Breaking Through the Content Bottleneck
In a previous post entitled, “Do You Have a Content Bottleneck?“, we looked at the current phenomenon of the content bottleneck in the realm of modern marketing. That post looked at how content bottlenecks happen and where they most often occur.
In this post, we’ll examine ways to break through the bottleneck to increase your output and take better advantage of all of the content marketing avenues available to you today.
Breaking Through The Content Bottleneck
Bottlenecks are nothing new. Businesses have suffered with them from Day One, which means we have a ton of studies, research, and real-life examples we can use to learn ways to break through content marketing bottlenecks.
One of the most famous examples comes from Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt and his book, The Goal. In it, the author lays out five steps for dealing with bottlenecks:
I want to take a look at each of these steps in turn and apply them to content marketing bottlenecks.
You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what it is in the first place. That’s what this first stage is all about: identifying the content bottleneck or bottlenecks that are holding you back. In content marketing, these bottlenecks typically occur in three places: at the creation stage, in terms of the quality of content that is produced, and/or in the coordination and/or distribution of that content. As we mentioned in our previous post, many organizations find that they are struggling in all three areas.
Once you take some time to examine the bottleneck, it should become fairly obvious where the bottleneck is occurring. You may not even have to do much research at all to identify your content pain points, just ask yourself, “Where’s the hold up?”
At this stage, you’ve identified your bottleneck. Now you need to consider ways to optimize, or improve, the processes leading up to it. This is essential to reducing or eliminating the bottleneck. Broken systems won’t fix themselves. If you don’t address the shortcomings of the process, you’ll keep experiencing the same bottlenecks over and over again.
What you want to do is examine the process of content creation and distribution step-by-step, up to the bottleneck. Do this for each bottleneck you have identified. You’ll find that some steps are routine while others are more creative. Automating those routine steps or developing a standard process for completing them is one example of optimization. To optimize the creative processes, you may need to encourage inter-department collaboration and idea sharing or review data analytics to brainstorm content creation.
Optimizing is about improving something or making it better. What can you do to make your content marketing process better?
If your problem is not having enough content, maybe you need to start with a content marketing plan that lays out the whole year in advance. If your problem is creation, look outside the marketing department to identify internal and external resources you can tap to assist in content creation. If your problem is distribution, look into systems that can automate content distribution or create a calendar for distribution and put someone in charge of making sure the content is posted on time.
Bottlenecks don’t exist in a vacuum. They affect systems and processes all around them. They block the flow of outputs and the work that has gone into creating those outputs and they limit the number of outputs coming from the organization. Once you have optimized the processes and systems surrounding the bottleneck, it’s time to take a broader look at your resources, processes, and communications to figure out ways they can be used to support or reduce the bottleneck, instead of contributing to it.
Resource allocation is one way to reduce bottlenecks. How are staff being used and can they be used elsewhere in the process to break up that bottleneck? Use what you have in a way that addresses the bottleneck. This may require reassignments and reallocation of resources.
Process improvements can reduce bottlenecks by improving quality control, identifying what success looks like and confirming who is responsible for what and when.
Communications are essential to content success. This includes internal communications about content plans, staff duties, and expectations, but it also includes systems communications. Do your systems and data collection efforts “talk” to one another? Is data shared across marketing touchpoints? Without adequate communications how can you know if the content you are communicating is going to the right person/audience? Remember, you are trying to get the right content to the right person at the right time. Good communications can help make that happen.
If you are able to identify, optimize, and support the bottleneck, now you should be able to elevate your capacity as it relates to the content bottleneck. This means being able to better meet content demands and even having additional capacity to drive incremental growth. Meeting demands and then some should be possible because by now you’ve identified your roadblocks and taken steps to minimize or eliminate them. This should give you some breathing room to look to the future to identify new content opportunities and begin to take advantage of them.
What does this look like? Now that you’ve got a better system in place, maybe you can elevate your brand by adding a content channel or trying a new delivery method. Perhaps you can increase the amount of content you are creating, add new types of content, or target a buyer persona you’ve been neglecting.
Iterate is defined as “to say or do again and again and again.” This is exactly what you need to do keep your content marketing program moving forward. You may never eliminate the bottleneck completely or you may find that by changing one thing, you’ve shifted the bottleneck to a different point in the process.
This is why you’ll need to go back to Step 1 and all of the subsequent steps over and over again. It’s simply part of the marketing process to keep reviewing, refining, adapting, and changing your approach as consumer demands change or as your business grows and adapts. Marketing is all about adapting to changing conditions; there’s rarely a “one and done” solution. Instead, it’s more of a continuous refinement process and with these five steps you now have a roadmap to help you along that path.
Don’t Give In To The Bottleneck
Bottlenecks will always exist. The question is will you let them limit you or will you tackle them head-on to improve your content output and customer experience? If you keep these five steps in mind and apply them to your bottlenecks, we can’t guarantee that your bottlenecks will be eliminated but we can guarantee that you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your organization’s content challenges and will, hopefully, discover ways to address them.
If you need help along the way, contact Orlando Content Marketing. We can help you identify bottlenecks, streamline and improve processes, or develop and deliver knockout content!