Whether you have an internal team or are working with an agency, the way that you manage your content marketing (CM) professional or team has a direct impact on the quality and results of your CM initiatives. We have been very successfully producing content programs for clients for about 10 years and here is what we learned about getting the most out of your CM team (internal or external).
Start with a Strategy (and Be Clear About Goals)
Sometimes it’s easy to get very excited about launching a CM initiative; so much so that you just want to get started. But don’t just dive right in. When you go through the process of first developing a strategy, and discussing it with your team, you lessen the risk of developing a terrific CM program only to discontinue it after “it isn’t meeting (some never mentioned) KPIs.”
Keep Marketing Urges at Bay
When done correctly, CM provides new and effective ways of engaging customers and prospects. It does so because it builds trust by providing value to the reader. And when it is working well, you are not only building trust but often creating a new communication channel. Of course that channel can be used for marketing messaging, such as product offers. Unfortunately, we have seen a few instances where marketing jumped the gun and went too heavy on product features or offers either a little too often or too soon. When this happens, at least some of the trust that was built up goes out the window.
Push Back on Legal and Compliance
Lawyers are trained to protect their clients by reducing risk. In my opinion, a great lawyer balances the probability of a risk with practicality (and those are the ones I hire). Unfortunately I have seen too many lawyers that just want to cover their ass (in the name of “protecting the company”) and they can really reduce the power of your CM programs. Is there really a big risk in not citing a source and putting in a footnote? I have also seen too many companies not willing to mention another company’s name in the CM programs. I mean, are you really going to get sued because you mentioned Uber’s customer service or Amazon’s user interface? It is critical to push back on the lawyers if they are not being reasonable.
An additional note on dealing with compliance: always set up parameters with the compliance team ahead of time. Agreeing on the boundaries saves time and frustration down the road.
Keep the Number of Cooks to a Minimum
I will keep this simple; the adage of too many cooks in the kitchen very much applies to CM. Too many people involved in the process usually leads to watered-down content. I can’t tell you what the right number of cooks is for your CM initiatives, but we have found when there are 1-2 people involved in the review process for a particular project, the results are better than when there are 3 or more involved. (That said, there is nothing wrong to have a few more cooks in the beginning when the program is still in its infancy.)
Know When to Apply the Right Metrics
Metrics are the scorecard for marketing. Just keep in mind that in the beginning of a CM initiative it is about building an engaged audience more than selling product so use the appropriate metrics.
Want to be a better content marketer and get results? Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter for more insights into how you can accelerate your SMB buyer’s journey.