Every consumer innovation, every new thing we can do with data, every new and fun way we can personalize content is met with excitement and applause-and rightfully so. But every time we create better ways to reach or attract consumers, we also raise expectations

Last week I went to an Amazon Go store and now I just want to walk out of every store without having to use a checkout. Innovation eventually becomes conditioning. Twenty years ago we accepted that you had to wait thirty annoying seconds to dial-up the Internet-that is if you're Mom wasn't making a phone call and you hadn't run out of your 1,000 free hours of America Online that came on a disc. 

Now I'm confused if my phone doesn't get service immediately, anywhere I go. We've reached that same space for content. Consumers and clients expect it immediately. 

The average piece of content takes 12 days to create.

"Consumers today expect personalized experiences almost instantaneously. Providing this level of experience requires companies to create and deliver content at a faster pace than ever before," said Ashley Still, VP and GM of Adobe Document Cloud and Creative Cloud. "To keep up creatives need to understand what works and what doesn't work with audiences to better inform the experiences they're designing. Marketers need to fully understand how design impacts business results and use it as a strategic differentiator."

But the average brand isn't fast enough with their content to meet demand. The most alarming stat from a recent Adobe study listed the average time it takes a brand to create one piece of content, start to finish, is 12 days. 12 whole days is too long for something in my Wayfair cart let alone a piece of content. 

The news cycle changes at least three times by then. There's no chance you can create timely content in 12 days so most brands are just guessing what will be topical at that point or hoping for some residual relevance by its release. 

So, how do you speed up content? You start with the internal process itself. 

1. Give creatives authority.

Most of the time spent on content, especially in big organizations, is in the approval and editing process. You're not going to change that process in a big, successful company. So you need a workaround. This is where pre-approval is key. 

Take the time to have a few intensely boring meetings between your CMO and creative teams. Go through as many hypothetical issues as possible and reach a consensus on how things should look and feel for your brand. 

But most importantly once you've had those meetings give the creative teams the autonomy to make and distribute content that fits those established guidelines. The key to this strategy is having low turnover and a highly-trained team. But the benefit will be in cutting your content at least in half. 

2. Use data to prioritize content.

Data can help creative teams decide which tasks to focus on the most. It can also help quickly identify different variances to help with personalization. "Many brands are needing to produce thousands of content iterations to suit varying consumer desires, behavioral patterns and differing contextual situations along the customer journey," said Nikki Mendonça, Global President, Accenture Interactive Operations. 

All content can't be automated but it can help with prioritization and personalization. 

"Dynamic content optimization has become a hugely demanded executional tactic that delivers tangible returns in the boardroom and this will be put on steroids when powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. Data is fueling this development and will continue to play a more influential role in content creation as science becomes just as important as art in the quest for delivering marketing-led brand growth," said Medonca

3. Remember that it doesn't have to be perfect.

Brands can get in their own head when it comes to content. Yes, you want to be accurate, check for errors and get the tone right. But beyond that let it go, track it, see if it does well and move on to the next piece of content. 

Data will help you learn from mistakes and make improvements. But a lot of creative is still feel. If I see a moment, where I can create something that will resonate, I just need it to be 50-75 percent toward perfect. 

So stop caring if you get the color right or the wording right or the brand tone perfect and be faster. Your audience doesn't expect perfect, they expect you to be in the moment. 

Published on: Oct 29, 2018