This post is both literal and figurative; rhetorical and concise. Depending on how you slice it, what the intentions are, who might be the executive sponsor, to whom the role (or roles, plural) report… this is one question that, when asked six times will likely yield seven answers.
There’s no argument here that the role of content is and should be taking a more prominent role inside organizations. But what “is” content (see my prior post for my take on that)? Even that can generate a good healthy discussion amongst co-workers. Without further ado…
- Creative or Copy – This person/team in many organizations is the nucleus of the brand, message, style, tone, voice of a company. They exude the essence. If content is set to position the company’s thoughts via prose, images, video, and so forth – what better group to own it?
- PR – Public Relations owns the relationship with the media. And in 2013 (and beyond – and even a few years before), well… newsflash – we are all the media. We are the ones absorbing, deciding, adjudicating, and reporting on the stories. So if the interface of our brand with our customers and the media makers (Hey, @SteveGarfield !), is PR – what better group to own it?
- Marketing Communications (MarComm in many orgs) – This team is in the trenches. They are running campaigns, coordinating webinars, booking speakers, getting product updates from product marketing, working with release teams to understand what features we can talk about, working with events to buzz a big to-do coming up… the marketing of the entire company, in some way/shape/form courses through this team. With so many touch points to the rest of the organization, and the seemingly innate connectedness to the rest of the company – what better group to own it?
- Web Development – They Might (not) Be Editors (not to be confused with TMBG), but they are, to a large extent, gatekeepers of content on the site. They might give you keys to the CMS, but what they giveth they can also taketh away. And not in a nefarious way. But in a “I wade through this data every day – I know what searches people do, I know browse paths, I know bounce (and Snuggle and Downy, in case you care), I know exit, and I know referral. I KNOW what people consume”… kind of way. If you have one of those or a team of those on your team, and they also happen to be a good writer/content producer, well then – what better group to own it?
- Content Manager/Leader – Leading, specifically, the initiative of content in an organization. The role that is seemingly a part-time job in these other roles, but carved out to be 100% time for this one person or team. Kind of like taking a little bit of invoicing away from all of the team and making a dedicated “accounts payable group.” A more concentrated approach. Maybe ‘stealing’ a bit from the others, but centralizing the work, and maybe even relieving the burden (authority? depends on perspective, I guess) from others. When coalesced like this – what better group to own it?
So – who does own it after all this? I present a handful of lightly compelling arguments, all (seemingly) plausible. I may have even missed one in here (please comment if I did). A case can be made for one, a case can be made for all. Given your work conditions, at least one is wrong… and at least one is right.
So, the post isn’t to debate the polar answers, but rather – where do you land on all of this? There are lots of inputs, contributors, overarching executives… who is the one/the team that has the roll-up responsibility for this in your organization? Is it the right person and team for your organization? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts.