All too often, clients struggle to initiate and maintain an ongoing content marketing program.
It’s not that they don’t recognize the value of such a program. Rather, they doubt how they will find the time to implement what is likely a time-consuming strategy. After all, it’s usually the marketing and communications departments who shoulder the entire brunt of the effort, without a lot of help from the rest of their organization.
What most organizations don’t realize is that their success requires a team effort. The entire organization needs to buy into the vision and strategy of a content program and play a key role in its success. Marketers don’t have to do it all themselves, but It’s up to them to lead the effort, clearly articulate roles to various team members and ensure each team has an avenue for contributing.
Here’s how to get each team involved:
1. Marketing and communications
From conception to tactics and execution, this team manages the process from start to end, then analyzes and refines it to make it better. This team also acts as the liaison, gathering buy-in, expertise and creating the tangible deliverables that makes the entire content machine run.
This is where the content strategy begins, especially if the goal of your content marketing program is generating leads. The expertise of the sales team is invaluable when it comes to identifying your target personas as well as their goals and pain points. They can also help with lead scoring and product knowledge.
3. Product managers
One of the biggest uses of your content should be to highlight your internal expertise. Your product managers can serve as your internal subject matter experts and should be involved in generating blog and white paper content and ideas, leading webinars and generally serving as the visible experts of your organization. Their deep-seeded knowledge of your products and services is what makes them such valuable assets to a content marketing program. They are the ones who will provide your customers and prospects with the knowledge they’re seeking to help solve their challenges.
4. Customer service reps and account managers
This group is the front line of your organization, but often is consulted last, or not at all when it comes to content marketing efforts. There’s probably no other team that knows your customers more intimately than this group, giving them a lot of valuable, untapped knowledge. Consider how much richer your personas will be if you involved this group in your persona exercise and how much blog and social media content could come from their day-to-day experiences with customers. This group has their finger on the pulse of the trends, challenges and ambitions of the customer, and incorporating their knowledge will only make your content richer.
5. Top-level executives
Last, but certainly not least, are your high-level leaders. This is where buy-in and living the culture really makes a difference, because if executives aren’t making content a priority and setting the example for the rest of the organization, then no one else will. Making content a marketing priority should be communicated from the top down for it to really take hold. Of course, your top leaders also should be serving as subject matter experts, as their expertise can add unique expertise to your content.
It may not always be possible to have this kind of cross-functional participation in your content marketing efforts, but all organizations should constantly aim for and work towards this level of engagement.
It is possible to run a content marketing program without everyone contributing, but those that are able to get participation and commitment from cross-functional teams as well as your organization’s leadership will not only be relieved of the burden of creating content on their own but will me much more successful along the way.