Should Content Marketers Own the Content Experience In Your Organization?

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

As content experience rises to the ranks of the four core disciplines of marketing, the question of accountability rises with it. As an important tenet of marketing, we know the impact an optimal or poor experience can have on our marketing efforts. In order to ensure we’re properly managing our content experience, someone must be responsible for its maintenance. Who within your organization should be tasked with managing that experience?

The default for many organizations is content marketers. Both their title and the discipline in question have “content” right there in the name. So, it would stand to reason that they belong together; that content marketers should be responsible for the content experience within their larger organization.

Even within Uberflip, at times co-workers from all corners look to me and my counterpart when content experience questions arise. We’re content marketers, we deal with content all day, so this must fall to us, right? Not so fast.

A Content Marketer’s Core Competencies

In plain and simple terms, a content marketer is responsible for building and managing a rich editorial calendar that attracts a qualified audience. Content marketers are more than just creators of content. They’re charged with knowing their target audience, their interests, and the formats that will most appeal to them.

They create blog articles, white papers, ebooks, reports, videos, webinars, and infographics to generate interest at the top of the funnel and keep those interested parties interested until they’re ready to convert. Their content generates new leads for the business by converting site traffic through CTAs, landing pages, and gated content.

Where Content Marketing and Content Experience Converge

To understand where these two disciplines overlap and where they diverge let’s take a quick look at the definitions of content marketing and content experience.

According to the Content Marketing Institute:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Content marketing, then, is the creation and distribution of content to drive the buyer journey and ultimately influence opportunities and revenue. Unsurprisingly, a content marketer’s core competencies align with the definition of content marketing.

Compare that to the definition of content experience, as Uberflip has defined it:

A content experience is the environment in which your content lives, how it is structured, and how it compels your prospects and customers to engage with your company.

Where the two concepts intersect is seen in the last part of each definition. Both are in service of profitable customer action. Both aim to compel the audience to engage.

How Much Should Content Marketers Own?

The overlap of content marketing and content experience points to a slice of the content experience that content marketers could potentially own. But looking at the two definitions side-by-side illuminates areas where ownership is not plausible.

Where ownership makes sense

A content marketer’s concern for the content experience stretches as far as experience impacts engagement. They see content experience as the secret sauce that creates deeper engagement that drives conversions and generates leads. As the person on the ground working in the content management system (CMS) and writing calls-to-action, a content marketer already owns parts of the content experience, but should they be responsible for content experience for the larger organization?

Where it doesn’t

If we look holistically at what is meant by content experience, the role of content marketer has little impact or ability to influence the first two components of content experience, namely the environment and structure. When it comes to content’s environment, the content marketer is responsible for writing the words but not for the design, display, or coding of any of the visual components. As for how that content is structured, they have limited influence on the navigation, organization, or user flows.

To truly own content experience for their organization, content marketers would need greater access to and control of these other elements of the experience. This may be possible with a wider breadth of experience than most content marketers possess, or it might be necessary for a small organization. But those are the exceptions, not the rule. Decidedly, it’s difficult to make the case that the content marketer should be accountable for the organization’s content experience.

So if it’s not the content marketer, who should own the content experience in your organization? We dig deeper into this question in the Who Owns the Content Experience ebook.

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