The hidden costs of content silos

Estimated reading time
4 minutes
22nd April 2020
Author: Nick Mason
Posted in: Content Operations

Being able to quickly scale up your content is a huge advantage in the current climate, but a 2020 report from the CMO Council and Rock Content found that many marketers aren’t able to do this.

38% of surveyed marketers listed taking ideas and translating thoughts and concepts into reality as being among their most pressing content challenges. In addition to this, only 3 in 10 marketers responded positively that they could quickly scale up or down their content operations if needed.

In reality, content operations are often an afterthought to content marketing. People focus on the creative and expected revenue growth without implementing the infrastructure needed to connect the two. This cost of content silos affects your business in more ways than you might think.

cartoon image of professionals separated to show content silos

What are content operations?

Your content operations are the processes behind your content marketing. This includes the strategy, visibility, and collaboration that goes into your content.

Content marketing can fragment without effective content operations. Content is produced without significant consideration for its purpose. This is why many marketers are unable to tie their content marketing efforts to the bottom line of their business.

When you do have efficient content operations in place, you create content that forms part of a bigger picture. Your content can cover all personas and buyer stages, providing long-term value long after publication.

Who’s in charge of content operations?

It’s common to lump content operations and content marketing together. As a result, it is almost always part of marketing’s responsibilities.

The issue with this is that the demands for content from a business perspective have exploded in the last few years. What once might have been organizing a few blog posts a month is now a multifaceted series of processes. These processes must work together in order to be successful.

On a daily basis, content operations can include uploading, editing, updating, distributing, and the ownership of strategies behind content. Many marketing teams do this on top of their other responsibilities so it’s not always done well. 

What is a content silo?

A silo appears when a group of people doesn’t share information, goals, tools, priorities, or processes with other groups. For content silos, this could mean marketing and sales don’t communicate their needs. Or design and copywriting aren’t on the same page (literally) regarding what content should achieve.

This type of mindset presents challenges across the entire company and hinders the time, cost, and effectiveness of content. It could cause barriers in production, distribution, or analysis.

To get the most out of your content, the operations side of things should take a cross-collaborative approach that involves all stakeholders.

cartoon image of teams separated to show content silos

The cost of siloed content operations

If content operations are limited within the marketing silo, marketing will only produce content that is not used by their coworkers. Furthermore, this content won’t be aligned with the broader strategic objectives of the company. It will appear disjointed with how customer-facing teams are communicating.

The estimated cost for content marketing can be up to $50,000 per month for strategy, creation, and promotion. That is a lot of money for something that is mainly ignored internally. This means that the content is not fully utilized within the business, but rather only at the top.

The hidden costs of siloed content operations range from missed opportunities to disjointed communications. Sales cycles become bloated and deals are painful to close because the right content just isn’t there.

The benefits of cross-collaborative content operations

Cross-collaborative content operations allow every team to have full visibility into workflows, schedules, and metrics. It creates space for open communication between departments on the processes going into content creation. It also allows full transparency into the metrics the marketing team are monitoring to measure their content performance. Do “hits” and downloads really impact the business? Are there other insights the business would like to see content deliver?

Collaboration doesn’t take creative control away from marketing. On the contrary, it allows other teams to make comments and suggestions for the content they think would help them do their jobs better. As a result, you are able to cover every stage of the buyer journey. 

Listen to people within the business who are communicating the prospects on an intimate level. That knowledge is priceless. It is one of the most important tactics marketers can take. If you want to create content that resonates with your audience, be a team player. Bring others into your operation. Doing so will allow you to drive lasting revenue to your business directly from content.

If you’re interested in learning more about the actual processes you need to take to build a scalable content operation and avoid content silos, check out this presentation by Emily Reynolds of Phunware at B2B Marketing Exchange:

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