If your company has a marketing department (even a small one!), it’s almost guaranteed there’s someone in charge of content.
Traditionally, most marketers consider content as written pieces on a website created by the marketing department.
However, as the stages of the funnel and the customer journey continue to evolve, more marketers are branching out beyond marketing to engage other departments in the creation and proliferation of marketing messages.
Not only does reaching out to other departments help capture customers at all stages of their journey, but it ensures that marketing’s efforts don’t go to waste.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “an estimated 70% of the content generated by Marketing is never used by Sales reps.”
Whether that’s because sales doesn’t see how useful it can be or just doesn’t know it exists, the solution is to ensure that you make your content marketing a way of life for your company instead of a one-off effort.
1. Get Every Department’s Perspective for Content Marketing
Many times, newer, small companies have employees that cross functionalities.
When your company employees maybe 4 or 5 people, those employees find themselves doing everything from helping customers to working on the marketing to running errands.
This means that people who sometimes work in sales and customer service also work in marketing – and that the content they create understands all those elements of the user journey.
However, when companies grow, we often find ourselves niching down and specializing (which can be really great for the job functions we’re digging into), but we forget how important it is to see both our company and our clients from other perspectives.
Here’s how other departments can help you see your target audience from their point of view:
- Knows what prevents customers from buying.
- Understands the most common pain points and questions clients have before making a purchase.
- Understands the minutiae of their unique target audience in-depth.
- Customer Service/Success
- Has the list (and answers!) for the top questions that customers have right after they buy.
- Understands what helps to keep a customer and keep them happy.
- Acts as the key to referral customers.
- Knows the big picture of your target audience.
- Can explain why they created the solution they did for that target audience.
- Understands the main problem that their solution provides.
- Works to explain why they’ve created what they have for your target audience.
- Can explain how the solution works to help clients understand the true value of the product or service.
- Gives a unique perspective into the metrics that matter to businesses of all sizes.
- Can help explain why businesses make certain moves (like eliminating an offering or expanding one).
- Think of how the different departments in your business can give you their unique perspective on why they do what they do to better serve your customers or how they can show you insight into your own customers’ point of view.
2. Invite More Than Marketing to Produce Content
Now that you have an understanding of how each focus area in your company can help you understand your target audience better and help your clients understand your company better, it’s important to invite them in on the content marketing process.
Consumers are used to hearing the voices of your marketing department but may enjoy the different perspectives across your company.
The key to cohesive content marketing that’s created across company functionalities is to create a style guide.
It’s critical to define the voice and attributes of your content.
- Are we serious?
- Maybe even a little goofy?
Make sure to define these characteristics before asking someone who may not know them to contribute.
Ensure that everyone across departments is aware of your brand mission and personality, so they can infuse a little bit of themselves along with it.
When inviting cross-functional contributions to content marketing, let the writer think about topics they think would be useful to your target audience from their perspective.
This helps prevent the confirmation bias that only marketing knows what customers want.
The whole reason we’re having sales or finance or customer service contribute is to get their unique points of view that marketing doesn’t have.
Along the same lines, it’s helpful to offer guidance when needed, but don’t stifle creativity or their perspective. Only edit the content later for grammar, facts, and more objective elements of writing.
Let the contributor’s content stand on its own perspective and merit. (Plus if they see it go live as something completely different than what they originally created, they’re likely to not agree to contribute again.)
3. Expand Your Definition of Content
Another way to integrate your content marketing into your business lifestyle and DNA is to expand what you consider content.
Sure, blogs and whitepapers are all content, but if you zoom out–so are elements like email, video, professional social media, and more.
Talk to other departments to discover what works well when they’re emailing clients and prospective buyers, what they’re posting on their professional social media that brought in new leads, if their customers watch the how-to videos for your product or service, etc.
Break outside the classic email marketing box by checking out what your sales and customer service/success teams are sending their business contacts.
- What are their subject lines?
- What questions do they answer most frequently via email?
- What are their “email personalities”?
- Do they include extra reading links?
Vary the content in email and the formats. It doesn’t have to all be fancy-looking templates and design. A classic all text email is often what works best for sales. Maybe even throw in a gif or two!
Similarly, see how sending email from someone other than marketing affects your email metrics and customer follow up.
- How would a client feel to get an email from the CEO?
- How would a prospect feel about getting an email from your engineering or product team?
Test different elements of content marketing in your email to see what drives the most engagement and, in the end, sales or referrals.
Video is everywhere nowadays. I recently saw a product recommended in a small business group where you can send quick ~20-second thank you videos to clients.
I also use a product called Loom to send quick screen share videos to clients, assistants, and more. Plus, I’m always watching how-to videos on YouTube.
And these three elements combined really made me think that, as marketers, we’ve really been worshipping at the altar of fancy video for too long. It doesn’t have to be rocket surgery.
A simple video that explains a product, says thanks for taking the time to chat with me today, which shows the human side of companies – can be a HUGE boon to content marketers.
It can also take some of the barriers to entry out of creating content for “non-writers,” and shows that production value isn’t everything.
In fact, we’re more drawn to the “impromptu” videos we see on social media that are often just a single person chatting with a camera for a minute or so.
Think of ways you can incorporate quick, simple videos into your content marketing.
I’ve seen marketing regard social media as “their territory” a lot of times, and it makes sense. We’ve traditionally been in charge of the strategy, messaging, and execution of social media.
However, I think it’s important to look at what your colleagues in other departments are doing on their social media accounts to get sales, answer customer questions, get involved in specialty social communities, etc.
Not only can we learn what’s working for them and duplicate it on the company social accounts, but we can also work with them to syndicate company content marketing efforts across their individual professional social platforms.
Employee advocacy software like Bambu, for example, means you can ensure that your colleagues across departments are also spreading the word about your content.
There are many ways to make content marketing part of your company’s DNA, but one of the keys to this strategy is spreading the content marketing mojo across the company.
This means involving more than just marketing in the strategy, ideation, creation, and dissemination of content marketing.
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