It’s no secret that most marketers struggle with content creation. On top of having to produce content for a range of channels, the problem often lies in the fact that small marketing teams have maintain the voice of a large company—often without any input from the rest of the team.
As a result, 44 percent of marketers claim that content production is their biggest challenge.
Because there is no content creation culture within the company, marketers are forced to either guess as the realities of their company’s industry — or stick to uninteresting and vague marketing spiel.
The solution? Getting every member of your team on board the content creation train.
But before we explore the best ways to do that, let’s pause to establish the growing importance of a documented content strategy.
The Importance of a Clear Content Strategy
We recently cleared up the differences between content marketing and content strategy. In short, content marketing is just one piece of the puzzle making up an overarching content strategy.
Well, a documented content strategy is a set of actionable steps that helps content marketers eliminate the need to improvise when it comes to writing, recording and distributing content. The strategy governs all of the above, and then some.
A recent study from Content Marketing Institute revealed that 73 percent of organizations employ somebody for the purpose of overseeing their content strategy — which is a solid indicator of its importance.
To develop your own content strategy will require in-depth research and planning, but the questions below will help you get started.
- Who are our customers?
- Who are our competitors?
- How are we different from them?
- What’s the purpose of our content? Why are we creating it?
- How will our content be distributed?
- Who will be leading our content efforts?
- What’s our unique company or individual voice?
Remember, your content strategy shouldn’t be set in stone. Your industry is always evolving, and consumer demands are always growing. So, set out some foundations, but always be readily to adapt your content strategy in order to keep it in line with the latest market trends.
Once you have a clear content strategy in place, you can start building your very own content creation culture using the tips below.
1. Remove Barriers to Content Production
First things first, make sure everybody in your company knows that you don’t have to be the best writer in the world in order to write great content.
That’s because firstly, real experiences and ideas more important than eloquence, and secondly, all their content will be screened and tweaked by the marketing team before publication, anyway.
But if still have team members who aren't comfortable writing, open up new content options for them to experiment with. They could help start the company podcast by interviewing other team members, take pictures of the office for Instagram, or start the company’s YouTube channel. New channels and devices are emerging all the time, so there are plenty of options.
Also, make sure your content guidelines for your team members don’t scare them away from running their fingers across the keys or hitting the record button. Your primary concern should be to cultivate authentic content that can be published, which will in turn encourage your content creation culture.
2. Crowdsource Ideas
It might be difficult to get your team excited about blogging or content creation in general, and that may be because they’re being asked to write about things that aren’t interesting to them — or worse yet — aren’t relevant to their role.
To get everyone on board, set aside an extra minute or two during team meetings to ask your wider team about content suggestions for the company blog or podcast. If an idea crops up, ask for a volunteer to execute it. That way, the idea creation process stays organic, and they’ll be executed by a member of the team that actively wants to partake.
You could also pitch a cause that your team is likely to rally behind, and ask for volunteers to create content that promotes that cause.
3. Offer Incentives for Creating Stellar Content
Laying out some awesome incentives can give your team the extra push of motivation they need to produce content.
The possibilities are endless here, but you could:
- Set up company-wide rankings for social shares from employee-contributed content
- Share weekly traffic statistics to employee-contributed content
- Hand out cash prizes for whoever can attract 1,000 views
- Make it clear that regular contributors have a better chance of being named employee of the month
Still, be careful with using incentives - they may kill creativity of your authors as Dan Pink explains in his great TED talk on intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation.
4. Encourage Risk Taking
Giving your employees a list of topics and saying, “Here, try to write one per week,” isn’t going to inspire anybody. On the contrary, your employees should feel free to share their raw and authentic off-the-wall content ideas.
So, you may want to hear somebody from your sales team write about their most bizarre sales call, or you could interview your Founder in front of the camera about his or her struggle during their first few months (or years) in business.
5. Never Force Content Creation
The whole point of fostering a culture of content creation is to eventually have a team that wants to produce content for themselves, and for the brand as a whole. Forcing the issue simply defeats the object.
Not to mention, content that is produced unwillingly will almost certainly lack quality and conviction.
Avoid making your team feel like they “should” create content, as they’ll just see it as extra work. Instead, you want to inspire them to get creative so that they can produce content with a real sense of personality. That means encouraging and rewarding content producers — but without scolding those who choose not to partake.
Aim for Quality, Not Quantity
Remember, you don’t want to turn your employees into blog post producing robots. You want them to feel part of a team that can express themselves through the company’s blog and social channels.
Fostering a culture of content throughout your company isn’t something that will happen overnight, but instead, something that should be viewed as a grand and ongoing experiment. As you learn the strengths and weaknesses of different employees your overall strategy should adapt to help fit everybody’s voice in — while amplifying the brand’s voice at the same time.