18 May Should you hire a chief content officer?
(Answer: Yes, and I’ll tell you why.)
“Should your organization hire a chief content officer?” speaker Rebecca Lieb, Altimeter Group’s digital advertising and media analyst, asked at a recent digital marketing conference. “The new era of marketing is all about creating a culture of content. In short: You can’t afford not to have someone in charge.”
I may be paraphrasing, but that was the general gist.
The statement was met with looks that were equal parts desperate and wistful. “Sure! Of course we’d love a chief content officer,” the audience’s faces seem to say. “But until my budget magically expands to allot for one, I’m it! One man does not a culture of content make!”
(They had very transparent, telling faces.)
Every conference session seemed to circle back to that one mantra: Content, content, content! And every session break answered with a similar reply: How, how, how?!?
Well, my friends, I’m here to tell you how to get this monkey off your back and be promoted for solving your organization’s marketing question of the day/year/century – all at the SAME. TIME.
What the heck is content and brand journalism anyway?
Content is one of those overused marketing buzzwords that no one seems to question any more. Which is saying a lot since everyone generally agrees to the old, trite adage that content is king.
Content is your story. It’s the pieces of your brand story that you put out into the world. It’s not your panel card or that boring brochure you just had drafted. (Though those should be reviewed with scrutiny.) It’s the thought-provoking wisdom you plug into your blog, your social media channels and the articles for that brand journalism hub you’re still aiming to produce.
But how did content take over the throne anyway? How did we get here?
Here’s a secret: Storytelling has ALWAYS led the marketing monarchy. Stories sell – no matter your time period, whether you were a bard in antiquity preaching the prowess of your Gaelic patron or you’re Dos Equis hinting at the story line of the Most Interesting Man in the World.
The trouble is, as technology has grown, so have our means of accessing stories and breathing life into them. We’re no longer dependent on that strolling minstrel to make his way through our medieval town or for that wayward journalist to finally cover the story we’re burning to tell.
You can’t wait around for someone else to tell your story. Nor should you! The job is yours.
And this is both an enormous blessing and a very black curse. You tell your story best, but, man, how do you find the time in the day?
Enter the content curators of the world.
Respect the content. Designate a leader. Then celebrate.
Most brand journalism and corporate content strategies are set up to automatically fail if they don’t have a designated leader. There’s a simple reason for this. Content takes time. It’s not something you can easily shove into your 40-, 60- (name your time frame) hour workweek. Creating content isn’t a part-time job. Like a newsroom, that machine runs ALL. THE. TIME.
Quality content requires a complete shift in mind-set, tone and focus. You’re not marketing yourself in the traditional sense. You’re not telling your story in a cheesy, salesman way and ending with a line that’ll make consumers want to buy more of your vacuums. You’re offering insight that consumers can use, anecdotes they’ll remember and stories they’ll want to share. You’re adding value to people’s lives in only the way that your organization can (without beating people over the head with the fact that you’re the one offering the info) achat de viagra suisse. Believe me, if you do it well, your brand will be remembered. People are funny like that.
Creating content isn’t a part-time job.
So how do you get from where you are with a sad pile of past newsletter articles and a broken, abandoned blog around you to the well-oiled brand journalism/content creation machine of your dreams?
Appoint your leader. This person is solely responsible to get the content machine going. All stories should funnel through your leader. That doesn’t mean he or she executes all the stories, but they definitely manage every movement of the brand journalism machine.
Attention most readers: If your organization does not have the budget or wherewithal to see the need for a full-time staffer to control content creation, you must outsource it to a marketing firm you trust. Their job will be to work with your team to plan content calendars and execution, assign content creation and be responsible to see that content gets posted in a timely fashion.
(Insider tip: Hiring this position on a contract basis from a firm also provides the much-needed distance to hold all parties responsible, offer outsider perspective and easily transition the role to a full-time staff member once the content generation infrastructure is in place.)
Respect the content. Do the right thing. Hire a chief content officer or a brand journalism editor or the marketing firm to fill the role for you.
Why am I being so pushy? Why can’t you let this go any longer?
You’re invisible without it. And if your brand stories aren’t out there, your competitor’s content will be.
And no amount of panel cards is going to solve that problem for you.
Shameless plug: See how ABZ helped do this very thing for four-state healthcare system, Novant Health.
Check back for our upcoming series on breaking down brand journalism – what it is, why it’s important and how you can get started today.