Defining The Responsibilities In The Content Lifecycle

In the previous article, we discussed the three core pillars of content marketing strategy. Much like the 4 Ps of marketing, these three pillars contain the sum of all activities that will be performed as part of a content marketing approach.

So, the first thing we need to do within the Purpose category is to define the core activities (or responsibilities) that are within these pillars.

In the simplest of terms, how will we manage the “content lifecycle” from ideation all the way through to measurement? This is going to help us understand this “wicked problem.”

When we think about how we’re going to allocate all of our time, resources, etc., we like to categorize things.

In our personal lives, those categories might be work, lifestyle, or family. In our business lives, they might be via divisions, marketing, sales, product, human resources, accounting, etc.

In order to make a plan for how we will accommodate all the activities that need to be performed as part of our content marketing strategy, we first need to identify what they are – categorize them.

Within each of the three pillars, a six-step lifecycle for content makes up the categories of responsibilities that need to be applied. But now we can see how the three pillars of content align with a very linear content lifecycle process.

As you can see in the image, each of the six responsibilities flows through the three pillars from coordination of content, through operations, and ultimately into our portfolio of experiences.

And, of course, our new content team won’t be responsible for all of them across all three pillars.

So, we start by defining them (and what we will and won’t be responsible for) as our Purpose – within the Content Coordination pillar. The six responsibility categories are:

1. Strategy: Planning And Prioritization

As with any communication, strategic content is planned and prioritized. Not all ideas for content are good, and most should be combined with others.

So a key first step in the content lifecycle is a coordinated activity of cross-functional planning, resource allotment, and prioritization for content.

2. Create: Content Assembly And Editing

One of the biggest challenges in the content lifecycle is separating the idea of content creation (the raw content) and production of the designed assets (the containers).

But this is a necessary split to ensure that great content can be re-packaged and re-used across multiple layouts and designs.

3. Produce: Design And Production

Once content has been created and production gets underway, you must have a planning process to manage that work.

This is the activity of designing and producing all of the containers for content that needs to be created.

4. Merchandise: Scheduling And Distribution

Think of this as internal distribution of the content produced.

If you have planned well, you are creating lots of assets from big ideas, and your publishing schedule looks forward, not behind.

In other words, because you’ve been planning, you’re likely completing assets that may not be published for weeks or even months. This responsibility is the internal distribution planning and lifecycle.

5. Activate: Publishing And Promotion

Whether you’re a team of one or 100, you should develop activation plans as part of your content plan.

After content is published, this is a question of not only a “marketing plan” but of all the content and assets that may need to be created as part of a marketing plan for other content assets.

6. Measure: Analytics And Insight

Who is wrangling and working the decision-making process for how you will determine measurement?

It’s about creating a planning and ongoing management process.

  • Who is responsible for tracking the metrics?
  • Who is accountable for getting the numbers?
  • Who will be consulted?
  • Who needs to be informed about them?

So – with these responsibilities in mind, the question then becomes how you delegate (or assume) each of these six responsibilities across each of the three different pillars.

Is one team handling all of the responsibilities across all three pillars, or are multiple teams handling some of the responsibilities and outsourced agencies handling others?

Or are all teams handling all of the responsibilities as separate silos?

It’s a decision to make. There is no right one.

And don’t worry – you are building to change, so as things evolve, you may decide to change from one to another.

The critical thing is to make a conscious decision about each.

Remember, these are activities that you will constantly manage, not projects that cannot be undone.


This article is an extract from the book “Content Marketing Strategy” by Robert Rose ©2023 and is reproduced and adapted with permission from Kogan Page Ltd.

This article is the second in a series of three (Read: Designing The Content Marketing Strategy Measurement and The Three Pillars Of Content Marketing Strategy) on Search Engine Journal that delve deeper into the concepts discussed in the book, which officially launched on September 26, 2023.

As a token of appreciation for your readership, Kogan Page Ltd. has generously shared a 20% discount code exclusively for Search Engine Journal readers. If you’re interested in purchasing the book, please use the promo code CMS20 at www.koganpage.com/content-marketing-strategy to redeem it.

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Featured Image: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock

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