In the field of B2B technology marketing we frequently come across the concept of the ‘IT decision-maker’, closely followed by the ‘business decision-maker’ – or the ITDM and BDM. Sure, it’s extra jargon in a world that doesn’t need any. But most people on either the side of technology buying or selling understand that shorthand.
In content marketing, you might do worse than consider the concept of the ‘content decision-maker’. The idea is equivalent to the ITDM or BDM. It’s a person who has the authority to make a decision such as commissioning content, approving a budget or signing off a final version of something.
Why are we even mentioning this? Because in most fields, decision-making is an accepted practice. It involves sounding out others, taking on board expert advice or best practice… but at the end of the day there is a decision-maker. In content terms, that doesn’t always happen.
Too often we hear about a piece of content that has been “signed off” but “now has to go to my boss”. What if your boss – who quite possibly isn’t close to the project, maybe not aware of goals, context or decisions to that point – doesn’t like it? You’re going to go into battle with him? Probably not. So too often that “sign-off” isn’t a sign-off at all.
And it can be worse. What if you have several people whose counsel you must seek? What if one insists on blue and one insists on red? And all along you know it should be black?
We see this a lot. And there are two things I’d say.
The first is that you’re in the majority. The good news with that is that this is difficult for everyone. The bad news is that there are others out there who don’t get in this pickle. They might even be your competitors. You know, the ones that get featured as best practice proponents of content marketing, among other disciplines.
The second thing is that it doesn’t take much to get this right. It takes knowledge of how others do it, a plan and a commitment to adhere to it ahead of your next project. And it will be worth it.
Some will notice this post is the third on this theme. And the answer to that last point, as we explained in The blueprint for your in-house content team – guaranteed, is to take a lead out of the book of the media. After all, can you imagine if your favourite news broadcaster, newspaper or news website handled sign-offs the way you do? And what do you think these organisations’ relative risk is? In general it’s much higher, yet their decision-making is faster.
They have a name for the content decision-maker. That name is an editor.
Now an editor will seek input from other editors and have plenty of questions for her writers. She will make a judgement on when to pick up the phone (it’s still the best way) to an internal or retained lawyer. She will involve her boss – usually a publisher – in her toughest decisions. But day to day, 49 times out of 50, that editor is the content decision-maker. And that’s a strong, practical process.
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