Levering the power of teamwork to drive a successful content marketing program

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By Alexandra Reid

Running a successful content marketing program has many challenges, a number of which Joe Pulizzi expertly cites in his post, 12 challenges that stop marketers from creating epic content marketing. I propose that many of these challenges could be solved if businesses would learn to simply tap the resources available at their fingertips.

Employees hold a wealth of knowledge that can be turned into thought-provoking content. Some also understand their customers, their pains and where to reach them. What many lack is the knowhow to turn that insight into great content and how to coordinate efforts to use that content for marketing purposes. That’s where hiring an agency can come in handy, but I’d argue that even the best agencies can never know a company as intimately as its employees.

The best solution I’ve found to develop and implement an effective and budget-wise content marketing program is, quite logically, to use each team for what it does best. Let the marketers create, coordinate and implement the content marketing program while showcasing the internal talent of the client’s knowledge keepers.

Some of the problems Pulizzi lists include:

  • Not using an editorial calendar
  • Siloing information or lack of communication
  • Not understanding the buyer
  • Not understanding what makes good content
  • Not having a higher purpose
  • Having a ‘channel first’ mindset
  • Lack of content marketing knowledge
  • No inventory of content or idea of where it should come from
  • No measurement

Here’s my proposed content marketing solution for businesses:

  • Marketing team asks who are the best internal knowledge keepers at the company, what are their specific areas of expertise, writing level, and how much time each is willing to commit to creating content.
  • Marketing team researches the client’s space online and uncovers news, current industry trends, hot topics, popular outlets, and where the client’s target audience resides on social media.
  • Marketing team connects with each knowledge keeper individually, learns her or his particular interest areas, uncovers other areas where content may be developed (attending upcoming events, upcoming company developments, personal experiences etc), brings marketing insight to the table, and collaborates with those individuals to develop competitive and highly engaging content ideas.
  • Marketing team coaches individuals who don’t feel confident in their writing ability, potentially ghost writing for some.
  • Marketing team identifies opportunities where department knowledge keepers could collaborate on content to break down silos and refines post ideas.
  • Marketing team slots those content ideas into an editorial calendar according to trends and industry news and maintains the calendar.
  • Marketing team decides what channels are most suitable for rebroadcast and distribution of that content based on where the client’s target audience resides and slots those opportunities into the calendar listing time, date and place.
  • Each knowledge keeper writes their own content according to the editorial calendar and pre-determined commitments.
  • Marketing team cracks the whip to make sure content comes in on time.
  • Marketing team edits, publishes, rebroadcasts and distributes that content elsewhere and promotes it via social media.
  • Marketing team measures results and steers content based on what resonates with the audience.

There you have it. I think this method solves all of Pulizzi’s points. It’s a coordinated, collaborative effort that integrates and showcases the internal knowledge of an organization according to a sound marketing plan. The marketing team removes the client’s burden of having to stay on top of all the day-to-day details necessary to run a successful content marketing program. Additionally, the marketing team thoroughly edits and adds a professional touch to all the content developed by the client’s knowledge keepers according to content marketing best practices. The marketing team maintains the editorial calendar ensuring there is always a stockpile of content ideas ready to run and measures the success of each piece of content to steer it towards what the client’s audience finds most engaging. And, most importantly, the marketing team comes to understand the client’s buyers and, while the knowledge keepers might know this information too, can ensure all the right messaging is integrated in the content to reach them.

IMB’s social business strategist Delaney Turner said in an interview a while back that IBM is creating a new management discipline that combines internal expertise of subject matter with the external expertise of marketers. The company is tapping its internal experts for detailed information in specific areas and turning to marketers to turn this expertise into valuable content that can be shared and discussed through social channels. He said this method has been hugely successful at the company.

We have developed and refined this process on our own behalf, reviving our old blog under this new system 15 months ago. We implemented a distributed content-development process that requires most contributors to write no more than one blog post per month, although key contributors do write more often. We syndicate this content across an array of platforms, and promote it thoroughly across social media. Over those 15 months, we saw traffic levels climb five-fold. We’ve created a footprint for our agency that vastly exceeds our geographical and physical presence. And leads are coming in through almost every channel we exploit, including the blog, rebroadcast outlets and on Quora, LinkedIn and Twitter.

We understand how superb a marketing option this is for authority-based organizations such as consulting firms, law firms, and accounting practices and for any company for which establishing thought leadership is a critical marketing object. We have seen it work so well for ourselves that we are rolling content marketing out as a service offering.

If you’re in need of these services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What do you think? Are there any holes in this plan? What are you doing to carry out content marketing activities for your business?

Image: Small business blogged


  • Nick Stamoulis

    June 06, 2012 10:30 am

    A good content marketing strategy includes a variety of content that will help target audience members with different needs. A larger company has many departments and prospects want to hear from them all. Even if managers of each department aren’t great writers, there’s no doubt that they can brainstorm topic ideas and provide bullet points for a copywriter.

  • Alexandra Reid

    June 06, 2012 12:13 pm

    Good points, Nick. Thanks for weighing in.

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