Integrated content planning poses a challenge for even the healthiest B2B marketing organizations. Content powers marketing success. That’s why demand gen, product marketing, corporate communications, sales, and other teams all need to get on the same page about content priorities and processes. Instead, silos abound, dysfunction proliferates. Teams work harder, not smarter, in the absence of effective cross-team planning and collaboration.
Does your B2B company suffer from this chronic condition? Review these six common symptoms of impaired content planning—and their likely causes—to determine if it’s time to revisit your approach.
The Symptom: Random Acts of Content
Do your teams often generate content ideas in a disorganized, ad hoc fashion, and only loosely aligned with big-picture goals, strategic priorities, and customer needs? Or maybe you produce content based on the whims and priorities of an individual stakeholder? That’s so random!
- The cause: No documented content strategy plan
Without a strategic plan or roadmap that defines priority audiences, marketing goals, and editorial themes and topics—along with periodic, formal working sessions for editorial planning—you’ll always end up with random acts of content that divert resources from more impactful work.
The Symptom: Weary Content Creators
Cranking out random acts of content takes a toll. Team members feel exhausted because every week is a fire drill, with one-off requests for content from sales and other teams. The content conveyer belt stays on high, at the expense of content quality.
- The cause: Inability to set priorities or get buy-in
Even if you have a basic content plan, it’s worthless when everybody’s pushing their own agenda. A functional plan requires buy-in across teams (beyond marketing); then content leaders can leverage the plan to set priorities and make difficult decisions about which ideas to execute, and which ones to table.
The Symptom: Continual Content Surprises
When content is developed in silos with limited communication, teams often duplicate efforts and publish content that already exists. Or maybe content is promoted and distributed inconsistently, due to last-minute scheduling or the lack of a formalized process.
- The cause: No shared editorial calendar
A content strategy plan paves the way for a focused editorial calendar that details the status of everything in the queue. But the calendar must be shared across teams for full visibility and planning coordination—and to avoid those unwelcome surprises.
The Symptom: B-to-Boring Content
Your B2B customers aren’t begging for another super-dry, text-heavy whitepaper. They want to be educated, entertained, and delighted, not inundated with the same stale content everybody else pushes out.
- The cause: Not enough effort put into ideation
Too many teams fail to set the creative bar high enough. They don’t generate ideas that are truly unique and deliver value to their audience. Or maybe they don’t allocate time for quarterly or bi-annual editorial planning.
The Symptom: Stalled Pipeline Opportunities
When inbound leads fail to convert, or when prospects stall out at the bottom of the funnel, the culprit could be your content. It’s not answering their questions and propelling them forward on the buyer journey. It’s making them work too hard.
- The cause: Unrecognized content gaps
Content gaps—such as insufficient content focused on a key audience or journey stage—can halt forward progress. Organizations may fail to conduct a periodic content audit and gap analysis or refresh outdated personas, all of which can inform content planning.
The Symptom: Nothing Changes, Despite Awareness
Even when marketing leaders recognize these issues, and even when they make attempts at improving collaboration and content planning … nothing really changes. Good intentions aren’t enough.
- The causes: Heavy workloads, internal resistance
Holistic change is hard when busy teams only have bandwidth to focus on the next deadline. In other cases, individual marketing leaders may struggle to overcome entrenched habits and processes. “This is how we’ve always done it,” say team members.
The Rx for Your Content Marketing Maladies
Treatment for these issues starts with an improved diet of integrated planning, accompanied by cross-team collaboration and often the help of an unbiased third party with experience solving content conundrums across enterprise teams.
Consider an agency partner that has deep, cross-discipline experience developing content plans, conducting content maturity assessments, and streamlining content operations.
Marketing Advice Disclaimer
The content of this blog post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended for use as diagnosis or treatment of a marketing malady, and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with an experienced content planning professional. If you have questions or concerns regarding an adverse marketing condition, please contact Tendo Communications.
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