Content factory? How about messaging atelier?

There’s a lot of buzz about content factories. It’s a term of art that eludes airtight definition but obviously implies MORE content and content produced efficiently. Taken as a given is the idea that the content will be appropriate and will ultimately deliver marketing results.

I’m reminded of a shirt I saw an electrician wearing. It bore a printed message:

You can have the job done:

-- Fast

-- Good

-- Cheap

(Pick two)

Variations of that message have been offered facetiously in many other fields -- and on a more serious note, show up in project management methodology discussions. Content factory approaches to creating and delivering the right content can run up against similar trade-offs. It’s not easy to make them simultaneously efficient, effective, and affordable. But it is worth trying.

For those taking an in-house approach, there can be opportunities to engage multiple groups in identifying issues and concepts worth communicating. Those sources may even be capable of generating content on their own. Outside agencies trying to do the same thing can also help clients to ferret out hidden gems within (customer concerns, case studies, etc.).

But like any other attempt to do more with less, especially when it involves asking busy people to put on yet another functional hat, there are dangers. Will content really be appropriate or effective? Perhaps just as concerning, what are the opportunity costs associated with adding those burdens to the schedules of already busy people? It’s like asking a surgeon to take on patient billing responsibilities. It might “save” money but at what cost?

The content factory idea is an inspiring concept. However, it must be applied with care, preferably by professionals who know how. They are the ones who can spot a “story,” extract key details, and generate a compelling and concise bit of word craft, properly tailored, on time, and on budget. And, best of all, the cost is visible -- not buried in the activities of others.


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