by Rakhal Ebeli @rakhalebeli
Content is not a ‘thing’. It is an approach that should emanate from the very core of a brand’s values.
As Altimeter Senior Researcher Jessica Groopman explains, “Culture and content are, and always have been, inextricably linked.”
The closer the two are linked, the more effective the content is. By building a content culture, brands create work that is more responsive, innovative and consistent with brand messaging.
Picks up pace
Successful brand publishing is dependent upon the fast acting and responsive newsroom.
Consider last year’s notorious ‘Cheesegate’ incident. In the US, marketing team Huge were heavily criticized after taking 45 days to compose a tweet for a French cheese-making company.
The critics argued the agency’s approach failed to understand the most fundamental principle of brand publishing.
As Barclays marketing director Sara Bennison describes it, “it’s about responsiveness – the ability to assimilate new information into our thinking and do something quickly enough to make a difference.”
A content culture is protection against such delays.
According to marketing blogger Corey Eridon, “marketers who are most successful at sustaining a rapid pace of high quality content creation are the ones who have fostered a content culture within their organizations.”
Jessica agrees, “When content becomes an ingrained element of an enterprise’s culture, the culture functions like a well-oiled engine, producing, circulating, and begetting content, creating numerous efficiencies in the process.”
Unifies brand identity
Developing a content culture consolidates a brand’s identity. As Jessica explains, “A culture of content doesn’t just help brands organize around content, it helps crystallize the very brand message.”
When all departments are on board, there is greater consistency of voice. Having a clearer voice also helps rally the brand family around a common flag, ensuring greater clarity of brand values and message.
By instilling a culture of content at all levels and departments, a brand is able to draw from a greater variety of perspectives and opinions.
“This is great,” argues Corey, “because you're getting content that highlights different perspectives and different areas of expertise, both of which make your content arsenal more well-rounded.”
A strong content culture will provide new leads and story ideas.
“You need to have a good relationship with other departments so that people come to you with stories” says Lauren Green-Caldwell, chief communications and marketing officer for National Jewish Health.
“If you let any of these avenues for stories operate in silos, you'll miss good opportunities."
Appealing to wider range of content sources is particularly useful given the often-circuitous journey a customer takes to reach the sales point.
As David Williams, digital strategist at Seven, points out, “The exact path a customer takes on their journey, and the demands for support at each stage, vary by product or service.
Good content marketers understand what a customer wants, and when.”
By creating a content culture, a brand has more resources from a wider pool of sources, making it easier to target customers at every stage of their journey.
A content culture is a long-term investment. Brand leaders must be relentless, consistently highlighting the value content brings to both the business and the customer.
As Rebecca Leib concludes, “While culture is pervasive and powerful, it is not built overnight. It slowly gains acceptance and takes steady reinforcement.”