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contentmarketingOn Monday I was able to sit in on a great webinar with Chris Moody and Marcus Sheridan. While they both gave some great tips and steps that are helpful, the focus of this blog will be on the eight tips from Marcus Sheridan on content marketing and why it is important. What Sheridan emphasized is that content marketing is all about helping employees become “culturally” integrated and the fact that organizations must leverage their employees.

Sheridan explained this in eight easy steps:

  1. It starts at the top – We hear this all the time but specifically with content marketing, it is important to understand that it must start with the CEO and upper management.  Content marketing doesn’t work if you don’t have the buy-in from the top. IMPORTANT: Take the questions your employees hear everyday from your customers and answer those questions! Just make sure you answer them in an honest and transparent manner.
  2.  The “why” workshop -- Once you have buy-in from the top then it is imperative that all employees want to be involved. Because the marketing department typically does not talk to customers on a daily basis they need to work with all employees to understand the messages that need to be communicated. The key here before implementing is to make sure all employees understand what it is the marketing/communications department is doing, how it works and WHY it is important.
  3. The First 100 -- The content you are creating should be questions that your customers want to know about. Find out what questions  they are asking regularly? It is fairly easy to get a lot of content and fast. Sit down with your employees and ask them one question. “In complete sentence form - What are the exact questions you hear from your customers every day?” 

    With a small group there should be at least 100 questions developed in about 30 minutes. From a marketing perspective if the customers are not asking about a topic on a regular basis it is probably not important. Listen to what the customers are saying.

  4. COO or Chief Content Officer -- There needs to be a person in the organization who is the “organizer” of ideas and/or content. The title doesn’t matter but there needs to be a person in place (who also fully agrees) that will encourage the creation of content and will stay on top of deadlines.
  5. Editorial Calendar -- Having an editorial calendar that is shared with employees is very helpful with content marketing. The employees must also be held accountable for providing content and meeting deadlines. In addition, creating content should not be optional, it should be part of every job description. Just like HR does payroll every two weeks, employees should be providing content as well. It should just part of every job and the culture of the organization.
  6.  Content guidelines – Simple, simple, simple… The main point here is… to keep it simple. Have employees provide content that is as easy for them as if they were having a conversation at a coffee shop. The content can be “edited” for writing style, but don’t change the “voice” – let the content creators be heard.
  7. Understanding the types of content producers -- It is important to identify the four types of employees that exist in a company and how to engage each one:

    • Writers -- These are the people that love to write and do it well! When you ask them to do it they will and on time! Engage them in regular writing assignments.
    • Actors -- These are fast talkers who love to engage in conversation. They may not be able to write well but they can be great on video! Especially since we know that more and more people are visual learners – using this avenue is extremely helpful.
    • Talkers -- These are people who may be a little shy and again may not be able to write well and don’t want to be on video but they want to help! They are willing to sit down with someone in marketing and will answer questions. Someone else will write it -- but they can give great answers that can be turned into wonderful content!
    • Questioners -- And finally these are those who can’t do the top three. They also may not know any of the answers to questions -- but they know the QUESTIONS that people are asking. This could be a person who answers the phone and transfers the calls. Find out what is being asked and then use the writers, actors and talkers to answer those questions.
  8. The content newsletter and continued push -- The last step after 1 - 7 have been accomplished is about keeping the content creation going. The best suggestion is to create a simple internal newsletter that the COO or marketing department distributes that shows the results of what has been done. Keep the excitement of the traction going -- share the success.

Lastly, not one of the steps listed above but a comment that resonated with me was that if you are going to be a thought leader you cannot be afraid. You have to embrace what you are doing and go full steam ahead.

Sheridan also offers a free book called inbound and content marketing reading made easy that I have added to my list of books to read!

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Rachel Brockway
Rachel Brockway
Senior Account Executive Rachel is a native Arizonian, who enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, playing tennis, reading and social media. She’s a busy mom and is passing the idea of volunteerism onto her son. Check out Rachel's Full Bio

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