I was at a big trade show earlier this month and spent a little time in the pressroom. What struck me was that it was set up perfectly for the journalists at the show – enough space, meeting areas for briefings, a quiet work space with enough desks, power outlets and good internet.
Why is this relevant to how companies market with content?
At the equivalent of this same conference a couple of years ago, the pressroom set-up wasn’t great. It was the opposite of the things I just complimented above. As someone who’s gone to maybe a hundred-plus such facilities – like any journalist – a bad set-up is annoying because it doesn’t seem that hard to get right and yet events got it wrong, time and time again.
The same goes with content teams at companies. We see the processes by which they work arranged poorly. And the irony is that it isn’t hard to get right.
If you’re embarking on a new way of doing things, one of the obvious things to do is work out if there are well-established, dependable processes. Are there examples to copy?
Well, for content teams there are countless operations to ape. They have been around for the past 100 years or more and they’re a perfect fit for what many large companies need to do. They’re the editorial teams at media outlets.
Whether we’re talking newspapers, magazines, online or broadcast media, we know how to do this.
This works across dozens of practical areas for corporate teams developing content. Here are three examples:
Quality assurance. How do you create high-quality content consistently that doesn’t then spend two months in front of higher-ups and lawyers? Newspapers and news agencies have long worked out how. Have risk thresholds, a series of editors (even two), processes for trickier pieces of content and decide on a single decision-maker in advance for the tough calls.
Shot selection. What should you talk about? How often does a newspaper or TV station talk about itself? Wouldn’t you find that boring? Think about the areas in which you’ll operate – business, the environment, lifestyle, health and so on – but within those areas choose your content wisely, diving deep into interesting areas. Don’t make it about you.
Tapping experts. Most media outlets use a mix of in-house professionals and experts they commission. What’s best suited for each type of professional? Your ability as a company or public sector organisation to tap world-leading experts on any subject has never been greater. Commission experts, for everyone’s benefit – for your audience’s entertainment or business benefit, and for your sanity.
These are just some of the areas where the media best practice can be of use to other types of company. And while some media owners are setting up as studios to create content for others, there are thousands of people out there who used to perform these roles and are willing to share their expertise.