The corporate content ownership dilemma

With the increasing importance of content, particularly digital content, in many enterprises’ marketing communications programmes, it is interesting to speculate on which corporate discipline will take ownership of ‘content’.

It has been called the Content Convergence Dilemma, the power struggle over who owns corporate content, who controls its generation, publishing and maintenance? Will Content Departments emerge to create and co-ordinate content?

PR is the discipline listening to online communities

PR is the discipline listening to online communities

If product marketing teams — for instance — produce content independently, the enterprise overall won’t have the benefit of getting the maximum out of content and, to the customer, content may appear disjointed or uncoordinated. Content integration requires each department to be candid about their objectives and to be willing to negotiate, and contribute resources, to a mutually-agreed content plan and calendar.

You might think that the drive for more corporate transparency, coupled with social media’s voracious appetite for content, would have internal corporate departments vying for the rights to push out content.

In reality, brands’ internal departments defer to PR and say, either, “You do it” or, “Tell us what you need and we’ll see how we can help”. PR is not necessarily the repository of all the skills that are needed. They will depend on Marketing, or outside agencies, for copywriting, graphic, coding, video and editing skills crucial to content development.

However, PR professionals probably have the best feel about what content will appeal most to an enterprise’s communities. They already participate in communities, offline and online. They’re the ones tracking what the mainstream media want to write about and talking to editors and journalists. They’re the ones who often monitor social media in PR programmes — talking to community members and customers, running polls, testing out hashtags, flagging potential landmines and running buzz and sentiment monitoring.

Brands can derive huge value from PR’s ability to create, manage and tweak the workaday content calendar. It’s from their efforts that Marketing should be monitoring the nuggets to develop into the big ideas which have already been proven within online community interaction.

This case study illustrates how a PR team’s community relations groundwork led to insights into an audience sector, what concerned them and how media campaigns could be constructed around the insights.

Social media will continue to reveal key marketing information and public relations could develop another string to its bow as early testbeds for accessing, developing and trialling creative ideas.