The Power Of Internal Expertise Is Massive
Creating content is a huge initiative for your marketing team. But wait, what if this is more than a marketing initiative? It should be.
Your marketing team (or the digital marketing agency you work with) can do a great job creating content for your company. An internal content team can create and deliver content for your company, too.
But consider for a minute the huge amount of expertise you have locked up in your company. What if you could unlock that domain expertise and turn it into a steady stream of educational, engaging and lead-generating content that helps you gain new customers? Here are some ways to get your company to start thinking like a content creation factory.
Help Everyone Understand The New Buyer Journey And How Content Fits In That Journey
We’ve been talking to clients and prospects a lot lately about the changing buyer journey and how the traditional funnel is antiquated. But that story (and the reasons behind the shift) needs to be told to everyone in your company. This backstory gives them the context they need to understand why you’re now asking them to participate in the content creation process.
One of the biggest shifts is that buyers now control the process. In the past, salespeople controlled the process. With buyers holding all of the power, content now becomes currency. The better your content, the better prospects feel about your business and the faster they move through the cycles related to their new buyer journey.
Start With A Content Marketing Strategy
Strategy before tactics is always the best approach. Thinking and planning makes execution easier. It also leads to better performance. In this case, strategy means knowing in great detail what content you need, what format that content should be in (video, whitepaper, e-book, slide show, infographic, etc.), where in the prospect’s journey the content needs to be applied and how content impacts other areas of marketing and sales.
For example, content has a big impact on search, so search engine optimization needs to be included in your content strategy and planning. Your website is going to use content, so knowing where you’re planning on using the new content on the site will influence what you write about. Your sales team is going to need content, too. Your content needs to be designed specifically to help your prospects get smart and start trusting you.
Make It Fun By Gamifying The Effort
Most of the people in your company want to help, but they’re already busy doing their actual jobs. One way to get them excited about participating is to gamify the effort. This might sound difficult on the surface, but many easy ways exist to get this up and running so that the content creation rollout comes with some fun and exciting incentives for the people participating.
One idea is to create a leaderboard and allow people to earn points for content creation. Blog articles might earn fewer points than a full e-book or whitepaper. Social posts might earn fewer points than a blog article. Longer blog articles would be worth more points than shorter blog articles. Post the leaderboard publicly so the people participating get recognized, while those not participating might be motivated to step up and get into the game.
Looking for something even easier? Try $5, $10 or $25 gift cards for participation. It’s a token of your appreciation for their active participation.
Identify A Pilot Group
If you think engaging the entire company all at once sounds daunting, try working with a smaller pilot group. People who volunteer get to be part of the new content creation effort. Make sure these people get a lot of public acknowledgement because you will want the pilot to expand to include more people as the content effort picks up momentum.
Pilot groups come with a lot of benefits. First, you get to focus your educational energy on a smaller group of people. Any training that’s required can also be focused. Marketing people get to work more intimately with those in the pilot, and the continuous improvement initiatives are easier to deploy with a smaller group of people.
Pilots almost always drive interest. People tend to want to be part of something they’ve been excluded from. As those people not in the pilot start to see what’s going on in the pilot, their human nature kicks in, and before you know it, they’re asking to join the pilot.
Use Data To Inform Your Ongoing Content Effort
You know we track, report on and use data to drive almost all of our ongoing program decisions. Data is going to be important in this effort, too. People participating are going to want to know how their content is performing, and you’re going to want to reward people who create high-performing content. Track views, shares, comments, downloads and conversion rates. Keep tabs on the people who do convert so that when they enter the sales process and then become customers, you can highlight how content creates new revenue.
If this isn’t an incentive for the company-wide content creation effort to pick up speed, then I don’t know what would motivate people. For the first time in company history, non-salespeople might be able to see how they directly impacted prospects to become new customers. That is transformational.
It’s not going to be enough to simply create content. But content creation is often a big challenge when it comes to getting companies to move their marketing forward. The key is to understand how you use that content. Specifically, where on the website, where in the sales process and where in the overall prospect journey does content get applied so it produces the right results?
Content also has a big impact on how your company ranks for keywords, phrases and questions. Content is critical in how you nurture prospects who are not ready to speak with your sales team. All of these content strategy questions need to be thought through and applied to your content creation efforts. The last thing you want is for people to create content and then have that content be unusable or not perform well. You can avoid both of those scenarios if you take a strategy before tactics approach.
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