Tell me if this describes your situation: You’ve hired a couple writers, you’ve turned them loose on the SMEs in your organization with the mission of creating content, and the honchos at the top have bought in. You are set up to have a huge positive impact.
But even though you thought everything was in place, nothing is happening. Or at least, not much is happening. Certainly not enough.
The problem is too much friction.
Friction between you and the writers, friction between the writers and the SMEs, friction between the content team and legal approvals, friction between marketing and sales (because sales wants to talk about how awesome the company’s products are). This friction slows everything down, sometimes even to a stop.
To have success, you have to overcome this friction.
How can you do that?
Well, it’s really hard to do once the machine is up and running.
The key is to anticipate that this friction will naturally occur, and take steps to prevent it before you launch your content marketing initiative. The internal process is a critical component of your content marketing strategy. The Content Marketing Institute has pounded its fist on the table for at least a year on this point – organizations that fail to create a documented content strategy struggle to find success.
Like anything else, if you don’t plan ahead, you’re bound to get stuck every time you come upon an obstacle. The plan won’t be foolproof and you’ll have to divert from it occasionally, but it will always help you to stay focused on the destination.
Here are the things you should focus on when building out your internal process for content creation and distribution:
Figure out your editorial promise. What is your content going to be about and, importantly, what is it not going to be about? Once you’ve established this and reached consensus with the people who need to be on board – CMO, VP of Sales, CEO, etc. – you can short circuit those lengthy debates over whether or not you should cover a certain topic.
Hire a writing team that can fulfill that editorial promise. If you have a complex topic – think accounting – you need someone with experience in that field; it’s a very rare new college grad that can effectively write about this subject matter. Whether you hire an agency such as Scribewise, fulltime writing staff, or freelancers, you need to be sure that they can create the type of content you want, that they can do it in a timely manner and that they’re committed to your initiative (don’t get stuck with the brilliant freelancer who’s got too many projects going on). Pro tip: This team probably does not include the summer intern who’s headed back to school in a couple weeks.
Figure out who has to approve everything. I’ve written in the past about the Black Hole of Approvals. Don’t get stuck in it. Discussing an approval process and, ideally, an approval timeline before you launch your content marketing initiative will help to create momentum. For instance, most of your content should not require legal approval, the surest time suck of all; professional newsrooms don’t run every story through legal approvals; rather, the journalists are trusted to know when to bring a particularly sensitive story to the attorneys’ attention. Focus on trying to make this approval process as efficient as possible – the goal is to make sure your organization avoids getting into trouble, but the process should not be so onerous that it inhibits audience engagement.
Follow the process. Once this workflow is established, follow it. If you know that it’s going to take two weeks to get the necessary approvals, then you have to work ahead.
The goal is to eliminate friction; by following this simple approach you can identify possible points of friction before you hit them and figure out how best to navigate them.
The result is a smoother process for everyone, and ultimately a better content experience for your audience. And that’s the whole point.