Let’s get content out of silos (aka what needs to be done to make content marketing work)

Posted by gminks in content marketing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Last week when I was at the FSU Instructional System’s anniversary conference, I begged people in the program to stop thinking their skills are only useful in the Learning and Development organizations.

I have been thinking a lot about the idea that content is locked in silos. I’m not sure silos is the correct word. It’s almost like they are locked up in castles, and if you are on good terms with the feudal lord who minds that particular castle, he may be kind enough to grant you access to some of the content.

My theory comes from the experience of being under the protection of certain lords, and being friends with the serfs in adjacent lands and playing a complicated dance with them to access the content of their domain.

Here are the main types of lords I’ve experienced in high tech companies:

  • Engineering/Development
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Training (Learning and development)
  • Support

I think the ideal that everyone holds to is that the lords come together, and expect information (and the content that is the permanent artifact of that information) to flow freely between the lords (exec mgmt) and serfs (people like us who are doing the work).

Here’s where I need to think this analogy through a bit more… lords were subject of the king. I guess that would be the CEO, board, shareholders. The lords also employed knights to protect the realm – would this be like evangelists? And the church is in there too. Not sure who plays the bishop. Ideas?

Back to the idea of keeping content in silos. Nowadays, we aren’t defending the land from invasion. We’re protecting our intellectual property, our ideas, our code. And we don’t only do it for the king, we do it against other lords within our own kingdom (company).

Information is power. If you record it, make it into content, anyone can see it and use it. If we’re all serving the same king, it shouldn’t matter. But our lords have us working certain ways to make sure they are able to report favorably to their king. It may be hard for them to recognize that if we change the way we work, they can do things that make them look even better.

  • My challenge to training folks – y’all know we go too slow! Ease up on the adherence to ADDIE, but use those same principles to bring consistent results and the content other folks need better (but for goodness sake FASTER) way!
  • Marketing, you don’t have to own sharing information for the king, let other teams help you. Y’all need help making content relevant and technical. Let the training and sales folks help y’all!
  • Sales, stop trying to reinvent the wheel. Let other teams help – and share what you’ve learned from customers, and WHY you hate the training and marketing content! We are all serving the same king, even if we are under different lords

It’s funny to watch how some lords dictate how information can be recorded and shared. The information hoarders never last. So when your lord is completely overbearing, a new (probably more benevolent) one will will replace her. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly over my career.

I went looking for how feudalism ended, wondering if there was a way to just do things differently. I’m a firm believer that all patterns repeat over and over again, you just need to look for a pattern that matches. Well, the biggest theory the internet brings back on the decline of feudalism is the black death. Not liking that pattern! Unless there is some parallel to the black death – and I”ll have to think on that a bit.

What do you think? What can get us to a place where we don’t just serve a lord, but we willingly help each other?

 

 

 

One Response to Let’s get content out of silos (aka what needs to be done to make content marketing work)

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