A sobering note to all marketing leaders: That content writer who you’ve been relying on for so long, who you’ve invested so much time into, who has perfectly captured the voice and tone you want for your brand…they’re going to leave you. Maybe not today, but eventually, because content creation isn’t a one-person job.
For years, a large percentage of our business was generated from this exact scenario: an in-house writer had left, and nDash (being an agency at the time) was brought on to fill the void. We were happy to oblige, but what I found interesting was that these companies insisted on making the same mistake with us. In other words, they wanted to once again become reliant on one writer.
This never made much sense to me, and it’s where the concept of a “content community” started to take shape.
Instead of moving from one writer to another—and being completely reliant on them to achieve their content marketing goals during that time—what if brands created content with a flexible team of contributors? What if the content operation could continue despite a few writers moving into other roles? This made a lot more sense to me, and so we decided to pivot our model and offer a platform to make it all possible.
And while the platform is easy to explain (and free to use), this concept of a content community is still largely unknown. And so, with that in mind, I wanted to take a few minutes to cover the basics.
What exactly is a content creation community?
In the most basic sense, a content community is just a group of people who contribute to the content creation process. That includes writers, editors, designers, strategists, subject matter experts, influencers, and others What they hold in common is an understanding of your brand, audience, and industry. Whether they are full-time or freelance, this group is one that can be called upon with regularity to deliver content, review drafts, talk strategy, pitch content ideas, etc.
Why do I need one?
A few reasons. As we mentioned earlier, you need one as a defensive measure against writer attrition. There’s nothing worse than being reliant on one writer, having them leave, and then having to re-train someone from scratch. This is how brands go from publishing every day to every month, with dramatic changes in tone and style. At the very least, a content community offers continuity.
But more than just an insurance play, a content community offers diversity in terms of perspective and ideation. When a brand leverages a lone writer (or two), they aren’t just leaning on them for the writing. They are often times leaning on them for ideas. After writing about the same basic topics for an extended period of time, it’s easy for these to become stale and repetitive. So in this sense, a content community isn’t about offloading work to freelancers but rather leaning on them to help you come up with fresh new angles that might interest your audience.
For example, we’ve been writing about content for the better part of three years, and it hasn’t always been easy coming up with new ideas. When we opened things up to the nDash Community, we were suddenly awash in unique, creative pitches specific to us.
And we’re getting more on a daily basis (as is every brand on the platform). The truth is, no matter how successful one writer may be, the chances of them being the best writer for any circumstance is partially impossible. You need more diversity.
How does it change the role of the content marketing manager?
In my experience, content marketing managers get to do very little managing; they spend the bulk of their time creating, writing, and editing. So a content community (to use a newspaper analogy) is designed to make them more like a managing editor and less like a lone reporter. They should be approving ideas, assigning tasks, promoting the content, and tracking results. Will they still write? Of course, just not everything.
Next steps for effective content creation
It’s been about a year since we launched our content community platform, and since then, we’ve seen hundreds of brands embrace the concept and be wildly successful with it. If you’re interested in adopting a more open, fluid content creation process, then be sure to create a free company account on nDash or give us a shout.