Where does your content come from? A lone contributor? A small team? Is it – gasp! – outsourced? The best answer you could have given would have been: “Our entire organization produces content.” That’s where content creation comes into play.
Some brands get it. They’re fully aware of the benefits that come with producing original content, and they know it cannot be assigned to an individual or even an individual department. Rather, it must be a collective effort on the part of the entire organization (and yes, maybe some outside help as well).
Even the engineers? Yes. The HR department? Indeed. The sales team? Most definitely.
Hey, I said the entire organization! In other words, content marketing has to become part of the company culture. It doesn’t have to be a priority for everyone, but it should always be on their collective radar. Easy said than done, of course, but if you follow these five steps, you’ll be on the right path:
Step 1. Designate a leader.
One of the big 2014 content marketing trends, according to Content Marketing Institute, is the rise of the content director – someone whose sole responsibility is to “to shape and define the organization’s content marketing strategy, putting in place everything your business needs to execute.” Ideally, someone with the following skills and attributes:
- Strong writing and communication skills
- A good eye for visual content (even if they aren’t a designer)
- A keen analytical mind (and the ability to really dig into data to find meaning and relevance)
- An understanding of conversion optimization (i.e., they are able to distinguish between content that is written to be shared versus content written to generate leads)
- The ability to think like a journalist, stay on top of current trends, and move quickly
Without this role, content marketing will happen by accident (if it happens at all) and lack the purpose needed to make an impact, which leads us to our next step…
Step 2. Show the value.
The marketing department (and sales, to a lesser extent) know the value that comes from producing original content for a specific audience on a regular basis. Other departments, not so much. If you’re going to ask someone in a non-marketing role to play a part in the content creation process, you’ll need to show them why it’s important. Show them how it will result in a more educated customer or prospect; how it will increase lead generation or conversion rates; or how it will position them personally as an expert in their field (you can always rely on that last one).
Step 3. Guide others.
When content is produced on a company-wide basis, you’ll find that many contributors can handle an assignment from start to finish with minimal edits and supervision. Others require a great deal of hand-holding. As the content coordinator of your organization, it’s your responsibility to make the process as easy as possible for the latter group. Help them select topics. Make sure they understand the audience. If they don’t have time to write, interview them and create a draft based on their feedback. Remember, the ability to extract content from others is just as important as being able to produce it yourself.
Step 4. Celebrate success.
Did Bill from accounting just make his blog debut? If so, congratulate him on the post, share the hell out of it on social media (have others do the same), and perhaps send an internal email giving everyone a heads up. Content marketing cannot become part of the company culture if contributions go unheralded and unappreciated. Moreover, just knowing that their colleagues will be reading and sharing their content will raise the quality of deliverables significantly.
Step 5. Keep score.
Does your HR manager understand the page views the blog received last month? Is the sales team aware of how many of their leads were organic vs. paid? Do they know which offers (whitepapers, ebooks, webinars, etc.) are more likely to result in a sale? If not, they should. Fail to keep score, and your content marketing efforts lose their context – it becomes an abstraction. The results of your content marketing efforts should be highlighted at company meetings, included in monthly reports, and be on the minds of everyone, just like revenue, CSAT scores, and other popular metrics.
I’ve seen what can happen when a company makes content creation and marketing part of its culture. In fact, it’s why I started nDash Marketing: to help brands of all sizes and industries realize these same benefits. So if your brand aspires to educate, entertain, raise awareness, and produce content with a business purpose in mind, we’re here to help.