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4 essential components of a content engine

4 essential components of a content engine Rebecca Lieb

What goes into creating and fostering an organizational culture of content? As an analyst, that's the topic I'm currently researching.


Broadly speaking, organizations that have fostered a culture of content have spread the importance of content beyond the marketing organization. Content education, evangelization, creation, and distribution flow upwards and downwards, from the C-suite to the shop floor. Marketing gets content flowing out into the organization, but also fosters a circulatory system in which various divisions across the enterprise (i.e. sales, recruiting, customer care, product groups, etc.,) are creating, inspiring and leveraging content to better fulfill their roles.


We visualize this as an engine, one comprised of gears and cogs, contained in a strategic infrastructure. There are four primary components to the content engine.



Click for full infographic here


People


Beyond the content or the marketing staff, people are critical to this machine's success. Leadership understands the value of content and fosters it. People across the organization are tapped for their ability to create content (this needn't be complicated -- it can be as simple as the occasional tweet, or capturing images with a camera phone). They understand and can identify stories that can be turned into content by other creators in the company. People can also be outsiders: agency and vendor partners, for example.


Process


Process involves many tactical elements -- it's what gets content done. Tools, technology, workflow, and governance documents are just part of what creates process. So are editorial calendars, editing guidelines, metrics, and analytics -- as well as well-defined roles and responsibilities. Process also involves training, education, and evangelization.


Inspiration


Fostering a culture of content requires inspiration, as without inspiration there can be no creativity. A core requirement for inspiration is vision, which ladders out to goals and benchmarks. Inspiration is also an understanding of both the elements for content success, as well as risks and failures. But (as one of our interview subjects so eloquently put it), "The biggest risk is not taking a risk at all."



Content


The content engine begets content, but it also ingests and distributes it, creating a circulatory system of content that can be re-used, re-purposed, and re-aligned across paid, owned, and earned media channels and platforms. This engine helps content to beget content: creating more of what resonates, repurposing strong content into different channels and form factors, and distributing the right content to the right people across the organization.


No two content engines look exactly the same, but we believe this to be the overall schematic model. Agree? Disagree? Let me know, and help contribute to this research.


Rebecca Lieb is industry analyst at Altimeter Group.


On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connectin at @iMediaTweet. 

Rebecca Lieb has published more research on content marketing than anyone else in the field.  As a strategic adviser, her clients range from start-up to non-profits to Fortune 100 brands and regulated industries. She's worked with brands...

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