How Can Large Content Teams Conquer Bottlenecks and Roadblocks in Production?

The more the merrier, right?

Theoretically, more people involved with a content operation should mean happier outcomes. Larger teams have more brains, more perspectives, and more talent to fuel their engines and produce results.

But as anyone reading this who works in an enterprise organization will probably agree, it’s not quite that simple.

“We hear the success stories of big companies like Red Bull and GE who are doing some great things through content marketing,” Barb Mosher Zinck wrote in a recent piece at Diginomica recapping her interview with Robert Rose. “But larger companies also have larger teams, more politics and legacy processes they have to deal with.”

We hear about such challenges from customers, friends and peers frequently. And while Red Bull — one of our customers, we’re happy to say — has managed to navigate these obstacles and excel, plenty of enterprise content marketing teams are bowing to workflow bottlenecks, sloppy communication and creative constraints.

Sure, all content marketing teams have their own struggles, but which ones are particularly daunting at the enterprise level? And how can they be conquered?

3 Common Content Production Hurdles for Enterprise Organizations

1. Change Happens Very, Verrryyyy Ssssllllowwwllllyyyyyy

When I’ve worked at and with large companies in the past, I’ve frequently run across antiquated systems and processes. With all the money you’re investing and the return you’re expecting from it, I would wonder, why execute your modern-day marketing program using software that’s more than a decade old?

I don’t wonder for long because the answer in these situations is pretty obvious, and understandable: at large businesses, it takes a long time to enact major change. In a case like adopting modernized software, it’s hard enough to gain collective buy-in around taking the plunge, and then you’ve got the process of updating and training every user.

Old habits are hard to break, and that’s all the more true when we’re talking about ingrained practices and tools at big, expansive companies.

What To Do?

Once you recognize a need or opportunity to improve content production, take it straight to influential decision makers in the organization and lead with clear benefits, focusing on ROI and business outcomes. Present a clear plan for implementing the change, with specific timelines.

And don’t shy away from making these things happen incrementally. The first step is the hardest; what matters most is sparking that initial momentum. From the Diginomica interview:

“Rose described one company that started with a 13% commitment to building a great content platform that would build an audience. The rest of the time was spent doing other marketing content as required by other groups. Once they had something established and were able to demonstrate what that effort was producing, they were able to get an even bigger commitment. Today, they spend 30% of their effort on their content platform. You can slowly work your way towards your end goal.”

2. Too Many Cooks in the Content Kitchen

A few years back we took a look at content marketing bottlenecks more generally. “Lack of dedicated resources/manpower” was one of the top culprits. Enterprise content teams often have the opposite problem: many different players, often separated into silos, leading to clashes or duplication of effort.

What To Do?

I can’t urge this enough: get all people involved with the organization’s content production using the same tools. Whether it’s DivvyHQ or something else, it is vital for high-volume teams to use a centralized solution that enables crisper coordination. This cuts down on so much of the miscommunication and discord that stifles collaboration.

I know, I know. As we just discussed, change can be hard at large companies. The best approach might be a communal one: get all your content folks together, involve them in the discussion, and reach a decision that everyone is on board with. Consensus is king (that’s the saying, right?).

3. Lack of Clarity Around Goals and Success

It’s tough to be successful if you don’t know what success looks like. As teams grow larger and more distributed, it becomes harder to align around unified objectives and outcomes.

When they surveyed B2B content marketers last year, CMI and MarketingProfs found only 25% of enterprise respondents agreeing that their “organization is clear on what an effective or successful content marketing program looks like,” compared to 41% in the overall sample.

What To Do?

In ye olden days, carriage operators would place a stick with a dangling carrot in front of their horses to keep them moving. The idea was simple: when your objective (or reward, in this case) is constantly right in front of your eyes, you’ll never forget what you’re working toward.

The same concept should be applied with enterprise content teams. Develop clear goals at the highest level, and then keep them front-and-center for all elements of your operation. Check in regularly to rally everyone around them. Benchmarks and achievable, incremental objectives are really helpful for keeping things on track. We highly recommend attaching strategic goals to tasks in your editorial calendar so that the purpose of every piece is understood by all who touch it.

And if you’re having difficulty figuring out exactly what to measure, or how, download our Future-Proof Guide to Content Marketing Measurement, which is loaded with insights from experts on the subject.

Enterprise Content Marketing, Simplified

In our experience, relieving the foremost roadblocks and bottlenecks in enterprise content production is all about simplifying and breaking down sprawling complexities.

So when seeking to tackle these three prevalent pain points, here are the advisable steps:

  • Difficulty enacting change and updating processes: Focus on benefits and added efficiencies of new approaches and solutions. Maintain transparency about these initiatives throughout the ranks. Divide big organizational changes into granular steps that feel more manageable.
  • Trouble coordinating with so many people involved in content production: Keep all of your content planning and management housed in the same central repository, accessible to all. Specify roles and assignments. Communicate consistently.
  • Measurement challenges and goal clarity: Document your strategy. Set attainable goals from the start of every campaign or project, and track against them routinely. Tether every content piece to a larger objective so everyone understands how it fits into the big picture, and what success will ultimately look like.

General Electric, the other company referenced alongside Red Bull earlier as a model of enterprise content marketing success, was the subject of a memorable article at Harvard Business Review back in 2010, which outlined three dimensions of GE’s proven framework:

  1. Principles (creating a common language and standards)
  2. People (getting the right leaders in place)
  3. Process (including very specific measures for grading performance)

Nail these down and your team will be on its way to merrier times.

One last thing…

At DivvyHQ, we have an Enterprise Plan that is tailored to the specific needs of large, decentralized content production teams that require scalability and structure. Try it out free for two weeks to see how it suits your organization.