- Brand publishers frequently run into challenges with consistently producing content, yet often leave opportunities to create high-quality content on the table.
- To avoid this, brand publishers must adjust their mindsets and change organizational structures to maximize content production.
One of the most common challenges for any brand publishing operation is figuring out how to consistently create valuable content. Publishing teams face a recurring question: What should we write about today?
This isn’t a challenge unique to brand publishers. Our experience inside a range of major newsrooms has demonstrated that even the most seasoned writers and editors often run up against a wall when it comes to generating new ideas.
One common assumption is that ideas must be consistently “fresh” or new in order to be worthwhile — that every piece of content must be pinned to a new idea, development, piece of research or interview. But exclusively chasing “new” can result in opportunities being overlooked.
Brand publishing does not operate in a vacuum from the rest of the company. Brands are often engaged in a continuous stream of activities throughout other functions, from business strategy to culture and people to sales and marketing that can all be transferred to content creation. These activities can either directly be turned into content, or can be used as a foundation for it. They can act as “reporting,” in terms of gleaning information and guidance, and then turned into stories.
Brand publishing teams frequently face two challenges that result in regularly missed opportunities: the wrong mindset, and organizational barriers.
- Mindset: The simplest way to ensure a wide range of content ideas is to assume everything could be packaged, reworked or might contribute to a valuable and engaging piece of content. Brand publishing teams should be encouraged to assume that almost every piece of information could be used as the basis for a compelling piece of content, given the right treatment. In practice that won’t be the case, but creators who start from a position of “why not?” set themselves up for success by creating a much wider array of options.
- Organization: In many instances, brand publishing teams simply aren’t set up for success in terms of access to information. They’re often tucked away in organizational hierarchies under marketing or public relations departments and frequently operate largely independently from companies’ core businesses. Instead, positioning brand publishing teams more centrally within organizations and encouraging greater exposure to day-to-day company activities will enable them to absorb activity around them and spot content opportunities far more effectively.
The fact is that the majority of companies now organically generate a wide range of interesting content opportunities as a byproduct of their daily activities, including from sales and marketing departments, customer service and account management functions, internal communications efforts, and even executives’ social media profiles.
Day-to-day business operations can provide a goldmine of content and ideas, and sophisticated brand publishers have become adept at spotting and capitalizing on opportunities when they present themselves. But for many companies, such opportunities routinely go unrecognized, underutilized or simply ignored by their brand publishing and content teams.
Some ways to repurpose existing content include:
- Event content: Events — panels, interviews or keynotes, both virtual and physical — can be a goldmine of content. Writers can use these events to do recaps, presented as a set of takeaways, or simply a Q&A in the case of interviews. Events can also be used as the foundation for explainers or news posts.
- Event audio: Brand publishers can use events to also create multimedia content. Audio can be a lower lift way to extend the longevity of an event and get more people to consume the content. One way to do this is to turn event audio into podcast episodes with custom intros for each episode.
- Executive and leadership activity and opinion: Most leaders write articles, thoughts and opinion on social media channels or event personal newsletters. Publishing teams should work with leaders across the organization to repackage thoughts into content, either in the form of Q&As or even first-person pieces that can be published on the company’s own site.
- Sales and marketing materials. Brand publishers should always focus on creating content that is valuable to their audiences, including current and prospective customers. Sales and marketing materials can often be a fount of knowledge, filled with valuable insights and numbers. Publishing teams should work with the marketing and sales functions to turn sales and marketing materials, client-facing communications and awards entries into case study-style content.
- Internal communications. Many companies often have internal presentations on progress and achievements, as well as company updates and reports that can act as a foundation for story ideas. How a company and its leaders think about key topics relevant to their industries and to culture can be extremely interesting and valuable, and can be “reported out” by writers to create stories.
Brand publishers should not be afraid to look across their organizations to ensure opportunities to easily create valuable content are not going to waste.
For more on how to adopt a content-first mindset and culture, solve for organizational barriers, and where to look for easy content opportunities, refer to the Guides and Resources in the Brand Publishing Toolkit.