It’s certainly no secret that quality content is the foundation of every marketing strategy. And you may think the success of your content marketing initiatives rests in the capable and creative hands of your marketing team members. But you may be missing out on a big internal opportunity.
During her session titled “Driving Content Marketing Success in Your Organization: Sales, Product and Global-Regional Collaboration,” Jillian Hillard, the Director of Brand and Product Marketing for Electrolux Home Care and SDA, North America, emphasized the importance of enterprise-wide buy-in.
Using three rebranding case studies as examples, Hillard walked us through her process for getting key players from multiple departments to buy-in, get excited and see the value in content marketing.
“Everyone needs to have a seat at the table in the beginning,” Hillard said. “This creates community of openness, trust, camaraderie, support and gets everyone excited about the new journey.”
So, how can you win the buy-in of key departments within your organization to drive your content marketing strategy? Get started by understanding your key players and departments or as she referred to them: your cast of characters. When you need to understand your organization’s characters, you’ll be able to help them understand how content can make a difference for the business and the customer.
Character #1 – The Product Line
The folks working on product line and development quite obviously have intimate knowledge of how the product works and benefits your customers. They’re your subject matter experts. But they have a lot to gain from content marketing. You just have to show them.
“Your products are an extension of your story,” Hillard said. “And content is a must to help you sell and onboard your products.”
Character #2 – Sales
Hillard recognized that many marketers are hesitant to involve sales during early strategy development. But she argued that sales reps are your “on-the-ground storytellers,” so getting them to collaborate and share insights early can make or break your efforts.
“If sales is not behind your content revolution, you have lost the best resources for customer buy-in,” she said. “But, you need to show them that marketing is more than freebies and product catalogs.”
To achieve sales buy-in, it’s important for marketers to ask for feedback along the way, and sometimes this requires a meeting just for marketing and sales teams to work together and brainstorm. During these meetings, you can clearly layout what their role is in your organization’s content marketing journey.
Character #3: Finance
As Hillard put it: ”A well-funded story goes far.” So, if you can help your finance players see that content marketing is a business generator, that’s when you go from the spenders to the viable business drivers.
To get buy in from finance, share short- and long-term ROI possibilities. Then brief them on how content can contribute to a reduction in costs and increase in sales. Finally, include finance in any management presentations and milestone updates.
Character #4: Customer Service
Nobody spends more face-time with your customers than your customer service team. And as Hillard explained: “Customer service provides fuel for your content. Their insights allow the organization to take trending issues and feedback and proactively output content. That content then aids customer service as well by making answers and suggestions readily available for them to pass along.”
For customer services teams to hop on board with your content marketing plan, they need validation. They spend a lot of time listening to customers, so it’s important that you lend them your ear and give them a voice.
“Ask them to participate in editorial calendar brainstorms,” Hillard suggested. “They can also give insight on how the customer wants to receive their content. [In addition], offer trainings and easy ways for the team to access the content for their own use.”
The Main Takeaway?
In order to drive content marketing success for your organization, everyone in the organization needs a hand on the wheel. You need buy-in and collaboration from conception to execution, and ultimately optimization. Hillard said it best in the final moments of her presentation:
“Once your organization sees the value, then content marketing becomes contagious.”
Stay tuned for more #CMWorld coverage and insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog. In addition, follow myself and the rest of our on-the-ground team members on Twitter at: @Tiffani_Allen, @leeodden, @knutesands, @NiteWrites, @azeckman, @amywhiggins and @CaitlinMBurgess.