Do you work best when part of a team or independently of other people?

If you work in a modern marketing department, you have no choice but to opt for collaboration, the Content Marketing Institute suggests. However, to meet the twin demands of outstanding content and business goals, you have to give your creative team members the time and space they need to work, it argues.

There is a clear incentive, then, for brands to streamline the process of creative collaboration – which might mean structuring the team to allow creatives to devote their time to actually creating content.

House

CMI makes the case for taking a ‘journalistic’ approach – that is, allowing creatives to focus on producing quality content that’s good enough to grace a quality newspaper. And no, the Daily Mail doesn’t count.

The marketing gurus have been inspired by a B2C roundtable it chaired called ‘How to Produce Creative Content on a Deadline’. Getting content out on time will prove even more difficult next year, with 73% of B2C marketers reporting plans to produce more content in 2017, as per CMI research.

When asked to rate their organisation’s content marketing approach compared with one year ago, 63% of B2C marketers say they are “much more successful” or “somewhat more successful”. CMI attributes the most common reason for their success to a business structure that facilitates content creation.

Based upon answers given during the roundtable session, here are CMI’s tips for improving creative collaboration:

1. Create a brand newsroom

Professional writers and journalists are accustomed to producing a high quality, high quantity output on a daily basis. So, it might not be a bad idea to hire professional writers – especially with the content marketing landscape set to get even more competitive in 2017.

CMI suggests going one step further, however, and creating a brand newsroom. This gives you a platform to newsworthy articles in a shorter time frame – before your competitors have had a chance to comment on relevant news stories.

As well as being able to write in quick-time, professional writers have a knack for sourcing relevant and interesting stories – stories that are pertinent to your business and will add value to your customers’ online experience.

You can call it newsjacking, if you like, but it can be more than that if it’s complimented with further research and insight.

2. Free up the creative folk

To create content of the very highest quality, you’ve got to harbour a culture that facilitates creativity. While that might sound like a whole load of bunkum, it’s really not.

As if

Seriously! Without wanting to put creatives on a pedestal, any mind that’s required to come up with ideas needs some space in which to focus. Focus can be difficult when there are administrative tasks interrupting the train of thought, so free up creatives by transferring project management responsibilities elsewhere.

In order to make this happen, new hires might be necessary, but CMI’s research proves that you’ve got to speculate to accumulate: 41% of the B2C marketers who experienced more content marketing success this year attribute it to organisational changes, staffing, and/or new content marketing roles.

3. Embrace Agile methods

When it comes to the creative process, content marketers are behind the times. Only 11% of content marketers report using Agile marketing compared with 63% of marketers overall.

Most prefer to stick to a linear approach which looks a bit like this:

Research → Writing → Editing → Design → Publication → Promotion

However, if one part of the process gets delayed, the entire content train grinds to a halt.

NFL

By moving to a more Agile approach, you can increase the amount of content you produce without sacrificing consistency.

An Agile approach enables you to ‘sprint’ from one stage to the next, with writers and designers working in tandem rather than separately of one another.

CMI sums up the concept: “An Agile approach enables you to become more effective without working more.”

That’s going to be crucial in 2017 when brands are going to have to create more content than ever, without scrimping on quality. Turning your marketing department into a brand newsroom will give you the platform to implement Agile methods, while freeing up creatives to get on with creating.

However, the transition can’t happen overnight, of course. It might take some serious investment, too. If that’s enough to put you off, you can always outsource content creation to an agency which is set up like a newsroom? Not mentioning any names…

Ben Hollom

November 16, 2016