Content Marketing Challenge: How to Use Your Resources Effectively

October 10, 2011 by

Time and time again, the challenge of a lack of resources gets in the way of an organization creating great content marketing.

I hear these two questions all the time:

  1. What is the right team structure?
  2. How do I get my coworkers or employees on board to participate?

In this post I will provide a few different solutions so that you know how to use your resources more effectively when it comes to content marketing.

Photo from AA Resources

First off, let’s talk about team structure.

Many startup and expansion stage companies have small marketing teams and they are trying to figure out how best to structure the team in order to work most effectively. I know this is a common issue for many companies because when we were planning this week’s Content Marketing Workshop with OpenView Senior Advisor Joe Pulizzi and CMI Lead Strategist Robert Rose the question came up several times. In their new book Managing Content Marketing (and in our workshop), Joe and Robert provide a team structure that they have seen work well in other organizations.  Here are the roles at a high level:  (Check out the book for details on the structure, including job descriptions).

  • Chief Content Officer or Manager – responsible for ensuring perfection in everything related to content marketing
  • Managing Editors – responsible for the “day-to-day execution” against the content marketing program
  • Content Creators – responsible for producing the content
  • Content Producers – responsible for designing the final content products
  • Chief Listening Officer – responsible for listening across all content and social media channels

Now, let’s talk about getting employees on board to participate.

Let’s face it, there comes a time when even the most dedicated content creators within your organization will fail to meet their commitments. It may be because other goals or commitments take priority over content creation. If you have been executing against a content marketing strategy for a few months, I have no doubts that you have had challenges getting people to blog or create other content. I say this with 100 percent certainty because we haven’t figured out how to completely remove this issue at OpenView! I have written about it a few times before (How to Get Everyone on Board with Content Marketing and More Answers to your Top Content Marketing Challenges), so here are a few more ideas we have tested or are considering:

  • Set real expectations and explain consequences: I have blogged about the importance of senior management explaining the value of the blogging program before, so this isn’t a new idea entirely. In addition to explaining the value, ensure that management explains exactly what is required and exactly what is at stake. For example, each employee is required to write two blog posts per month and in order to receive 15 percent of their bonus, each employee is required to meet that commitment at 100 percent. Anything less results in a smaller bonus.
  • Share ideas or themes to get the creative juices flowing: Often times, I hear that people just don’t know what to write about. They say that they are excited about blogging, but have no idea what story they want to share. It is really simple to get rid of this problem, especially in the short term. The CCO (or main content manager) should have a constant backlog of topics for blog posts, articles, ebooks, etc. as part of an overall editorial calendar.  It should be up to him or her to sit down with every willing blogger to share ideas and empower new bloggers to write consistently. If you don’t have a robust editorial calendar, execute some keyword research to begin to identify topics that your target audience is interested in. A few ideas for blog posts are bound to come from that!
  • Determine when it makes sense to get help – While tapping into your coworkers for content is the most economical way to create content (not accounting for lost time while they are creating content), it isn’t always that easy to get people on board. Sometimes your coworkers/employees are just too busy with their day-to-day responsibilities! In this case, evaluate whether or not it is essential to have that person actively contribute. If it doesn’t, consider outsourcing the content creation to a freelancer, content platforms (such as Contently), or hire a capable intern to ghostwrite blog posts. Schedule regular meetings between the employee and the ghostwriter to share ideas and talk through blog posts. Who knows, you may find a valuable asset on your team who isn’t comfortable with writing, but excels with this model!

What do you think?  How have you overcome resource challenges within your content marketing program?

  • Martin Smith

    Amanda,
    Your excellent post reminds me of two stories. As a Sales Director for the Dairy category at NutraSweet (a lifetime ago) I explained to our R&D team why they had more credibility with customers than me. “I’m a paid ‘golden throat’,” I explained. Our R&D team, on the other hand, seemed authentic and real to our Fortune 1,000 customers. At first this was intimidating, but, after our meetings, they could see the truth of it and loved their new “sales” role. Same dynamic goes for your content creation example. Often the most powerful, meaningful and far reaching statements come from the least likely sources.

    Your recommendation for Joe and Robert’s book is perfect. I met Robert and Joe at Content Marketing World and their “Hero’s Journey” work is stellar. I’ve been trying to wrestle McKee’s Story into content writing form for years and haven’t succeeded, not even nearly. Robert’s customer segmentation and storytelling tips are beyond great. I’ve always thought the web was more movie or play than static pages I just didn’t know how to tell the story, the hero’s journey. Now, thanks to Robert and Joe I do and would join your strong recommendation for Managing Content Marketing. Robert also introduced me to Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey and it is a great companion.

    Great post and hope we have a chance to meet and talk some day soon.

    Thanks,

    Martin Smith
    Director Marketing
    Atlantic BT
    Raleigh, NC

    • http://blog.openviewpartners.com/author/amaksymiw Amanda Maksymiw (@amandamaks)

      Martin,
      Thanks so much for your nice comment.  You bring up such an excellent point with the use of R&D as storytellers.  Thanks again!

      Cheers,
      Amanda