Strengthen your content in 2024: it's substantially more than marketing
How to find your untapped potential, save on costs and embrace AI
I’m lost, and honest, I don’t know where to begin my rant. After so many years of working in the content industry, it seems like this f*ck up will never change. It’s such a missed opportunity and a waste of money.
Wake up; you’re leaving efficiency and budget optimization on the table.
I’m talking about content always being stuffed in the marketing department. Content is what social media was in 2010: misunderstood and seen as just a marketing tool.
While it’s so much more disruptive by invading and creeping into all silos, from marketing to corporate communications, PR, product development, HR, customer care, and everything in between. You know that every silo and department has got something to do with content; it’s not reserved nor restricted to the marketing department.
Below is what you, as a marketing manager or senior executive, need to know.
- The secrets to great content
- Common mistake: content in the marketing silo
- Saving on content budgets and improving speed
- Implementing AI for content production
- 2024: communication takes center stage in content
- The fix, content in a designated silo, and include AI
Let me explain in detail.
1. The secrets to great content
All great and engaging content has a few things in common. Please keep in mind this goes for B2C, B2B, almost all industries, and for most types of content, from long-form SEO to short(er) form email marketing and snackable socials.
- Fast and agile production to stay in the moment and react to what’s happening right here and now (source: Mark Schaefer)
- Distinctive and recognizable: strong brand voice and point of view, with the added value of the brand in mind. (Source: Alex M H Smit)
- Customer-first: What is the customer’s problem your product solves, and what are the unique benefits to them using your brand? Great content is not about you; it’s about them.
- In 2024, content becomes more about building audiences than generating leads. It’s more about authority and leadership than about ‘buy now’ or ‘click here.' (source: James Carbary)
- AI. Yes, you need to embrace this, and you know it. Not using AI in content production is like reaching for an encyclopedia while you have Google.
To implement these secrets, you need a broader mindset and team management. Why not take content out of the marketing silo and give it its own silo?
2. Common mistake: content in the marketing silo
Let’s start with the definition of marketing and communication.
- Marketing is about promoting the sale of products or services
- Communication is concerned with influencing the knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of the target audience to engage them with your product/service
Reading these definitions, we can already conclude that content is about both. In fact, even a bit more about communication than about marketing. You can’t do one without the other.
You can’t say ‘buy now’ without telling how your brand gives value and how your product solves a problem.
You can’t stay afloat if you stick to telling your brand story and how you envision a better world by solving your customer's problems without any ‘buy now’ call to action.
3. Saving on content budgets and improving speed
Nice side effect is that when you centralize content, you’ll have one overview of all content needs by all departments and silos. And you can co-produce, re-use, re-purpose, and re-publish the content you created. So you’ll have more efficiency and get more value for money.
Centralization also means you’ll be faster in the production and approval process, as you have a dedicated team who knows the drill.
4. Implementing AI for content production
Here is also where you can use AI to speed up the processes and create long-form, short-form, and snackable content variations for all different channels. Including the nudging and tweaking in the tone of voice, in HR for talent acquisitions, you’ll have a slightly different brand voice than in customer care, right?
Next to AI, there's another shift in the content industry. We're maturing and stepping away from the sales-driven marketing campaign focus towards a softer and more communicative authoritative leadership focus.
5. 2024: communication takes center stage in content
In 2024, due to algorithms and human nature, the communication, the softer part of content, becomes more and more important. We’re a bit fed up with being marketed to, and we want authentic, real brands that do good – or at least don’t make the world worse or ugly than it already is.
Add AI to the mix as the accelerator for more content. It’s never been easier to produce content than now. Notice, I’m not saying this purely AI-generated content is qualitative content.
That all said, to get your message across with content, you need to rise above the content clutter; you can’t ignore the role of communication, the softer side.
So why squeeze in the content strategy, production, and management in the most financial KPI-driven department of a company: marketing?
6. The fix, content in a designated silo, and include AI
So, knowing all silos need content and that the softer side of content, the brand building, becomes more important, why not adjust your organization accordingly?
Take content out of the marketing department, and give it its own place, with all the Heads of the Silos as stakeholders. Detach content from marketing, the marketing calendar, and the marketing KPIs. Appoint a Head of Content with the sole objective of making the best content possible, customer-centric, to build authority, claim leadership, and follow up with targeted marketing content.
I know this is all easier said than done. And it adds a content chief role to the leadership team instead, yet it’s also a golden opportunity to embrace AI for content production.
Sorry, not sorry for this rant. It really is frustrating that after all those years, content is still stuck in the marketing department. While you can use this new AI era to improve your content game.
With more and more AI-generated content heading your customers' way, you need to step up your game and improve in quality, and at the same time, you need to implement AI centrally.
I hope this inspired you with some food for thought.
If now is not the time to make the chance, it will never be. If you need any help with this, drop me a DM.