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Third of companies have dedicated content teams – but managers holding them back

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Content marketing has become so mainstream in the UK that 30% of companies employ content professionals in-house, according to a new survey on the UK’s culture of content.

But these content teams are facing cultural challenges, with a lack of strategic direction and too much interference from senior stakeholders.

One third of those surveyed said senior management had a negative impact on content quality. And staggeringly, nearly half of all written content never gets published in 15% of organisations.

More than two-thirds of senior marketers responding to the survey said the biggest challenge to producing good content was a lack of clear direction, as evidenced in an absence of content strategy, guidelines, workflows or understanding about target audiences.

The majority (53.36%) also cited time spent on feedback as the biggest challenge to getting content live. Close behind, nearly 46% blamed briefs which change after content has already been created.

The survey by agency Sticky Content, asked nearly 300 senior marketing professionals at organisations about the UK’s content culture.

The 2015 results show some improvement in content culture at UK organisations over the last couple of years, as awareness of the importance of content grows. Over 30% of organisations say they regard content as business critical, for instance, and have people whose full-time responsibilities are content planning, creation, delivery and governance.

Commenting on the results, Emily Shelley, managing director of Sticky Content, said: “It’s positive to see that a large number of companies have dedicated content teams, but disappointingly many still don’t have a clear strategy in place. Without a coherent plan mapped to business goals, that the whole company can sign up to, it’s very difficult for teams to make progress.”

“The survey shows that content professionals are growing increasingly frustrated at a lack of strategic direction from the business and the amount of time it takes for content to get signed off. It’s shocking to see that in a substantial number of organisations, half of written content never even sees the light of day,” adds content director Dan Brotzel.

Taking steps to reduce that wastage would be an obvious quick win, but the first challenge must be to understand the underlying causes. From experience, it could be one or more of several factors:

  • content gets commissioned without reference to any clear strategy
  • staff are creating content that isn’t fit for purpose, perhaps because of a lack of understanding of digital best practice or compliance requirements
  • perfectly good content is sitting around unused because of workflow or resources issues
  • in the rush to become publishers in their own right, businesses are sacrificing quality for quantity.

“Sticky Content can help address many such issues, whether through training, content strategy consultancy, or creating high-quality digital content that’s aligned with best practice, even at high volumes and frequencies,” said Brotzel.

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