Content creators who don’t carry executive titles such as Vice President of Marketing or Chief Content Officer are rarely considered official business stakeholders. But when it comes to the strategic process of creating personas for your content marketing goals and objectives (aka your Content Marketing Machine), there are very good reasons to consider offering creatives a place at the table.
Your in-house content creators likely have experience in professional communications positions (journalism, design, creative writing, copywriting, etc.) that have required them to think creatively. That’s why you’ve hired them, after all. Their work has challenged them to develop characters and scenes or scenarios, both of which are required in creating user personas for your content marketing program. More descriptive demographic and scene-setting details will add depth to your character personas, as well as their perceived goals and needs.
Along the same lines, your content creators are likely accustomed to constructively challenging biases and stereotypes, both of which are inevitable in persona development, no matter how much market research is at your disposal. Tap their critical thinking skills to test your assumptions until A/B testing and analytics allow you to hone the personas further.
Better Informed Content Types (and Budget)
Your persona research should lead to clear recommendations for the types of content to create for each persona at every level of your sales funnel. Nobody understands the possibilities and limitations of your content creators better than they do. Offering them a seat at the table will allow you to take stock of what types of content they’re capable of creating and at what level of quality, as well as where their weaknesses lie.
Does someone on the team have a strong record of script writing for video? Have your designers produced good-looking e-books? Just because they haven’t turned over a certain content type for your organization doesn’t mean your content creators don’t have samples of prior work tucked away in a portfolio somewhere. By giving your creatives a voice in your high-level content strategy, you get a sense upfront how much budget will be needed to outsource or hire for creating specific types of content down the road and can lead you to consider forms and types of content, not to mention channels, you might not otherwise.
Participating and listening in on the persona development process can jump start your content efforts by giving creators a more solid understanding of whom and for what purposes their work is intended. If they’re true creatives, ideas will begin floating to the surface immediately.
Better Quality and Communication
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, involving content creators at this level provides executives with an opportunity to relay core business goals and objectives in a way non-stakeholders rarely perceive them.
Many established enterprises make impressive efforts to document and share their successes and legacies with new employees. Within startups, founders’ visions are often transparent and energizing. And yet, with growth—and I believe genuine dedication to a content marketing program is generally a sign of progress—mid- and entry-level employees can find themselves trying to piece together those visions and legacies from second-hand sources and information, which can lead to mythologized and inaccurate accounts.
Opening up the process of persona development gives content creators the kind of access that results in better communication during the throws of content production and ties them more intimately to the business’ goals. An increased interest in and understanding of analytics, not to mention better quality content, are just two of the numerous benefits such access has the potential to engender.
And that will be apparent on the bottom line.
What other benefits would you add to this list? Or maybe your experience hasn’t been so positive? Let’s discuss in the comments.