When it comes to content marketing, the old way of creating marketing content won’t work for most organizations. It’s too stodgy, too slow. The herky jerky workflows strangle the creative process.
Here’s a well thought-out diagram of the content creation process:
That non-linear approach doesn’t really work for most process-driven marketing organizations.
So, if you’re going to create a steady flow of audience-focused content, you need to figure out a way to harness this messy content creation process and make it work.
Enter the coaching strategies of Chip Kelly.
In Kelly’s second season, people across the country have been fascinated and many consider him to have revolutionized the game. But, he hasn’t. Well, not really. He simply modified his team’s approach to the game, created an environment that facilitates success through easily repeatable processes, and then relentlessly focused on execution.
And that’s an approach that smart organizations are bringing to their marketing efforts. They stick to the process of questioning conventional wisdom, creating new approaches for getting things done, and focusing on execution. Rinse. Repeat. Win.
On the football field, Kelly has found a way to control the chaos while simultaneously elevating the level of chaos. On a recent podcast, Chip Kelly expert Mark Saltveit discussed how Kelly has “moved the boundary” between the traditional desire for control and the reality of chaos:
“it seems to me that football is the most controlled sport in the sense that you have the most schemes and diagrams and plans in advance and at the same time it’s the most chaotic sport … what Chip is doing is trying to move that boundary between the control and the chaos [to]seize control of some of the chaos. [Kelly wants to] make [the] players more comfortable in the chaos and then unleash chaos against your opponents because now you have an advantage in it.”
Like football, marketing a product or service is a chaotic process. There is seemingly so much out of your control; when all is said and done, those customers of yours are going to do what they damn well please. But that is changing, as marketers now have greater access to customer data and begin to understand what the audience wants. And, what the audience wants is good information, which has led to the huge need for more content.
The game has changed. So how can we move that boundary between the chaos of the marketplace and the control we want to reach success?
It’s by changing traditional protocols and processes, putting new controls in place, and then unleashing the chaos of content creation. (Importantly, I’m not talking about frantic content creation and speed speed speed – I’m talking about acknowledging that there is a better way to meet the realities of today’s marketing environment.)
It starts with an acknowledgment from the top that the environment requires a new approach. If you try to force content development through the old workflows and approval process, it’s going to bog down, everyone will get frustrated, and you’ll likely to declare the effort a failure. And, you still won’t have given the audience what it wants.
The problem is that most marketing organizations have not spent the time adjusting the boundary between control and chaos. They want control, but are confronted with chaos.
Well, here’s the secret that Chip Kelly has realized – you’ll never control the chaos.
Instead, what you need is a method to help you deal with the chaos better. If we aren’t so adamant about maintaining complete control, if we acknowledge that the audience is in control of the buyer’s journey now and that therefore we must execute inside the chaos, we can begin to create a system to help us win in this new environment.
Fortunately, there is a model to follow – the newsroom. Newsrooms excel at ideating, researching, producing and distributing content. If you’ve worked in them, you know newsrooms can be chaotic – as the old saying goes, people who like sausage and news should never watch either being made. But there is a method to the madness, and most newsrooms deliver high quality audience-focused content on a regular basis.
Football is a very complex game. Chip Kelly’s genius is that he has simplified the game for his team, so that his players can excel amidst the chaos; the chaos seems normal for them. They’re being trained a different way from other teams.
An organization that embraces content marketing needs to understand that ongoing content creation is a new game for its marketing department. They need to be coached up in a different way. They need to understand the cadence of content, and develop the ability to create a steady stream of high quality content. They need to have the trust of the C-suite and the opportunity to relentlessly focus on what the audience wants.
Like Chip Kelly’s football team, they need to do a lot of the traditional things, but in a completely new way.
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