Build a High-Performance Content Marketing Supply Chain

March 13, 2017
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

Four steps will help you build a regular supply of content.

“You can still dunk in the dark” is the now-famous Tweet sent by Nabisco brand Oreo during the Super Bowl blackout in 2013. It is the hero’s tale of inspiration for modern social and content marketing: Brand marketers in a war room respond in a flash of inspiration to capture the Super Bowl commercial crown. Yet, like many hero tales, it obscures certain realities and omits others, such as the ready-and-waiting brand, marketing and legal teams assembled in war rooms, and command centers to enable real-time responses such as those pioneered by Gatorade and Dell in 2010. The tale doesn’t do justice to the hard work needed to churn out great content across the 364 days without a Super Bowl.

“Brands are under pressure to inspire, inform and entertain, both in the moment and at regular intervals — every day, ad infinitum,” said Chris Ross, research director, Gartner for Marketers. “Make content marketing sustainable by building a content supply chain that addresses sourcing, manufacturing and distribution of content to achieve speed and scale.”

Brands looking to build a content supply chain need to focus on four steps to execute and optimize the supply chain.

  1. Look outside your industry or domain
    Look to unconventional sources for inspiration and fresh thinking to become a content cross-trainer. Attend conferences, local meetups and events to learn creative tips from marketers in unrelated or noncompetitive industries. Sometimes creativity is simply applying known concepts to a new context.

  2. Find leverage in your creation efforts
    The average brand simply can’t keep pace with the volume and velocity of content creation efforts to feed the needs of social and engagement marketing. Find leverage points to make your content creation efforts more sustainable:
    Cast a wide net for contributors. Look to dedicated staff writers and designers, product experts, freelancers, agencies and partners, content licensors and customers.
    Step up your content curation efforts. It’s lower cost and earns you goodwill with audiences.
    Set realistic goals. Don’t let your ambitions overshadow your capacity.
    Design modular content. Create content that can be repurposed and reused in different combinations.

  3. Partner with pros
    Explore content marketing and creative agencies with established content marketing practices. Research and assess the dozens of boutique, midsize independent agencies and global PR agencies that offer content marketing solutions.

  4. Commit to a regular cadence
    Content marketing requires regular (often daily) sourcing and distribution of carefully chosen content. Hold your team and yourself accountable for meeting the publishing schedule. Deadlines matter.


“Optimize your supply chain by tapping new contributors. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do, and hold your organization accountable,” said Mr. Ross.

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