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We Wrote the Book on Content Operations (No, Really)

We’ve been writing about content operations for a while now. BlogseBookswhite papers…we’ve done it all. And that work we’ve written has helped spark a new conversation about the ways B2B enterprises must think about their content marketing strategies—and about why the tactics that worked ten years ago just don’t hold up in a word in which marketing must simultaneously delight customers and drive real, measurable revenue.

But about a year ago, we came to a revelation: There was another way to explain the future of content and what it meant for marketing teams—one that would complement, not replace, the diagrams and frameworks we’d perfected over the years.

Tell a story.

No, I don’t mean “storytelling” in the way it’s so often used and abused in the marketing world—we’re talking a literal, fictional story, complete with a cast of characters, a hero’s journey, and plenty of drama.

And with that, Mastering One Voice was born. One part fable, one part field guide, all and all parts informative, actionable, and if we did our jobs right, fun to read.

We’ve gotten a good deal of interest in the book (thank you!). So we decided to answer the top three questions we’ve been getting:

Why Is the First Half Fiction?

First I’ll say this: While the company, its employees, and their antics, are entirely fictional, very little in the book is made up. We drew extensively from more than a decade spent working with marketers in some of the world’s largest B2B companies. While their specific circumstances vary, nearly everyone we’ve ever worked with has been confronting the same struggle: In the rush to keep up with rising customer expectations and increased pressure to drive revenue, they’ve descended into chaos.

The content team is chasing one strategy while the folks in EMEA are doing something totally unrecognizable. And don’t even ask what demand gen. is up to in their quest to convert prospects into qualified leads. Everyone in a mad rush to fill their myriad distribution channels and answer the endless requests from other teams. And they’re all marching to the beat of their own drum.

But while it’s easy to understand the problem at a conceptual level, it can be much more difficult to see the extent to which this chaos impacts your team and your business. And even then, it’s difficult to develop a plan of attack to uplevel your internal process and operationalize more impactful content operations.

So, we decided to put aside the business-speak (at least for a bit) and tell a story in which readers could recognize themselves and their colleagues in a real, visceral way. We wanted to show them what the problem looked like in real life, and what it means in practice to take up the mantel of change.

Once the story is over, we can dive into the nitty-gritty with that much more context, and see clearly how the theory translates into action.

We think it’s effective. But of course, we’ll let you be the judge.

What’s it Mean to “Master One Voice”?

When we talk about speaking in one voice, we’re fundamentally talking about how marketers can create the kind of consistent, compelling customer journeys buyers expect; the kind that grow and accelerate revenue for the business.

According to Salesforce, three-quarters of consumers expect a consistent brand experience, and 80% say that experience is as important as the product a given company is trying to sell.

Wow. That’s big.

But most of us aren’t doing enough to grapple with truths like this that have come to define our industries.

Chances are, your customers are still being jerked around more and more the longer they engage with your company. And the consequences are major. Consider, for example, that a prospect encounters one argument made in an eBook but goes on to hear another from a customer story or call with a sales rep. How will this inconsistency reflect on your company as a whole? Will it make them more confident in your solution? Will it set them up for success once (or rather, if) they purchase your product?

In introducing uncertainty, you give prospects an escape hatch. Maybe they’ll break away for a competitor, or maybe they’ll simply decide the pressure of purchasing your product or service (and the inherent change the purchase will introduce) simply isn’t worth it. Either way, it’s you who have given them a reason to say “no.”

Who’s this Book for?

The simple answer is that it’s for anyone responsible for content strategy and messaging, likely at the director or senior manager level.

That said, the most effective way to read this book is as a group. To build a functioning content operation, you’ll need buy-in from your CMO and other leadership, as well as all those involved in planning, producing, and distributing content; you’ll need the understanding of sales and sales enablement.

So, my advice: Give the book a read and see what you think. Then get your team involved. Start a book group. Talk through the story and find out which characters people relate to, which challenges look familiar, and which roadblocks ring true. Coming together to share diverse perspectives is the crucial first step to building a content operation that changes your business for the better.

How Can I Get a Copy?

So glad you asked. Head to ContentOperations.com for direct links, reviews, and more.

 

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