Organizations–specifically massive, enterprise-level ones–have serious process problems, especially when it comes to creating enough useful and relevant content to fuel their marketing initiatives.
Why? Each step of the buyer’s journey from awareness to advocacy requires persona-based, stage-specific, targeted content. In an effort to fill this growing demand, many organizations have allowed business units or departments to establish their own unique content operations, responsible for creating the content needed to fuel the ever-growing number of distribution channels including blog, social media, marketing automation, customer communities, and more.
This might sound like a brilliant solution, but a siloed approach to content marketing leads to redundant efforts, inefficient processes, a lack of quality control, and a whole lot of time and resources spent producing un-useable, un-shareable content. In fact, SiriusDecisions reports that 60-70% of B2B marketing content goes unused! This is the sad result of a broken operation, or rather, lots of broken mini-operations.
So how can you avoid these challenges?
By building one unified and collaborative content operation across departments.
With that in mind, below are five tips to help you to plan your content marketing initiatives, unify your team, and ensure your efforts drive results.
1. Get buy-in.
To experience the harmony of content collaboration, you must first understand how content marketing helps your organization reach larger business objectives. Then, explain this to your organization. Getting buy-in, especially from roles or departments with a lot of sway, will help your organization make important structural and communication changes that will transform the efficiency of your content operation.
Content Marketing Institute has a great article on preparing your case for content marketing, and to help you out, here’s an ever-evolving list of content marketing facts that show just how powerful content is for reaching the goals of the marketing department, as well as the organization as a whole.
2. Align content to your goals and overarching initiatives.
Make sure that each content asset is clearly tied to at least one of your overarching themes or initiatives for the year or quarter. For example, if your marketing and sales organization is focused on closing financial services firms in the upcoming quarter, then focus content on the concerns and needs of financial service companies. Do you have annual themes? If so, make sure every piece of content relates to at least one. By aligning content to the goals of your company, you’ll be able to deliver cohesive, impactful assets that can be used across departments to drive results.
3. Form an Editorial Board, and meet on a quarterly basis.
An Editorial Board is made up of key stakeholders in your organization from different departments or business units. They represent the thought leaders and the beneficiaries of the content that your organization will be producing. For example, sales can be both a thought leader and beneficiary. They speak to prospects every day, and are tuned into the wants and needs of potential customers. This makes them great idea generators for content assets which, once created, they can then use to close deals. Other departments commonly represented in the Editorial Board include product marketing, marcom, web/social teams, marketing ops, and customer success.
This approach is important because it (literally) gives everyone a seat at the table, breaking down the lack of communication between silos. Schedule a quarterly meeting, and make sure each department representative comes with their content ideas, needs, and goals. This will help prioritize content creation, as well as help you recognize common themes and topics. By identifying and agreeing upon content initiatives, you’ll be able to minimize redundancies and inefficiencies. For example, say three departments need content around the same issue facing buyers. You can organize the production of a single eBook instead of having each silo creating three unique and department-specific eBooks. You just saved your company from wasting a lot of time and resources.
4. Share an updated calendar.
The members of your Editorial Board and the people using content to nurture relationships or close deals need to know what content they can expect, when they can expect it, and how to use it effectively. Keep everyone up to date with a single, shared calendar complete with the timelines and information they need to use content assets to their full advantage.
5. Get some help.
You don’t need to do it alone. Bring your team or Editorial Board together to map out the goals, tactics, and execution strategy for content marketing success. As Abe Lincoln once said (and modern marketers should take this to heart), “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Take the time to “sharpen the axe,” so to speak. Define goals, get to know your personas and what each one cares about at every stage of their journey, organize your team, and prepare your execution strategy. Check out the worksheets below for inspiration.
Creating a unified content operation in your organization will ultimately help to align the needs and goals of siloed departments or business units, create higher quality content that’s effective for each stage of the funnel, and reduce current inefficiencies and redundancies. So what are you waiting for? Sharpen that content marketing axe, and get chopping.
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- 5 Strategies for Unified Content Marketing Operation - December 3, 2013