All our clients and friends within the industry know how important content is to their marketing and sales success, but do they know how to make it work best within their organisations? Truth is; not always (or even most of the time if we’re completely honest). Content planning and creation is a funny thing within organisations. It does not have a clear home. Quite like ‘social media’ eight or nine years ago when clients asked us, “Does this sit with PR, digital, corporate comms?”. Our experience from clients shows that with content this dilemma is even more complex.

To make the right decision around who owns content, there are a lot of things to consider, but it all starts with understanding what you are trying to achieve. Are you creating content to help reach a new audience, re-engage your existing audience, sell more, sell something different, educate, collect data, change opinion? Knowing the key objective behind your content marketing activity will initially guide you as to who should take responsibility. The channel where you are putting most of your content efforts impacts this decision too. Don’t only think digital vs offline, but think about the specifics. For example within digital, are you focusing your content on your ecomm site, your emails or your social channels?

For true content success within your brand or organisation, there are three areas you should consider;

1. Identify a clear content owner

We can’t tell you who this should be, but answering the above questions should help you identify this team or person. Someone has to be accountable for content otherwise, even if you have the best content strategy, implementing this will never work. But remember it is about team effort too.

Using a simple RACI framework helps ensure that:

  • Secondary objectives are also considered
  • Other channels are tied in
  • Both brand and acquisition targets are valued.

2. Make sure the person responsible for content has the right skills

Your content owner needs to be multi-skilled to be effective. An in-depth knowledge of the channel you are prioritising is an obvious must (i.e. social or email) but your content owner also needs to be skilled at data analysis. This ensures that they are learning from each piece and are able to distinguish the valuable from the distracting information. Unless they live for their job and have eight hands, four computers and are as good at strategy as they are writing and designing; your content owner is likely going to need to be good at delegating and briefing colleagues and agencies. Finally, they are going to have to know what great plans and great content look like. They’re likely not a Strategy or Creative Director, but they need to understand planning and creativity, they need to know good copy, and identify when something isn’t right for the brand, channel or objective. All of that’s easy right?!

3. Take a test & learn approach

You will only know if your content is working as hard as it can be by taking a test & learn approach.

Test not only the messages you are broadcasting (or balance of content pillars) but also content formats and lengths (i.e. video vs article or even detailed brand storytelling video vs video animation). Test the audiences you are targeting using paid social, understanding which are giving you better returns on your content. Test the channels you are using. Test the people who are producing the content (controversial, I know!). Make sure you are continually learning and improving. It is unlikely that you will get it right first time.

When you are defining your content strategy or looking at your team structure  just remember this: Creating content that works isn’t easy and needs real consideration and planning.