8 Ways To Boost Your Internal Culture Of Content Marketing
Successful content starts with the people and processes who make up your organization. Columnist Quinn Whissen lays out eight ways to foster a culture of content among your internal team.
One of the biggest success factors for content marketing doesn’t have a thing to do with the actual content you publish. Instead, it involves the inner workings of your organization: your people, processes and priorities. Your culture.
Your culture will facilitate successful and consistent content production, bringing your strategy to life. Without the right people in place, the inspired vision from your leaders and the best tools to help you meet your goals, your content efforts will inevitably fall flat.
The best businesses that have been able to carve out a culture of content are pretty easy to spot:
- Their content is useful, varied and high-quality.
- They promote their internal subject matter experts.
- Their website is a good reflection of their personality.
- Their content publication schedule is consistent.
How can you become a beacon of content culture and drive serious results? Here are eight ways to scale content throughout your organization:
1. Hire The Right People Or Find Them In Your Team
Content is a reflection of the people who make up your culture. If they stink, your content will, too.
It’s pivotal to hire the right people who will fit not only into your content culture but also into your organization’s culture as a whole. Marcus Sheridan wrote a great piece on this very idea, stating it has to start with the interview and asking the right questions.
And of course, you should keep an eye out for certain qualities in the person:
- They must understand content marketing and how it differs from traditional methods.
- They show excitement for or willingness to get trained in content marketing if not already experienced.
- They love education on both ends — both learning and teaching.
- They have killer writing and editing skills with an eye toward detail.
- They collaborate easily and are able to play off others well.
Lastly, don’t forget to turn your gaze to your own internal team. Sometimes the best content creators are hiding in plain sight.
That front desk person could be a great hobby photographer, or that sales director could have an amazing video voiceover voice. Look in the nooks and crannies of your team to see what talent you already have waiting to be tapped into.
[pullquote] Content is a reflection of the people who make up
your culture. If they stink, your content will too. [/pullquote]
2. Ensure Top-Down Vision
Without a doubt, an important — if not the most important — component of a successful content culture is whether the boss believes in it.
Good leadership that invests in the vision of content marketing is invaluable. Leaders can inspire participation and help align people around a common goal.
Not only do leaders need to fully understand and buy into the paradigm of content marketing, but they can lead by example. Those who pitch in to create content can boost thought leadership externally but also encourage other content creators internally, a win-win on both fronts.
3. Document Your Strategy
There is some great research around the fact that organizations that document their strategy are miles ahead of their competition when it comes to their content marketing effectiveness. So don’t wait any longer — organize a brain trust of people who can think strategically and put pen to paper.
The document doesn’t need to be a 75-page PDF, either. Start simple and ask a few of these questions to get yourself started:
- Why are we doing content marketing in the first place?
- Who is our audience?
- How can we efficiently and realistically implement our plans?
- What type of content can we create?
- How will we measure success?
By documenting your strategy and broadcasting it to your whole team, you can start to align your vision and efforts around a common goal, which is half the battle with any team, large or small.
4. Train, Train, Train
One obstacle to content marketing success can often be the lack of understanding of how the whole content game is played. Unlike traditional advertising, content marketing is more like talking with a prospect when they are in need of information, rather than interrupting their day and talking at them.
[pullquote]Unlike traditional advertising, content marketing is more like talking with a prospect rather than talking at them.[/pullquote]
To circumvent this problem, start with training. Whatever format doesn’t matter — an in-person content workshop, webinar, online course, whatever — but having some kind of education is vital.
Until everyone buys into the paradigm of content marketing and understands how it works (and how they can play a vital role), you cannot begin to create a culture that’s effective. So start with training and offer continuing education on niche topics as your plans progress.
5. Use The Right Tools
Choosing the right tools will streamline your content marketing implementation right off the bat. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Simple communication tool: Email! Set up an email account like firstname.lastname@example.org to allow people to send ideas whenever their lightbulbs go off. This can help you gather content topic ideas from your team and encourage people to make every moment a content opportunity.
Editorial content calendar. One of the key pieces of implementing your strategy is organizing it within a content calendar.
It could be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or part of your project management system. Whatever it is, it must help you blend the art and science of content marketing into a well-thought-out, detailed plan.
Analytics. Find the right tool to track and measure your content efforts so you can get a positive return on your investment. Google Analytics is a great platform to start on, but if you’re looking for something even more robust, look to marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, Marketo or Act-On.
6. Discourage Perfection
To create a culture that follows the one-percent rule of content marketing, your leaders must adopt the mindset embodied in this Seth Godin quote: “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.” Why? Because perfect will squash your content.
Organizations that hold onto every piece of content to get it just right have lost sight of the main principle of great content marketers: They consistently press PUBLISH. That said, don’t sacrifice quality for consistency, but the vice versa is also true within reason.
7. Encourage Experimentation
This culture booster goes hand in hand with #6. If you discourage perfection, then flip it on its head and encourage experimentation!
Figure out how to involve any willing team member within the content ideation process. Include different departments in brainstorming sessions to spark news ideas.
Teach your team how to do research and be open to new formats. You may be surprised by the results, so try things until you know what works, and then keep on testing and measuring.
8. Incentivize Content Producers
Lastly, incentivize your internal content creators. Give bonuses or monthly awards, and make sure the whole company knows about it.
A little recognition goes a long way in creating a culture that prizes the efforts of the individual in service to the greater goals.
What do you do to encourage a content culture within your organization? Reach out to me and let me know.