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  • Julie Levitch

Project Managers: Keeping the Beat of Content Production

As a B2B content marketer, I find it difficult to calculate the benefits of high quality, content marketing programs. They’re simply too numerous to count. What is the value of a website that builds trust? A blog post that piques a reader’s interest to learn more? A technical white paper that creates a lead that turns into a sale?

Rather than pushing products and services out with the hope of getting a bite, content marketing works like a magnet to bring audiences in. In today’s digital age, content marketing is simply the way consumers interact with and learn about businesses.

But generating quality content doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It takes an artful combination of strategy, content creation, and project management. This is not unlike a rock band that requires a lead singer, guitars, keyboards, bass—and most importantly, a drummer who keeps the beat going. Take the drummer out of the mix, and what do you have? Hmmm… How many rock songs do you know that have no drums?

When times are lean, marketers can easily fall into the trap that simplifying workflows can replace real project management. Yet, the reality is that content marketing is getting more complex:

· There are more stakeholders involved with content creation.

· Audiences are evolving at a faster clip.

· Distribution channels are changing and increasing.

There is also a trend in companies decentralizing content marketing by letting product marketing and engineering teams produce their own content. This only adds to the challenge. While these individuals may be close to the products and solutions that they’re marketing, they often don’t have a firm enough grasp of best practices and strategies, nor the production skills, to get a project over the finish line.

Why do content marketing projects fail? Here are the common themes I’ve seen over the years (and interestingly, they all have to do with project management):

  • Projects without a project plan that includes a schedule, budget, deliverables, and available resources.

  • A lack of clear delegation to determine what needs to be done—and by whom.

  • Ho-hum, boring content that doesn’t offer unique perspectives and ultimately dilutes brand value.

  • A lack of understanding of the available channels, how they should be used, and how they apply to the customer journey.

  • No follow up to assess a project’s success and identify opportunities for improvement.

These flubs aren’t fixable by buying a new project management tool or streamlining processes. There is no silver bullet that will replace what a skilled project manager does:

  • Serves as the intake person for new projects.

  • Determines timelines and workloads.

  • Keeps team members on track.

  • Sets realistic expectations.

  • Steps in, if necessary, with a friendly, but bossy, “Hi, is this completed, yet?”

Content work gets done, and content marketers stay happy when there is a balance of strategy and management. In rock and roll terms, project managers may not be the flashy, lead singers, belting out tunes on the front of the stage. But they are the drummers keeping the beat and everyone in sync.

Here’s to embracing the beat of project managers and all they do.

Song of the Day: Turn the Beat Around, Vicki Sue Robinson

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