A holistic B2B content strategy should always incorporate customer insights. Sales, Services and Support are on the front lines daily, so aligning with these teams on an ongoing basis is critical for keeping a true pulse on your most important audience. Engaging and tying them into your content process is a powerful mechanism that allows you to continually answer the needs and issues of your customers. Sourcing content ideas from these teams for gaps or needs should be easy – and that’s where crowdsourcing comes in.
If you already use Kapost to fuel your content operation, capitalize on this important idea-generating audience with the available Ideas feature. Ideas allows you to send a simple web page form to anyone who might want to submit content ideas or requests in your organization, whether they have a Kapost license or not. It basically turns the disorganized jumble of idea sharing into a streamlined, manageable process. If you don’t have Kapost in place, you can still implement a process or practice to source great content ideas from your customer-facing teams.
Here are four key ways to have ideas filter into your marketing queue (or into Kapost via the Ideas crowdsourcing functionality) by engaging organizations or groups, outside of your marketing/content team.
A common best practice is for sales teams to use the Kapost Ideas feature directly from the Gallery tab (or even better – embedded directly in Salesforce) to request content that will enable their sales process. This allows sales and marketing to work together, better aligning content to buying stages and personas.
Regardless of the intake form or process you use, we suggest creating a cadence on your crowdsourcing form where you note when you will respond to their request, how requests will be prioritized, how the work gets completed, etc. Common requests seen from sales into marketing are questions they’re getting from prospects with high frequency, content that address all your specific personas and buying stages, and questions that truly answer the needs and issues of their prospects. This goes well beyond sales collateral and allows your sales team to also serve as thought leaders in their respective industry and space, through the content that marketing can equip them with.
Sales often just wants their voice to be heard by marketing, and their content ideas considered. By fostering this collaboration and offering an open communication channel for content requests, you’ll have a clearer idea of how consistent your brand voice is and a better understanding of what content works for sales, and what doesn’t.
When we interviewed Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing at Kinvey, and a leader in the content marketing space about generating ideas for content, he expanded upon this idea that we couldn’t forget: “Stay in lock-step with your sales team. If you won a deal, find out why you won that deal. That will inform future content creation. Or better still, if you lost a deal, see if there was a piece of content that the sales rep says, ‘If we only had this, we would have closed that.’ There’s another source for new ideas for content.”
Why not ask your customers or public content consumers directly what they want to learn or hear about? Link your intake form or crowdsourcing feature somewhere publicly – on your blog or website for instance – and subsequently prompt readers or customers to request content ideas into your marketing queue.
These questions usually are geared toward information that your readers or customers may want to read about your product, service, or offering. This also may provide you with a feedback loop from customers to marketing, so you can understand what their needs, issues, and questions might be.
By sourcing ideas in this way, your content team will have a better pulse on what’s trending in the market and top-of-mind for key customers (and prospects).
Tap into your content network to generate ideas for new content. Freelancers and contractors are already supporting your brand with creation efforts and are familiar with your products and services, and may have fresh perspectives to bring to the table.
Encouraging your freelancers and contractors to pitch new content or story ideas is a great way to foster more collaboration and build relationships with these vital resources. In Kapost, a neat component of the Ideas crowdsourcing feature is that you can have as many people as you want submit ideas through the form without it going against your user license count.
4. Extend to the Organization
The last option we see as a best practice is to open up crowdsourcing for content ideas to anyone in your organization. Having a team or organization be “all in” on content marketing not only enables marketing and sales, but makes the company more successful.
As mentioned above, Services and Support are two great teams who talk to customers all the time. However, there are other organizational teams or individuals that may have great ideas or fresh perspectives on the business that go untapped. Invite additional teams or departments throughout your organization to submit content ideas through Kapost Ideas, if using, or another crowdsourcing form. Post the link on an intranet or SharePoint site to make it readily accessible – and evangelize your ask for ideas through a company newsletter or team meeting.
Jennifer Lashua, a Global Social Media Strategist at Intel, explained how it works for them: “[Ideas] used to get dumped into one person’s inbox which was chaos. Now we have a great form. There are certain fields [contributors] are forced to fill out and not only does it streamline things for us, but it makes people think. So not only is it helping us [in social media], but it’s helping the company because, in a way, we’re also teaching people about social by use of this tool.”
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