Content marketers like to talk to other content marketers. There is a common language between writing stories around the person of the audience, drawing articles and case studies along the Marketing Funnel, and mutual appreciation for thought leadership. But when it comes to communicating the value of this work to other team members, there is a language barrier.
In (often isolated) marketing organizations, each team has its own ideas, goals, and best practices. Some use content as part of their overall strategy. some not. This lack of understanding makes it difficult to engage in a content marketing strategy that ranges from planning to budgeting.
By including other key teams in the content strategy process, marketers can not only avoid some of these communication gaps, but also better express the value of their team.
Learn why you should develop your content frameworks with other teams and how a cross-functional strategy can enable you to better tailor content to your business goals and improve collaboration across teams.
Benefits of a cross-functional content strategy
As content marketing becomes more popular, many marketers still lack a dedicated content strategy that is tied to business goals. Content with high production value, such as As videos or interactive pages may receive attention, but hide the strategic framework on which they are based. This makes it difficult to show the ROI. By involving other teams in the planning process, the value of content marketing is communicated by giving other teams a better understanding of the process.
The transfer of knowledge goes both ways. By using experts from other parts of the marketing team-from product through sales to customer success-you gain insights into your own brand that the content team may have overlooked themselves. This deepens your existing strategy and promotes greater representation of different perspectives in your content. If multiple teams have different stakeholders in the room, content marketers can better understand the larger KPIs that are important to their business. Otherwise, these goals may not be known in the department.
By expressing these goals and incorporating them into your strategy, you can continue to review the need for content throughout your organization.
This level of collaboration enhances trust and partnership between each marketing team. Rather than competing to tell the better story, in the future you're more likely to work together to tell the best story to drive business results. And each team will get away with a greater sense of empathy for the other team's processes.
Work out your content strategy in a team
Workshops are one of the best ways to quickly develop a basic content strategy and actively involve experts in your team. They offer other teams the opportunity to bring in new ideas and review some of the assumptions and insights you have gathered in connection with your messages.
The content marketers should take over the organization of the meeting. Curate a group of representatives of different teams to help you improve and learn about the collaboration.
In the run-up to the meeting, identify the main focuses for the session better understanding of your audience or the assignment of Persona Pain Points across the Marketing Funnel – all this should be enough for your content marketing planning. Send participants a detailed agenda of the workshops and the purpose behind each activity. You should also provide several pre-session questions for each workshop to prepare participants with insights, comments and recommendations.
Use physical tools such as whiteboards, index cards, and post-it notes during the meeting. These keep people active and make ideas more tangible. Identify a member of the content marketing team as the moderator for the session. You'll need to ask follow-up questions, make assumptions about printing tests, and keep the conversation going. Document your work during the meeting. Then send a thank-you email with all the important information to your subscribers and let them know exactly how they are aware of your content marketing plan.
Workshop examples for cross-team collaboration
Here are some examples of workshops that will help you gain insights from people outside of your direct team:
Culture, Competitor, Customer, Company (45 minutes)
Activity: Create a four-column chart with a column for culture (the conversation your brand wants to own), competitors, customers, and companies (your brand). Use culture as a guide, and note down topics, questions, and pain points that come to mind for each category. At the end of the brainstorming session, circle topics similar in all four columns.
Purpose: To better understand how your brand fits into a larger conversation in your industry and how existing messages are aligned with public opinion to support your content strategy. This is a great way to unify multiple teams under a single vision and to validate existing assumptions.
Before work: Send a list of questions for each category in advance and ask participants to prepare for the answers.
Categorize your customers' use cases (45 minutes)
Activity: Publish each customer profile with a whiteboard, being careful to note all important adjectives, descriptions, and vulnerabilities. Do this for four to five examples. After listing, ask your attendees if they can discover recurring topics with specific customers. If you can, group these groups together with a name and a parent goal that unites their journey.
Purpose: Use up-to-date business research and use cases to build a more accurate profile of the people your content strategy should target. This shows that content marketing decisions are not made in silos, but are rooted in customer and company insights. The use of customer cases to create personas also helps non-marketers to feel deeply involved in the strategic process.
Before work: Ask each participant to come to the meeting with several customer profiles he wants to discuss during the workshop.
Understand your personality (one hour)
Activity: For each person, select four fields: one for motivations and interests; another for pain points: one for goals; and a final section on consumer behavior of content. Work with the group to complete each section.
Purpose: Knowing what your person is about is the foundation for creating an engaging content strategy that ultimately drives conversions for the business. This session will help validate these assumptions and allow non-content marketers to provide additional insights that might otherwise be overlooked.
Before work: A developed person (s).
If you have time, finish the session with a content creation. By using the personas you have developed and the high-level questions that you ask about your points of pain, participants can develop ideas for brainstorming content. By having non-content marketers participate in an idea session, you can check their prospects and make it easier to get buy-ins for content projects because they feel like they are owners.
Laying of the foundation stone for integrated marketing through content marketing
A workshopping session will not solve the problem of isolated marketing teams, but it will lay the foundations for how the organization can (and should) pursue a more integrated marketing approach. Over time, it can be the spark of uniting a whole organization in a common language to work better together.
Travis Gonzalez is Associate Customer Success Manager (Content Strategy) at NewsCred.
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