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How to Solve 5 Barriers to Implementing A Thriving Content Publishing Model

Solving content marketing barriers

Over 90% of CMOs agree that their organizations must develop a publishing function to execute their growth agenda and manage the rising cost and complexity of content operations, according to a Forbes 2015 report Publish or Perish.

With near unanimity on the need to drive strategic content marketing, many companies are looking more seriously into what building a content publishing function into their organizations would look like, and how it might function.

A number of companies have done this well and developed a thriving publishing model, creating new paths that keep customers thoroughly engaged. Red Bull, Adobe, and Deloitte are three powerful examples. But for each of these it took some energy to get where they are.

Obviously, organizations cannot just flip a switch and give birth to a healthy publishing function. It takes considerable planning, a strong coalition of the willing, and a significant amount of outflanking stubborn obstacles.

If you recognize the five forces working against a content marketing mindset, along with some ideas about how to deal with each, you’ll be in a much better position to build the publisher model.

Five forces against content marketing

1. Process friction

Organizational processes often create more friction than they reduce, grinding the time it takes to get content to market to a screeching halt. In fact, process is probably the No. 1 killer of successful content marketing.

Setting up new competencies and processes is difficult, especially when they are already established. Research shows that content marketing (a new competency) can be 62% less expensive while driving more than three times as many leads than conventional brand advertising supported through conventional outbound marketing (incumbent competencies).

Quick win: First, you need to visualize a more efficient process. Create a map illustrating all the steps needed to make the publishing model work inside your organization. Take some liberties and map out what you think you would need to make more efficient processes work. Compare this visualized new process to your existing processes to see the impact of bypassing the old way in favor of a new path. Let the core process of existing marketing work continue. As you bring content planning, creation, distribution, and measurement processes out of your visionary plan and into reality, make sure each works in your new processes on their own before you change the incumbent processes.

2. Technology decisions

Technology decisions are typically surrounded by politics. A lot of organizations have strict and rigid protocols for the introduction of new technology so you might need to get other departments involved in the decision-making.

Quick Win: Set up a meeting with your IT group early and share your ideas for getting more strategic content into your marketplace. Ask them if they know of any basic technology solutions that correspond to your content marketing process (supply chain) and won’t add another full-time job to their roster. Getting their early buy-­in will help you spread the coalition into the tech side of the house by surveying their expertise and keeping them close to your operational objectives.

3. Measurement

The No. 1 problem with measurement is that organizations rarely communicate what needs to be measured, how it will be measured, and why to everyone in the content marketing supply chain so everyone shares common objectives.

Once you set up your publishing process map, make sure you have measurements at each point. For example, at the publish stage, measure how well each piece of content has performed relative to the goals set for it. Then evaluate that data to find patterns that emerge of what’s successful and what’s not – that information can help you adjust your content production time and resources to focus on the content meeting your goals.

Quick win: Get your agencies to design what they believe is the most powerful measurement agenda for your organization’s content marketing program. It’s likely that they have put numerous measurement programs together and know details from an objective viewpoint. If you are handling measurement in-house, do some internal and external research to identify the best measurement points in your publishing process.

4. Buried expertise

As organizations adopt a publishing mindset, the content marketing pioneers have to tap into the organization’s institutional knowledge outside the marketing department. This information is typically found where a company’s key value is entrenched. For example, at a manufacturing organization, it might be the engineers who know the most about the value of the innovations. These are the people who can lend the most authentic and interesting voice your customers will find most valuable.

The act of liberating that knowledge is difficult. Once you have identified the best sources and asked them to get involved in the company’s content publishing, you may hear responses like, “You’ve got to be kidding me! I don’t even have time to do the job I am supposed to do and you’re asking me to create content?” Or, “We’re not a news publisher, we’re a manufacturer. I need my employees to do their jobs, not write a puff piece on why we’re smarter. Go ask marketing to do their jobs.”

It’s hard to get people to see value when there is no precedent. Don’t ask these sources to help without first stating transparently what a content publishing model is, what it can do for an organization, and how it can benefit the source. The more invested your internal sources are, the more valuable they feel. If they know their value to the company is more than their core task, that alone can move you much closer to liberating their rich knowledge.

Quick win: Focus on setting precedent with one key piece of content. Secure a friendly internal expert to be a part of its creation. Make a big deal about that initial piece of content. Share widely the success it creates. You’ll find more and more people will be more willing to share their genius.

5. Agency relationships

It’s possible that you work with a content agency, a measurement agency, an SEO agency, and someone’s nephew who is an aspiring videographer/editor. You have them all working to help pull together the most optimal content marketing program. But in almost every case a lack of coordination kills that multi-partner effort – or at least slows it down to a crippling speed.

The fastest and most effective way to fix this problem is to get more out of fewer agencies, with a core focus on unified performance and quality metrics. It’s imperative that all your partners share a carbon copy of what you say success and quality look like.

Quick win: Hold a bi­annual agency day where you invite the agencies that contribute to your content marketing supply chain to share what they are doing with you and the other agencies. Then tell them your objectives for the forthcoming period and see what ideas they have to simplify your efforts.


Even if your company is fortunate and doesn’t have to overcome all five inhibitors to a successful publishing model, you likely have to overcome one or two. Knowing how to spot them — and how to implement valuable ideas to make sure they won’t bottleneck your progress — is a big part of the battle.

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