post below.

Content is a bit of a paradox in most organizations. We all recognize that it’s the fuel for marketing. And yet in most organizations, there’s rarely a dedicated content team. Instead, content creators are sprinkled across the company. Everyone is trying to have a voice in content marketing, but nobody actually wants to be responsible for it. This can lead to some pretty serious problems.

For example, although many organizations report spending more money than ever on content, much of that content goes to waste. When we conduct audits for companies, we often find that between 60 and 70 percent of their content is flawed. It might not be usable or findable, or it could be trivial or out of date. Typically, this is because companies create their content in silos. This leads to redundancies, inaccuracies, and a host of other issues. By contrast, companies that take an enterprise-wide approach to content eliminate these challenges.

Yet the problem goes beyond silos. As we’ll see, while most organizations say that they do content marketing, very few have the actual foundations in place to do it well.

The Importance of Having a Dedicated Team

Although most companies don’t have a single content team, we know that when there’s a team in place it really makes a difference. No matter what the team is called (content marketing, content strategy, and content strategy and operations are among some of the more popular team names), formally implementing a content strategy and operations function drives tangible results. As the chart below shows, those results include increased website traffic and brand awareness, increased lead quality and quantity, higher conversion rates, and improved perception with and attention from influencers, among others.

When you have a team focused on managing content across all its stages, you can make some very important gains. But, that’s not to say that as an organization you should be looking to install a “content mommy” who’s going to take care of everything. Instead, what you need is a dedicated team that helps facilitate content creation across the entire organization.

So, what should that team look like? No matter the size of your organization, it should consist of three parts:

1. Content strategy. People dedicated to defining, documenting, and educating your organization on how to apply strategic best practices to content planning and creation.

2. Content operations. People dedicated to defining and implementing the tools and processes required to manage, measure, and optimize the content supply chain.

3. Content factory. People dedicated to producing content that maps to a content strategy and an audience journey to drive awareness, demand, and sales enablement.

It’s when you have people in each of these areas that you can focus both on content marketing and marketing your content.

The Four Priorities for Content Strategy and Operations

Once you have a team in place, you also have to know where that team needs to focus its attention. Typically, that should be where you see the greatest likelihood for challenges. We advise companies to focus on four key areas:

1. Strategic Content Planning. Creating and implementing a repeatable, rigorous process to define comprehensive content requirements that support effective downstream creation decisions.

2. Content Management Technology. Implementing and managing the cross-functional processes and technology that drive best-practice content architecture, taxonomy, workflows, and measurement.

3. Content Factory. Orchestrating and building audience-centric, high-quality, and scalable content assets that support multichannel marketing programs and tactics.

4. Functional Design and Development. Building a content strategy and operations center of excellence and upskilling cross-functional content competencies.

By focusing on these areas, content teams can cover their bases with all the foundational elements they need to succeed at content marketing. To learn more about each of these areas and get a deeper perspective on how content marketing is evolving in B2B organizations, watch the full presentation.