Content—if it’s going to be successful—can’t be created in vacuum. Alienated from sales, services, distribution and analysis teams, content creators have little insight into the needs of the organization or broader business objectives. Unfortunately, this disconnected model is how many enterprise organizations approach a content marketing strategy.
Within this flawed and isolated setup, scaling content in the enterprise is nearly impossible. And before a content operation has a chance to gain traction and prove value, it gets dissolved into another marketing group or disappears altogether.
“The content team doesn’t know what to create that will be valuable,” explains Riley Gibson, VP of Customer Success at Kapost. “It ends up being off the mark, or they’ll create it and no one will know and it goes unused.”
“There’s a disconnect. The content team is on an island.” @rileygibson
Get the Organization Involved
The only way to establish a functioning, integrated content marketing operation is through cross-departmental buy-in, bolstered by executive support.
By bringing members of the company—beyond marketing—into the content ideation and decision-making process, key stakeholders can see firsthand the value buyer-centric content brings to their roles and the organization as a whole.
Here are 4 ways to get cross-departmental buy-in for content.
1. Find an Executive Sponsor
This person will be your content advocate, particularly at the beginning when you don’t have the hard data to show results.
A good sponsor should have insight into the company’s overarching business goals and the strategy for achieving them. Find someone who can relay content success up the ladder to their boss, while also establishing credibility and authority to the tactical executors.
2. Establish a Content Board
A “content board” is a gathering of key internal stakeholders within the organization who have insight into the goals and needs of the company as well as your buyers. And to provide value, a board must pull people outside of marketing.
An established content board kills two birds with one stone:
- You gain additional insight into the themes and content that will resonate with buyers
- Your internal stakeholders have the floor, feel listened to, and get to see their impact on the content plan
Together, these two points buoy buy-in, and provide excellent fodder for content ideas and campaigns.
3. Treat Ideation Like a Brainstorm, Then Cluster Ideas into Themes
Marketers sourcing input from across the organization often make the mistake of asking for one-off ideas. For example, a saleswoman may request a blog post on a narrow topic, or ask for a video showcasing product features.
“Building a connected content operation starts with the ideation process.” @rileygibson
These specific asks are generally made to assist in a particular situation, but content needs to support the larger picture.
Have a place for stakeholders—particularly buyer-facing teams such as sales, support, and services—to suggest ideas for content that they hear from buyers or will help them do their jobs.
But don’t try to tackle these requests one by one. If you do, you’ll fall into the trap of creating random acts of content. Instead, group ideas into themes that can be approached strategically.
4. Market and Share Your Content Internally
Once you’ve listened to your internal stakeholders and created content around the themes they’ve contributed, share the finished content product within the organization.
Setting up a cadence for internal communications gets the organization (particularly those who contributed ideas or participated in the content board) excited about the content produced by marketing.
But even more importantly, it ensures your content supports the broader organization and the people who need it to do their jobs. Creating a process for sharing content breaks down detrimental silos, making it easy to repurpose relevant, quality content.
A Strong Foundation
Company-wide content alignment helps the buyer, your marketing team, and the company at large.
Getting your team involved and excited about content not only promotes collaboration within your organization, but it also creates a solid foundation for content that your company actually needs. It provides insight and access into marketing initiatives, ultimately resulting in a better buyer-experience.
After all, if your sales or services teams don’t know about a new asset they can’t use it. And if they can’t use it, they might try to create it themselves, which leads to inconsistent messaging and buyer experiences.