The Three Actions You Need to Take to be an Effective Content Marketing Team of One

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I admit it. Business-to-business and healthcare companies who only have one or two people responsible for content marketing is a boon for me. It’s true. Small teams need, hire and value freelance copywriters. But it’s also true that I hate seeing clients run themselves ragged trying to keep up “feeding the content marketing machine.”

So consider doing these actions if you or you and one other person are responsible for creating content in your organization.

1. Establish a Business Strategy and Marketing Strategy First

Before you begin tactics, you establish a business strategy with objectives, and then create a marketing strategy to achieve the business objectives. Not simple or easy, but important. Since you’re limited in team members, you don’t have the bandwidth to do stuff that is wasteful — each action needs to move the company forward. The existence of these two documents is crucial for successful creation and distribution of content. If you need help, go to books, workshops, marketing consultants and, of course, the internet, where epic amounts of resources are available.

When you have a complete strategy, the next step is …

2. Promote Yourself to the Role of Editor

Yes, traditionally, as the solo marketing person, you manage marketing campaigns, social media, marketing collateral, website redesign and public relations. Now content marketing has come under your job responsibility umbrella. You’re probably saying, “Shannan, have you seen my work calendar lately? I do more than that. I do it all.” So if you’re also creating the content, that’s the problem. It’s time to disrupt status quo and change your role.

You need to become an Editor first, said Jonathan Kranz, principal of Kranz Communications. Kranz has conducted workshops for groups such as the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

When you think of your role as an Editor, you shift to concentrating on the essential responsibility: editorial control.  According to Franz, you focus on these primary functions:

  • Ensure brand/vision consistency
  • Assign work
  • Edit, revise and review
  • Manage the content pipeline

(Thanks to Jonathan Kranz, Feeding Many Streams with Small Teams, Content Marketing World 2017.)

So you need to delegate the content creation function.

When you accept this role, you will also need to embrace managing people – you assign work, manage people doing the work, coordinate the deadlines, communicate to everyone, approve the content, etc.  The Editor makes sure the tactics are consistent with the business strategy and objectives, and also to the marketing strategy.

Sound like a lot, doesn’t it?

But the two other options are downright career-killers:

  • Do everything yourself – and burn out and poor quality will likely be the results

or

  • Do a little content marketing – and you won’t reach your goals.

Let’s forget about the two ugly options. How does the Editor role work?

You oversee two groups of people who can help you – the internal experts and external content creators.

Internal experts

They are the people within the company, but external to marketing. The professionals are usually subject matter experts, sales managers, product managers and customer service representatives.

How can they help you? These company folks can educate you on products and services, give you story ideas, experiences and successes, and share insights of customers and prospects.

External content creators

These wizards are outside your organization, perhaps marketing agencies, freelancers or independent contractors. What can these individuals do for you? You only have to pay them for the work they do, versus an employee who gets paid whether working on a project or not. You can bring in someone qualified, rather than an inexperienced employee. By working with other organizations, they have lots of outside experience and have refined their skills.

So tap into internal experts and external content creators, but also …

3. Narrow Segmentation by Focusing on Buyer Behavior Only

Most business-to-business companies serve multiple industries. When you divide a market into distinct subsets of customers, it’s not uncommon to have eight or ten target markets. Whoa! Who gets to keep track of this? Good luck managing content for those audiences.

It’s too much.

But how can we engage and attract audiences while reducing the number of streams? Jonathan Kranz recommends thinking beyond arbitrary demographics and, instead, look at real buyer behavior.

Kranz said the problem with arbitrary demographics and similar statistics is we base this data on two assumptions that are often incorrect:

  1. Assumption that the people with the same demographics think and behave the same way.
  2. Assumption that the people with different demographics don’t shop similarly.

What to do? Franz suggested focusing on buyer behavior only.

“This should be the only standard for segmentation because it’s the only one that matters,” he said.

Think about your customers and the information around the process of purchase. Consider the following:

  • Why do they buy?
  • How do they buy?
  • What are they looking for?
  • Where and when they look …
  • What is their decision criteria?

(Thanks to Jonathan Kranz, Feeding Many Streams with Small Teams, Content Marketing World 2017.)

To explore this topic in depth, read “Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into Your Customer’s Expectations, Align Your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business” by Adele Revella.

When you interview buyers, Revella suggests only having the opening question scripted. The opening begins with the “Take me back to the day when you first decided to evaluate (whatever category of solution your product fits into) and tell me what happened.”

So use buyer behaviors instead of statistical data to narrow your segments.

And I’ll be rooting for you. Go small teams!

Image by Ryan McGuire at https://gratisography.com.

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