We recently wrote a blog post explaining that the future of content marketing is about more than just marketing content. In it we described that the customer-facing content your entire organization creates — think of everything the technical documentation, product, and customer service teams are churning out, for example — has a role to play in leading your customers down the path to purchase.
In that post, we also noted that content marketers need to start getting ready to align all of that content with their content marketing efforts. In this post, we outline six steps that you can take to help you prepare for this shift:
- Develop a content strategy. If you don’t already have a strategy in place that articulates your goals and objectives along with the tactics to support your plan, it’s time to create one. Until you have a documented strategy for what you’re currently doing, you cannot earn the confidence of your counterparts across your company, let alone successfully integrate their content into a holistic content marketing program. For some advice on how to create a content strategy, check out this post.
- Conduct an audit all of your company’s content. Find out the who, what, where, when and why of all of the customer-facing content that your company produces. Identify where that content is used, or could be used, to influence your customers during their customer journey. Evaluate how well it does or doesn’t align with your marketing standards. You should also try to learn as much as you can about how it’s performing; for example, how easily do customers find the content? How do they respond?
- Fold all of your customer-facing content into your strategy. Once you know what content is created and how it’s used, you can start incorporating it into your strategy. Look for opportunities to cross-pollinate key messages into different pieces of content, to actively promote content that you don’t promote today, and to repackage and recycle your content to meet different needs and opportunities.
- Integrate other teams into yours. If possible, try to integrate other content creation teams into the marketing team to centralize content creation. If that’s not feasible, then set up regular meetings, forums, and communication channels to help align the teams and increase the flow of information among them.
- Develop universal processes and guidelines. You will ultimately need to standardize all of your customer-facing content so that it’s consistent in terms of brand, tone of voice, style, use of product names and technical terms, and spelling preferences. Setting up a universal review and approval process can help, as can developing a style guide, although consistently enforcing the style guide can be a challenge.
- Identify technology that can help. One of the keys to scaling your content marketing program is using the right tools to help automate, standardize, and bring efficiency to your efforts. Whether it’s marketing automation tools, social media management tools, or something else, having the right technology in place will ease your growing pains. Importantly, make sure that you bring that technology to your entire organization rather than just using it within marketing.
The future of content marketing is poised to change as it becomes a company-wide initiative. Savvy marketers need to be ready to take advantage of this opportunity by getting ready for it now.