Content driving a mind-shift in Marketing

This article in BtoB really got my attention that talked about how content needs are driving organizational changes.  The article raises an important point about how content generation and distribution is changing the way many organizations are thinking about content in general.  I’s not just about creating good content, it’s more a mind shift that happens about content internally:

“There are multiple challenges. Creating content by itself is not the most daunting task,” said Pam Didner, global integrated marketing manager at Intel. “The biggest challenge is the mentality shift within the marketing organization. Marketing execs are always in the mindset of selling products; but, in a way, we need to think and act like magazine editors. This type of thinking and approach is new to us.”

Didner said Intel has taken a new approach to content development—in which it creates “stories” around product announcements and company news—tied to customer pain points and topics of interest.

“We have similar challenges as editors: What issues should we talk about? We want to pick those that resonate with IT but bring relevance back to Intel,” she said.

In order to identify relevant topics and issues to focus on, Intel uses primary research, such as focus groups and customer surveys, and secondary research, such as Forrester Research and IDC studies.

Last year, it created its first editorial calendar, which it uses to plan content around relevant topics, such as cloud computing services and migration to Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system.

Editorial Calendars

In working with our clients, creating an editorial calendar is a helpful approach when trying to wrangle themes, topics and timing of content.  The challenge is getting marketing to think in this manner and collaborate together to create a cohesive, balanced approach for content – meaning you want to highlight major product and business division initiatives in a balanced manner.  It can be tough to accomplish though.  The good news is you don’t have to wait for everyone to be on board.  We find usually one of two folks who really get it, and they help pave the way for others and lead by example.  Once others see how it can work, it tends to loosen things up internally.  Marketing has got to put their publisher’s hat on, it’s not the same world it once was.

“I think marketers are being forced to think like publishers,” said Mark Wilson, senior VP-corporate marketing and field marketing at Sybase. “Social media is forcing marketers to create more content in order to participate in conversations and drive conversations.

“Traditionally, marketers would have an ad agency create some copy, a data sheet or a white paper, and that was it. Now, the flow of content is vastly higher. It has really transformed the marketing department to look less like a cubicle farm and more like a newsroom.”

Flow Content Like A Newsroom

Well, marketing doesn’t have to be an actual newsroom, the image that come up for me are chaos, stressed out writers on deadline, lots of paper stacks around. Wait a minute, now that I think of it, it could be any marketing department!   But I digress… marketers do need to start thinking like a publisher and take their content generation practices and processes to a whole new level.  Otherwise all that good content generated will not bring the real value it could to your market place.

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