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content factoryIf I asked you to close your eyes and imagine a content factory, what would you envision?

Most of us associate factories with images of busy assembly lines filled with high-tech machinery. We might think about the people, parts, and processes that it takes to create a product like the laptop I’m writing this article on or the smart phone you might be using to read it. Put the word content in front of factory, however, and people often get a little confused. It’s not that they don’t understand what one is (a little explanation goes a long way), but rather that they can’t always immediately make sense of why a company would go to the trouble of building one.

Let me explain the rationale by using OpenView as an example.

If you’re familiar with OpenView, you know that we regularly generate eBooks, reports, case studies, articles, videos, and podcasts, among other types of content. When I talk about our content factory, I’m referring to the infrastructure that we have in place to facilitate all of that work (our managing editor, freelancers, content creation and editorial calendars, etc.). It’s the careful orchestration of people, processes, and tools that allows us to not only produce a steady stream of high-quality content, but also get it out the door so that people can use it.

So why would a venture capital firm (or any company for that matter) that neither sells its content nor uses it to generate advertising revenue invest the time and resources it takes to build a content factory? The simple answer is that OpenView recognizes that we live in a content-centric world.

Having our own content factory helps us to take advantage of that fact so that we can achieve some important goals such as:

1) Providing our customers with information they need

At OpenView, our “customers” are our investors and the portfolio companies that we back. By producing content that we believe our portfolio companies will find useful as they grow (primarily how-to content on a range of operational issues they face), we’re trying to help them succeed. That’s an approach that not only serves their ultimate goals, but ours and our investors’ as well.

2) Making our firm a trusted source of information

When you publish useful content on a regular basis, over time you’ll invariably become a (maybe even the) source that people go to for specific information. If you’re good, not only will your customers look to you for information, so will prospects, competitors, and other interested parties. Although OpenView’s content was originally intended for our portfolio companies, it now gets read by thousands of people every week, including an array of entrepreneurs and other professionals who value the content we provide.

3) Driving traffic

The Internet is a crowded place. You’ve got to give people a reason to not only visit your website, but also to keep coming back. Content provides that reason. Once you’ve established yourself as a trusted source of information, your site will become a destination. When it does, you’ll have a lot more eyes looking at your site, greatly increasing your chances of converting some of them into customers.

4) Enhancing our brand

Over time, a content factory can have a cumulative, positive effect that will help to elevate your brand. It can help establish you as an expert or even a thought leader. It can also help extend your reach so that more people know who you are and what you do. Finally, if you’re equipped to produce great content on a regular basis, it will go a long way toward helping you stand out from your competitors.

These are just some of the many benefits of having a content factory that every company should consider when deciding whether or not to build one themselves. Although it may seem daunting at first, it’s really only takes a relatively small investment to build one, and yet it can have a very large impact on your organization’s success. Stay tuned for future posts in which I will outline the best practices companies should follow to build content factories of their own.

Now that you know why you need a content factory, you can learn out to build your own with our content marketing ebook.


Kevin Cain is responsible for setting and executing OpenView’s content marketing strategy.

  • craig daniels

    The factory example is a perfect one to help break through the constraints many businesses imagine when they hear the term “content strategy.”  Making things more concrete really goes a long way towards breaking down the barriers. Thanks

  • Kevin Cain

    Thanks for the feedback, Craig, and fore reading my post!

  • Passerby

    So we’re not talking about automated content generation, right? Because when I hear “factory” I’m thinking about the almost black-hat method of reaggregating yours (or other’s) content to churn out debatably useful articles just for traffic.

    • Kevin Cain

      No, it’s not a question of automated content generation, but rather building the infrastructure to ensure that your company is able to develop the high-quality content it needs to meet its business objectives. Think of it as a Mercedes Benz factory (a marriage of expert skill and efficiency), rather than a random factory popping out countless widgets.

  • Anonymous

    Nicely laid out, Kevin!

    You take me back to the founding of NetRadio early in the internets’ expansion. We used the “Content Factory” metaphor as a blueprint. Graphics, regular text posts (now called blogging), radio stations (of course), forum posts, email and gaming helped us attract an audience of 50 million unique IPs per month in about 3 years. Those unique IPs visited about 5 times a week each for a “listenership” of about 250 million per month.Having fresh content every single day gave people a good reason to visit every day.Our deep involvement in the old style social media – forums and games (in the form of multi-user domains, specifically Quake and Descent – helped spread the word, especially on college campuses.I believe what many in SEO have done is, ultimately, a disservice to their clients and the internet at large. The online universe is now, and always has been, about content; cool stuff that people want to experience. Gaming a search engine will never, ever provide fresh, interesting content. Instead SEO companies promise large audiences for websites that haven’t earned them and we’re all worse off for the effort.Our biggest hurdle with new clients is getting them to understand that it’s the content stupid; especially after the latest round of Google algorithm changes. The good news is when a client gets it we’re seeing ROI upwards of 800%.

    Thanks for championing content.

    • Kevin Cain

      Great insights. Having great, fresh content every day is exactly what we aspire to at OpenView Labs, and if you’ve got some strong ideas about content, you should consider writing a guest article for us. I agree that gaming SEO is a losing proposition and that true followers are the ones that you earn over time.

      Thanks for reading and let me know if you’d like to write an article with us.

      • Anonymous

        Hi Kevin,

        Thanks for you kind words. I have been accused of being opinionated before but never so gently!

        Of course i’d love to write a guest article with you. Would a video fit into your scheme? I regularly post video blogs. On the other hand, I also write a lot and would be happy to craft something for your text blog.

        Best Wishes,


  • Barbara Mckinney

    Hi Kevin! Thanks for the article.

    Sounds like you really want the best to give to your customers and I admire it. You really have an edge among others if you have a great contents. With so many contents (high and low quality one) that are published everyday in internet you must have a standout one.

    • Kevin Cain

      Thanks for reading and your comment, Barbara!