Top 100 Content Marketing Question: How do we successfully integrate content throughout the marketing department and functions?
Find the right sponsor
It takes time, space and resources to successfully integrate content into a marketing department. Since content marketing may take years to realize its full potential, it takes full backing from somebody upstairs.
To successfully integrate content, find a director, vice president, CMO or CEO who believes in content and has your back. Why do you need a sponsor?
Because content doesn’t deliver a quick jolt like advertising, promotion or trade shows. Its focus is more long-term, to:
- Build relationships
- Turn people into subscribers, who give you permission to deliver content regularly
- Convert subscribers into buyers
- Improve the user’s experience to win repeat buyers.
There are no instant relationships
All relationship-building processes takes time; that’s why content takes patience.The forefathers of content marketing took a long-term, patient view:
· John Deere has published its quarterly magazine, The Furrow, continuously since 1897. It’s now the world’s #1 agriculture magazine.
· The Michelin Guide first appeared in 1900. Its editions are updated each year.
· The Guinness Book of World Records has appeared every year since 1963.
For your company to succeed at content marketing takes patience and persistence. Who’s the perfect ally for content marketing? Someone who thinks long term about the business.
If your marketing department goes through frequent reorganizations, shake-ups or high turnover, you need a sponsor to provide a steady hand. A strong sponsor gives you the cover to build up a consistent, long-term content marketing program.
Your sponsor needs to make sure you have enough resources to let content flourish –enough budget, people and time.
If you can’t find that kind of sponsor, take a skunkworks approach to content. Here’s how.
Marshal the right resources
Many companies start off on the wrong foot with content marketing.
They don’t want to make a commitment to content and risk failure. So, they make content into a side gig for a bunch of managers – for example, 10% of 10 people’s jobs.
When content marketing is everyone’s side job – not their main job – you’re on the path to failure. To successfully integrate content into the marketing department, it must be somebody’s full-time job.
One person 100% dedicated to content will outperform 10 people who are dedicated 10%. Two people 100% dedicated to content will outperform 20 or 30 people who dabble in content.
Content isn’t a hobby. It’s not a side job. It’s a full-time gig
Why? Because someone needs to focus fully on building a foundation for content marketing success. Content marketing takes a team that’s organized like a newspaper:
- You need an editor with the authority to schedule content, decide when content is ready to go, assign stories and focus on attracting subscribers.
- You need content creators – writers, designers, photographers and videographers – who create streams of content day to day.
- Especially on carefully considered purchases, you need subject-matter experts who work with content creators to reflect your company’s full expertise.
If only one or two people are assigned to content marketing full-time, as you scale up, you’ll need to add help. Freelancers, consultants, agencies or additional headcount can help you generate and promote all the content you need.
Focusing on content creation and promotion to build your own audience of subscribers, followers and readers over time.
Adopt the right process
To build a solid foundation for content marketing success, take these 7 steps:
- Gain deep insights into buyers through buyer persona research. Learn buyers’ pain points, needs, information habits and obstacles so you can create content that’s uniquely valuable to your audience.
- Co-create a written content marketing mission statement by collaborating with sales, product management and marketers.
- Designate that same team to co-create your content marketing strategy.
- Co-create a Message Map, to gain buy-in to your message and streamline the review process.
- Perform a competitive content audit. Looking through the eyes of customers, find out what it takes to make content that’s truly competitive.
- Map content to the buyer’s journey. At each step in a carefully considered purchase, buyers have different questions, different needs and different media preferences.
- Measure content success with all-in analytics. Here’s how to measure content marketing success.
It’s tempting to skip steps. But the truth is, skipping steps leads to content that misfires.
Whenever I see a content marketing problem, it usually comes from someone skipping one of the 7 steps. Skipping steps won’t save time, because do-overs take a lot more time than doing the job right the first time.
When you take all 7 steps, you get an agreed-on mission, strategy and message. What’s more, you gain buy-in from the people whose support you’ll need to succeed.
Now, your content team holds the authority to operate content marketing effectively. That’s the benefit of getting the right sponsor, the right resources and the right process to successfully integrate content into the marketing department.
What if you can’t get enough license to do content marketing for each line of business? Start small. Propose a pilot project to market a new or orphan product. Here’s how.
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