Today's marketing automation will mean less content work tomorrow, right?

Funny thing: IBM promised to tame the "paperwork explosion" through the widespread acceptance of its latest technology, the Selectric typewriter. The year was 1967. You know what happened next: Paperwork increased.

Fast-forward five decades. "Automation" technology dominates the marketing conversation, promising to reduce or eliminate manual processes. But you know what's happening right now: Manual work is increasing.

Our marketing automation platforms are voracious beasts that demand constant streams of fresh content for multiple target segments. The workload is huge—but in many, if not most, offices (even among enterprises), the teams responsible for creating that content remain small. It is not unusual to find one- or two-person teams laboring to create as many as a dozen content pieces a month for three, six, or ten different segments.

Less Creating, More Ring-Leading

How can such small teams create that much content? They can't. But they can manage the content-creation process if they rethink their roles.

Instead of serving as content creators, content marketers can direct teams staged in a sequence of rings, like the ripples in a pond or the circles within a dartboard.

As a content "ring leader," you oversee content creation among the following three circles.

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Jonathan Kranz is the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and a copywriting veteran now in his 21st year of independent practice. A popular and provocative speaker, Jonathan offers in-house marketing writing training sessions to help organizations create more content, more effectively.

LinkedIn: Jonathan Kranz

Twitter: @jonkranz