Companies have always produced collateral to market their goods and services, so the publishing function isn’t totally foreign to organizations trying to reach mass-market audiences with a targeted message.
But what is relatively new is the direct communications enabled by corporate websites and online publishing, which bring tremendous opportunities to marketing departments but also require the adoption of a more of a publishing culture based on strong editorial standards, carefully gaging reader preferences and delivering quality content that’s clearly targeted at customers and prospects–and not at internal audiences.
I’ve been writing and editing corporate content throughout my career, and I’ve seen the pendulum shift from highly promotional, printed materials with long shelf lives to more balanced, online content that has only weeks or months of relevance. I’ve also seen the cultural shift for many companies away from developing content internally to outsourcing corporate content development, which has been both a good and a bad thing.
For me, this shift has been mostly a good thing because I’m grateful for the many fine companies that have turned to my services to help them develop content. It’s also often a good thing for the folks trying to find out more about the company, because the use of outside resources allows organizations to go beyond traditional case studies, data sheets, white papers and product information to offer multimedia content, such as webcasts and video content that help drive home salient marketing messages.
But many organizations are suffering from quality control issues as they pump up the volume of content they create to engage prospects and customers using online channels. Inconsistent messaging, faulty execution, shoddy workmanship, lack of centralized quality control, inconsistent publishing frequencies and lack of clear editorial standards are some of the typical issues that plague corporate publishing campaigns. I’ll break down some of these topics further with examples in future blogs, but the fastest, easiest and cheapest problem to fix while scaling a corporate publishing campaign is developing and maintaining editorial standards to ensure a consistent voice for the company.