Developing an Effective Organisational Approach to Content Marketing
Last week, I went along to How to Be An Effective Content Marketer, a seminar at which Todd Wheatland was one of the keynote speakers. Todd has recently joined one of the largest content marketing agencies in Asia Pacific, King Content, as head of strategy. Prior to that, Wheatland spent eight years in Paris as global head of thought leadership for Kelly Services.
Wheatland contends that the most effective and successful content marketing occurs when organisations embrace content marketing as a process, rather than a project. He shared his experience in developing effective content marketing models for multi-national organisations and offered a best practice guide to implementing an organisational approach to content marketing, to making a content marketing culture shift.
How could I not share some of Wheatland’s insights?
Content Marketing as a Change Agent
According to Wheatland, content marketing should be viewed as a change agent. This particular strain of marketing has the power, and the ability, to inform organisational transformation.
Naturally, most organisations (particularly large multi-nationals) have silos. There is one silo for marketing, another for sales, another for distribution, another for R&D. There might even be silos within a silo. Marketing might have a silo for PR, another for events, another for social, another for corporate communications.
But content marketing can change all that, because:
“Content marketing is a philosophy, not a department,” said Wheatland.
Everyone within an organisation can, and should, be a part of content marketing. Content marketing should not be established as a new function, or an additional silo. Instead, it should be embedded in the culture of an organisation. Everyone, from the CEO to the receptionist, should embrace content marketing, and should play a role in content marketing.
All you need to do is use a content marketing process in which everyone has a role. And then communicate that process to everyone within your organisation. And communicate it some more. There is no such thing as over-communication when it comes to content marketing.
Ask the sales department what the customer pain points are, and then address them through content marketing. Speak to R&D about innovative product break-throughs, and then promote them through content marketing.
Communicate to your team that they are part of a bigger picture. Make it easy for the silos to work collaboratively, to get together, to find the intersecting points on the silos. Help them break down the silos. Show your team how content marketing relates to them. Give them a reason to buy-in to the process.
Use Content Marketing to Create Rock Stars
Envy is a powerful driver. So, why not use it?
Use content marketing to turn your employees (or yourself) into rock stars. By generating useful, engaging, insightful content, you can build a strong personal brand, and turn yourself into a rock star. Give your employees the opportunity to share their insights through content marketing, build their personal brands, and turn themselves into rock stars.
Then, leverage those strong personal brands to benefit your company. Once you have employees on-board and involved in content marketing, they will become brand advocates. They will want to share content that they have been involved in creating, and are more likely to promote a brand that has turned them into a rock star.
Content at the Centre
“Content marketing is not a new thing to do. It’s a different way to do things,” said Wheatland.
If you think about it, content leads all activities within an organisation. Content is your story. It’s who you are. It’s what you sell. It’s how you sell. It is what informs and drives all activities, from PR, events, and social media, to employees, clients and influencers.
Given that content is at the centre of everything an organisation does, content marketing can become somewhat diluted without a game plan. As such, Wheatland has a few choice recommendations for all content marketers:
1. Make sure that you have clearly defined objectives, and know exactly how you are going to measure success.
“Don’t make content a tactic in search of a strategy,” says Wheatland.
2. Don’t simply shotgun content in every direction. Work out where it fits within the buying process, within the customer lifecycle. Ask yourself: what do I want my customer to do as a result of consuming this piece of content?
3. Know what resources you have. Will you insource or outsource content marketing? Or maybe implement a combination of the two?
4. Focus on your customers. Tailor your content to meet their needs, to answer their questions, to relieve their pain, or to simple entertain.
“Content marketing is not about you. No one cares about your products. They care about their problems,” says Wheatland.
5. Know thyself. Make sure you have a handle on your values, on the values you want to communicate in your content, on the voice you will present. Know what unique value you can add to an industry discussion.
Above all, remember that:
“Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.”
P.S. If you’re wondering what pretty pink flowers have to do with content marketing, let me enlighten you…not a thing! Rather than relying on boring stock imagery, we’ve decided to go with beautiful photos. Photos that inspire. Photos that make us smile. Fingers crossed; they make you smile too!