3 Ways to Structure Your Content Distribution Workflow
Content marketing is no longer a “nice to have” part of your marketing programs. 86% of marketers are using content marketing, and their content budgets are steadily increasing.
But here’s the catch: Having content is one thing. Marketing and distributing your content is another. If your content marketing is going to be effective, people actually need to see your articles, blog posts, white papers, infographics, etc. That is, you need to market your content marketing.
With more marketing data at their fingertips, modern marketers are being held accountable for their actions. To meet expectations, marketers need to build distribution structures that amplify their content.
While there isn’t a “best practice” or best paradigm, I’ve seen three common workflows. Your choice of organizational structure will depend largely on your business size and company culture.
I’ll break down those org charts below, but I’m curious to hear how you are structuring your content distribution. So, please share your structure in the comments section below.
In the centralized workflow, there is a main content library. A curator or a group of curators choose content and place it in the library. In addition, they write the accompanying messages for the content.
The content can include blog posts, e-books, infographics, analyst’s reports, third-party news stories – whatever the curators deem awesome and worthy of sharing.
The content is then passed to others for distribution. You might use the content for your brand’s social media channels, for your company’s website, or for your e-mail newsletters.
You might give content to your sales team so that they can nurture prospects. You might ask other employees to share the content with their social networks to amplify your reach.
Don’t know what employee advocacy is? Click here.
Once your brand and employees have shared the pre-approved content, your marketing team can gather insights from your analytics. Which pieces of content are resonating with your audience? On which marketing channels? Facebook? LinkedIn? E-mail? Your website?
Your curators, in turn, can take those insights and improve their curation. They can adjust their messages. For example, you might find that your audience clicks on posts with emoji and emoticons. Why not include more?
Likewise, your content marketing team can create and find more content that your audience will like. For example, if you discover that infographics resonate with your company’s Twitter following, why not share more infographics?
What are the advantages of the centralized model?
1. Brand Protection: In this model, the marketing department finds all the content and writes all the messages. In effect, the marketing department plays an active role in shaping the company’s brand identity online.
2. Compliance: This model is useful in industries with compliance standards. A company can train a few curators to spot legal issues, and on a regular basis, its legal team can audit the content library to ensure that the content and messaging are kosher.
3. Efficiency: With this paradigm, your employee advocates do not waste time searching for content or creating their own content. They can focus on their jobs, and when they choose to share something, they know exactly where to find it: in your content library.
The departmentalized paradigm is similar to the centralized model, in that a small group of curators maintain the content libraries and write sample messages. However, instead of having curators supply content across all departments (like they do in the centralized system), each department has its own curator (or group of curators).
In other words, marketing has its own curator. Sales has its own curator. IT has its own curator. Engineering has its own curator. And each department’s curator is responsible for culling together content that would be of interest to members of their respective departments.
Did your marketing team just write a blog post? Great! If you’re the IT curator, you need to think about why IT professionals would care about the latest post. Then, you can write a 140-character Tweet that would resonate with your advocates’ followers.
With this model, you have some things to think about. For example, should your department’s content library consist only of content that your marketing department has created?
If you’re the IT curator, you might want to find news about the latest industry trends. That way, your IT employees can stay current. Plus, they can share the latest trends with their followers, give their opinions on the trends, and position themselves as experts in their field.
What are the advantages of the democratic workflow?
1. Content specificity: This paradigm enables each department to supply content that is specific to its employees’ interests.
To stay on top of the latest IT trends, information technology professionals may need different content from what the sales team needs. And to be a thought leader in sales, your sales team may need different content from your IT department.
2. Approval: While this workflow allows for more content specificity, it is not a complete free-for-all. It still has some checks and balances in place. Each department’s curators can pre-approve content and shape the messages that their advocates share.
3. Efficiency: As we saw in the centralized paradigm, there’s a lot of efficiency in this paradigm. Your employees advocates do not waste time searching for content or creating their own content. They can focus on their jobs, and when they choose to share something, they know exactly where to find it: in your content library.
Another approach to distributing content is more democratic in nature. Each individual can create a personalized content library.
They may take your company’s branded content and put it into their libraries. They may also gather third-party content that resonates with their personal brands. Then, they write messages to accompany their content.
After sharing content, they can look at their metrics and determine what is working and what isn’t. For further analysis, these metrics can be passed along to the head of your employee advocacy program. Mr. or Ms Head, in turn, can look at those metrics and help employees improve their curatorial processes.
What are the advantages of the democratic workflow?
1. Autonomy: If your company values employee autonomy, this paradigm is for you. By turning every employee into a curator, you are saying, “We trust you 100%! Go for it!”
2. Authentic Personal Branding: Some companies are dedicated to helping their employees build a strong personal brand. In this model, you are teaching employees how to own their online professional identities – without a lot of hand-holding.
And since there are fewer pre-approved messages in this paradigm, one could argue that their personal brands could be perceived as being more authentic and truer to who they are.
These are three content distribution structures that I’ve seen work at companies of all sizes. But they aren’t the only options. What have you seen work well? Leave a comment below!
And if you need help with your content distribution workflow, you should check out Trapit!