A successful content marketing program is never born in a silo. Thriving content initiatives are driven by cross-collaboration, buy-in from senior leadership, active participation across your organization, and a dash of passion (an often overlooked peculiarity).
A siloed content marketing program is undoubtedly destined for failure. It denies valuable distribution opportunities, new content ideas, and insights extracted from internal expertise that can take your content pieces to the next level.
To avoid this, I’ve put together this guide on how to successfully earn content buy-in across your organization. Let’s get this thing started!
1. Document the Damn Thing
Here’s a stat that content marketers love throwing around: 59% of successful content marketing programs attribute their success to a clear, documented content strategy.
A successful content strategy includes a clear mission statement and an action plan that shows how content can solve your organization’s business challenges. While your goals and strategies will encounter unavoidable speed bumps and an occasional pivot (or two), a foundational, data-driven business case aligns key stakeholders across your organization.
Content Marketing Institute suggests that a documented content strategy starts by breaking down your content goals into three buckets:
Campaign goals: Sales-related goals are increased or accelerated by the content you create. Content can make these goals easier to achieve because prospects who subscribe to your credible, informative content often turn into leads more readily, purchase more, or go through your sales funnel more quickly.
Cost-savings goals: Your content enables you to deliver better performance from your other business activities.
Business-growth goals: Content can drive overall business growth, such as creating new revenue streams or opening up new product lines.
2. Leverage Internal Expertise
Open up a line of conversation with the sales, product, or customer success expert within your organization. Whether it be a 15-minute meeting or a formal monthly brainstorm, you’ll come across invaluable insights that might’ve taken you hours of research to uncover through conventional means of research.
In my past experience, my colleagues were always eager to help out with content but were paralyzed by the daunting task of writing an entire blog post. Heck, I still get cold feet before I publish and I’ve been doing this for years — so I can only imagine how it feels for them.
The very last thing you want to do is dump all responsibility onto a colleague. Use the foot-in-the-door technique, which suggests that asking a small favor from someone opens the door to eventually asking for larger favors in the future.
Start small by sprinkling ‘pro-tips’ quoting your colleagues within your blog post and encouraging them to share it once it’s published (something my ex-colleague Bobby Stemper coined as the “ego-trap”). You can work your way up from there and show them that you’re there to help them turn their expertise into excellent content.
3. Make Your Content Easily Accessible
As the point person for all things content, these are the Slack messages I receive on a daily basis.
When I first received these Slack requests, I quickly pulled up relevant content pieces by memory. However, once our content efforts began to scale, I often lost track of content pieces that existed within our content repository.
Content management systems do an awful job of organizing your content. A content menu that is easy to sort and navigate solves for this. Coda, Google Drive, and Confluence are all great tools to build content menus.
I personally found Google Sites with an embedded Google Sheet the most useful (and it’s free!). Learn how I built the menu above with this guide from Awesome Table.
4. Provide Visibility By Improving Internal Communications
The most affordable, high-impact way to build your organic traffic is to get your colleagues to share your content. The first step in doing so is by ensuring everyone in your organization knows what content pieces are coming out every week.
Internal communications can take shape in many forms. Start by spending 5–10 minutes during your weekly standups explaining the blog posts you’ve published that week and communicate the value / use cases for them.
Send out a Slack message every time you drop a new blog post, with click-to-tweet links and links to your organic social posts to make it easy for everyone to engage.
You can also send out weekly or biweekly newsletters that have links to your newest blog posts and outline your content calendar timeline to keep everyone on the same page.
Fair warning: be wary of spamming. Make your message fun and unique on each platform — like how you distribute your content across different social platforms. I often include fun gifs, puns, and meta, office-related memes to keep things engaging.
5. Position Content as an Integral Part of Your Company Culture
Just because your content is focused on delivering business value, don’t fall into the trap of thinking it has to be boring all the time (I’m looking at you B2B content marketers!). There are plenty of ways you can leverage content to be a piece of your company culture.
One way to do so is to have an internal content sharing tracker. Set up Twitter and Linkedin monitoring tools to keep track of which colleagues are sharing your content and reward them for doing so!
One strategy that’s worked for me in the past was a quarterly raffle. Every time a colleague shared a piece of content, we rewarded them with a raffle ticket, with the prize being a $100 donation to their charity of choice.
I also rewarded the most unique descriptions / tweets to ensure that high-quality posts don’t go unrecognized. This eventually snowballed into a fun quarterly event that people very much looked forward to doing.
Bonus: During my time at AdHawk, I created a public Giphy channel that featured my teammates and senior leadership. My colleagues loved the gifs so much, they became the go-to reaction gifs within our Slack channel. It was a ton of fun and a huge part of our culture. As an added bonus, AdHawk’s giphy channel is reaching 2 million gif views.
6. Make Badass Content That Everyone’s Proud Of
As marketers, we all know that no amount of marketing can save a bad product. The same holds true to your content marketing efforts. If you can’t get your own colleagues to read your blog posts, how can you expect a stranger to do the same? So don’t lose focus on the core principle of content marketing: delivering unique, focused value consistently over time (that’s a given!).
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