“A culture of content resembles an engine in that it streamlines content production and workflows, but also a circulatory system in that it is inherently about sharing, ideation, and distributing the value of content across everyone involved.”
This quote comes directly from Altimeter Research’s stellar new report “A Culture of Content.” If you haven’t picked it up yet, do it.
Rebecca Lieb and Jessica Groopman put together a well-researched paper on the elements that make up a successful content strategy. The main insight is seemingly simple, but surprisingly misunderstood:
Content marketing requires a cultural change, not merely the adoption of a new “tactic.”
I decided to write this post because I’m regularly asked, “What is Kapost?” I could give you the elevator pitch, but I’d rather point to Altimeter’s report because it explains exactly what Kapost does: We equip forward-thinking companies with the tools and knowledge needed to establish a high-performing culture of content.
The best way to explain is to examine Altimeter’s outline of a culture of content, and how we support each element. My goal isn’t to regurgitate the report—you really should read it—but to provide a companion piece to evaluate the role that software and services play in this cultural shift.
“Culture in any context is driven by certain intangible but powerful forces. These forces inform, inspire, and reinforce the behaviors that define and embody the culture itself, and a culture of content is no exception.”
There are many systematic and programmatic elements within a culture of content. But the Altimeter team is right to start with the “intangibles,” because these are the pieces that are hardest to bottle. But even these intangibles need support, which is what Kapost provides. Altimeter breaks down the three structural pillars of inspiration.
Altimeter defines vision as a single, shared purpose. Without this, it’s easy for any culture to burn out as the daily fires and competing goals become deteriorating distractions.
This need has always been at the forefront of our product and services. Vision, when drawn out and documented, should include steps like defining buyer personas, sales stages, and buyer-centric themes. But these tend to be stored away and forgotten, rather than applied strictly to all content the marketing team produces.
Our software not only serves as a repository for buyer personas, sales stages, and themes, but enables contributors and collaborators to designate every campaign and asset to be targeted against those fields. This ensures the vision remains central to your content strategy.
Creativity seems like a natural fit in a culture of content. But this is often one of the hardest elements to engender within the marketing structure. As Altimeter defines it, creativity means willingness to look past what’s worked before and try the yet-untested.
Here’s a reason why this fails to take root again and again within marketing organizations. The processes for even the most common content and marketing tactics are hidden, undocumented, and laborious. Tasks are missed, deadlines forgotten, and approvals stalled, meaning every asset—no matter how familiar—feels like turning the tide. In this atmosphere, attempting something new is Herculean.
Kapost opens the door for innovation by streamlining processes. Our automated workflows enable marketers to define and assign the common tasks required to produce, approve, and distribute content. By establishing and managing these workflows centrally, it dramatically reduces friction, allowing the flexibility to try new things.
Risk and Willingness to Fail
The internal ability to fail has become a mantra among enterprises large and small. But embracing failure alone won’t work inside most marketing organizations. You need to be able to fail fast.
Most marketers don’t know what’s truly succeeding and what’s failing, so making nimble optimizations and course corrections is near impossible. The gulf between marketing measures (web traffic, registrations, click-throughs, etc.) and what drives business (revenue) is wide, and the data that can bridge that gap it is often locked in disconnected systems.
Kapost solves this problem with Content Scoring. It assigns a value to campaigns and assets not by page views and social shares, but for moving buyers forward in their path to purchase. We do this by pulling sales stage and buyer behavior data—often locked inside CRM and marketing automation systems—into our platform to show which content generated leads, opportunities, and revenue across all buyers. That insight means marketers can actually measure the true performance of their efforts so risks are calculated, not just wild guesses.
“No tool or technology is as essential to CoC as people are. A culture is, after all, common beliefs, practices, attitudes, and behaviors that are shared by a group.”
Technology can serve individuals or groups, but it only works when internal roles are clarified and executed. This requires education that is then supported with technology, specifically tailored to a content-driven organization. We get it. That’s why we provide services on top of software.
Here’s how Altimeter speaks to the roles of people in a culture of content.
Senior Leadership, the Content Leader, and Business Units
The C-suite might not take the lead in instituting a culture of content, but they still need to invest in it. The internal champions of content have to build the business case and get buy-in from executives. Similarly, there needs to be a content leader to implement the strategy, evangelize the content, ensure collaboration, and demonstrate results.
Individual business units are also an important part of a culture of content. As Altimeter puts it, “A defining characteristic of a (culture of content) is that content travels a circulatory system that goes beyond marketing to permeate other divisions.” Content should serve the goals of the organization, not just the goals of the marketing apparatus.
Kapost’s services team provide organizational support by working with customers to identify key roles, align to organizational goals, and put measurements in place to actually chart the maturity of the content operation. This fast-tracks a culture of content and gives senior executives a way to ensure the growth of their investment.
External Partners and Employees
Many organizations use a mix of outside and in-house talent for content. No matter who is collaborating on content, the need to create a seamless process for producing, distributing, and analyzing that content becomes paramount as a company scales. That’s nearly impossible when colleagues are spread out across a hodgepodge of systems and tools.
Our customers use Kapost to manage the entire lifecycle of their marketing—from the initial idea to measuring performance—for both partners and employees. We don’t try to sell you irrelevant content, but give you the means to manage your content at scale. External partners and internal employees work within the same intuitive system, tracking deadlines and performance using the same calendar, workflows, and dashboards.
We offer integrations with companies like Scripted for brands who want help sourcing content from outside their company. But we truly believe a culture of content must have internal participation, with employees providing the richest insights. That’s why our platform prioritizes submitting, gathering, and approving ideas from all over the organization.
“Establishing clear processes, roles, and resources helps a culture of content thrive and evolve over time. It’s the oil in the well-oiled engine a (culture of content) embodies.”
Just like strategy is worthless unless it leads to execution, a culture doesn’t exist unless clear responsibilities and processes are put in place to support it. In many cases, organizations will try to adopt a culture of content, but fail to put a process in place and under-invest in technology that enables that process.
There are four elements of process Altimeter outlines. Here’s how we support each leg of the table.
Evangelism, Governance, Education and Training, and Technology
A culture of content is dedicated to proving the value of their efforts, not just within marketing but across the company. The champions of this culture must operate cross-functionally to serve a variety of groups on a continual basis, Altimeter explains.
Proving value can only happen when you have clear guidelines in place, identify the key stakeholders for your content, and provide the right education around how your content operation functions.
This is where the mixture of services and a platform enable the company through the use of customized workflows, centralized calendars, the ability to distribute to dozens of channels from one place, a single source for measuring performance across every stage of the buyer’s journey, and a library to hold and easily share every asset a company produces. This not only reduces internal friction and guards against random acts of content; it also makes the entire operation visible and easy to align with.
Technology streamlines and optimizes the operation. But getting it off the ground requires expertise. That’s why we created the Quickstart and LaunchPad offerings, to help define roles, map out processes and measure progress.
A culture of content doesn’t just happen. It requires careful cultivation and planning. It’s thrilling to see the industry embracing this kind of cultural change, and even outlining what it looks like.
But too often these transformative endeavors never take off because a step is skipped. That’s what we help avoid at Kapost.
So, what does Kapost do? It’s not just technology, but also trusted counsel and proven processes.