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The Secret to Creating Great Content

May 31, 2011 | By Jay Gaines

There is no secret, no trick and, unfortunately, no silver bullet. Sorry. However, there is a truth: creating great content is difficult, and it requires significant focus, effort and a strategic approach. The fact is that organizations that embrace this simple truth tend to create better, more effective content.

There is no secret, no trick and, unfortunately, no silver bullet. Sorry. However, there is a truth: creating great content is difficult, and it requires significant focus, effort and a strategic approach. The fact is that organizations that embrace this simple truth tend to create better, more effective content.

Most B2B marketers understand that content is the fuel that drives effective demand creation programs. Content positions the organization as a trusted resource and advisor. Content is what we use to draw prospective buyers to us, and it is the value we provide in exchange for their attention and information. This is why we so often hear people say that “content is king.” Also, during the past several years the adoption of new technologies, such as marketing automation platforms (MAPs), and new approaches, such as lead nurturing and inbound marketing, have made content even more important.

I’m sure that none of what I’ve written is shocking news to anybody who reads my blogs on even a semi-regular basis. Yet, in my work as an analyst I get more questions about content creation strategies than nearly any other topic. So, I talk a lot about aligning content with the information needs of specific buyer roles in specific buying cycle stages – and how important it is to audit your content and build a content asset architecture to become more efficient, targeted and strategic in content creation efforts.

Often, the last question I hear in these conversations is something like: “But how do we actually get it done? Where do the resources come from?” At this point I ask about their current content creation process, and invariably there either isn’t one, or it’s completely democratized – meaning everybody and nobody is actually accountable and responsible for it. That’s a terrible way to treat a king.

So, here’s the secret that isn’t really a secret: If you struggle to create great content, take a look around your organization and ask yourself if anybody is actually accountable for defining a content strategy and mobilizing the resources to create content. “Accountable” means they are actually evaluated and compensated based (at least partially) on the effectiveness of content strategy and the performance of the actual content. If the answer you come up with is that nobody is accountable, wrong answer. Make someone accountable. As in other situation, as soon as somebody is accountable, things will usually improve.

This blog is not the right place to go into all the details of creating this position, organization structure and specific responsibilities. The point is to understand that the critical first step toward creating great content is to assign ownership of the strategy to somebody who will have the authority to mobilize resources and participate in planning.

Jay Gaines

Jay Gaines is Chief Marketing Officer and Research Fellow at SiriusDecisions. His experience includes team building and leadership, marketing strategy and planning, marketing budget and operations management, demand creation, sales and marketing alignment, business development, product development and management, interactive marketing/advertising, inbound marketing and social media. Follow Jay on Twitter @izjay.

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