Content Chaos set to be a major issue in 2020

By Matt Cartmell, director, Carta Communications

Nine in ten in-house communications team leaders regularly experience challenges in their content creation, a new survey has revealed.

“We don’t know what works and what matters,” complained one comms leader.

The results suggest that Content Chaos could be a major concern for in-house communicators in 2020, as they point to a perfect storm of missing skills and resources, fragmented business units, and increasingly tight deadlines.

The survey, commissioned by content agency Speak Media and conducted by The Pulse Business, found that 90% of comms directors regularly struggle with content challenges, with the leading issue being a lack of measurement and analytics, at 33%.

One respondent who wished to remain anonymous explained: “We need to be more rigorous in checking what content generates the most engagement but have a lack of skills and resources in the team.”

Meanwhile, 29% of comms leaders point to content silos as the problem they struggle with on a regular basis, when sections of their organisation independently develop unshared content.

Jenny Caven, Director of External Affairs, Slimming World, said: “Business units are fragmented and used to being measured on the success of their own initiatives. They also work to different cycles and deadlines depending on their channel and output.

“Finding new ways of working collaboratively takes time and planning and people struggle with change, especially when they are used to working in a particular way. Working to tight deadlines doesn’t help when you need to take time out to pause and reflect on better ways of doing things.”

Lesser issues identified included poor visual content, such as video, photography, illustration, graphics; and not having an editorial strategy in place.

On the final point, another anonymous respondent complained of “too many competing pressures and no prioritisation, because we don’t know what works and what matters”, resulting in an uncontrolled spread of “random content”.

Only 10% of all respondents said they did not experience any form of content challenge at all.

Commenting on the findings, George Theohari, Head of Content at Speak Media, said: “Content Chaos is going to cause some huge issues for organisations in 2020, as the breadth, ambition and time-sensitivity of content needed to fill their channels now rival that of some traditional news outlets.

“This development can create huge challenges for communications leaders. Content silos, editorial bottlenecks, duplication of content, and ‘off-strategy’ content divert marketing and communications directors from their role as comms strategists.

“And many large-scale communications teams can lack the specific editorial expertise needed to lead and coordinate the kind of multi-channel news team that will satisfy a brand’s many channels and stakeholders.”

The Pulse Business ran a single question Pulse to c400 in-house communications leaders in November 2019.

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