By now, any B2B marketer will tell you content is essential. According to recent research from the Content Marketing Institute, a whopping 91% of marketers report that their companies use content in their marketing strategies. But just how effective is said content? With CMI rating a mere 9% of the organizations surveyed as sophisticated in their content strategy, the unfortunate answer is often, “not very.”
It can be tempting to dive straight into the content marketing world. We task the marketing team to produce as much content as humanly possible, tossing blogs and whitepapers out into the internet, then sit back and hope for the best. But the most successful B2B marketers know that the only way to maximize the value of content is with a content operation.
What is a content operation?
A content operation is the set of processes, people, and technologies for strategically planning, producing, distributing, and analyzing content. When properly implemented, it unifies the customer experience across all departments and channels.
A content operation transforms a disjointed, ad hoc content creation approach into a strategic, organized workflow that yields measurable results. But what are the 4 key components to making it happen? Let’s dive into each of the elements now.
The 4 Essential Components of a Content Operation
To see how a content operation fuels your marketing strategy, let’s break it down a bit more. There are four key areas your strategy will be impacted: alignment, collaboration, accessibility, and insight.
1. Alignment with Business Priorities
Marketers are often guilty of creating content without thinking critically about how it fits into the bigger picture—namely, our organizations’ growth and revenue goals. Sure, we know we can produce exciting material. But are we confident it will be in sync with the efforts of our colleagues?
That’s why the content-for-the-sake-of-content model is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Instead, a content operation identifies marketing as an integral part of a company’s growth and revenue-generation efforts.
2. Cross-Departmental Collaboration
In order to do our best work, marketers need buy-in from teams like sales, product, and customer success. If we don’t talk, there’s a good chance we’ll fail to produce the content our customers, potential customers, and internal teams actually need.
Just 44% of marketers in Kapost’s latest benchmark have complete visibility into other departments’ campaigns and content. This statistic speaks to a massive disconnect not only across an organization but among marketing teams also. No initiative should begin without a clearly defined plan. Break up the production of assets into a series of tasks, each assigned to a specific contributor and due on an agreed-upon date.
3. Accessibility and Visibility for Your Entire Organization
A well-run content operation makes use of tagging and taxonomy to ensure you have sufficient content for each stage of the marketing funnel. You may discover, for instance, that you have lots of great content aimed at executives at the beginning of the sales cycle but very little for that same group when they reach the decision-making phase. The ability to identify gaps ensures you’re always able to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time.
Having a firm understanding of your existing assets also cuts down on waste: wasted time, wasted content, and wasted work. With as much as 70% of B2B content going unused, avoiding producing content that already exists—or isn’t needed in the first place—saves your team from redundant work and frees up time to focus on the projects that matter.
4. Content Impact Insights
It’s easy to get caught up in a “what’s next?” mindset and forget to take the time to look back at what we’ve already done. But the only way we can move forward with strategic confidence is to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Meaningful metrics are the key to transitioning from gut assumptions to data-driven insights. Content scoring allows marketers to identify how and where assets affected a buyer’s journey. It’s time to move past vanity metrics like page views in favor of revenue-based insights into how our content influences user behavior.
Here are some of the questions a data-driven content operation will answer:
- Which blog posts encourage people to subscribe to our newsletter or move elsewhere on the site?
- Which assets do the sales team find most useful when speaking with potential clients?
- Which eBooks saw high numbers of downloads from qualified leads?
- Perhaps most importantly—which assets performed worse than expected?
Taking the time to reflect means we no longer need to reinvent the wheel with each new campaign. Instead, processes that work should be replicated and scaled across projects and teams. The tasks and timelines you establish once can often be applied to other initiatives with little to no adjustment.
Herein lies the true beauty of a content operation: once you’ve found what works, it’s full speed ahead.