Communication and content marketing is often stripped down to the simple sharing of information between two or more individuals, groups or systems. However, when properly utilized—it’s the be-all and end-all for many a people and organization.
This is something Mathew Love has come to realise in almost a decade of grappling with communication and how it affects the world around us. Whether it was amid the loud, clanging warehouse of a metal factory, the sweet, soothing tones of a music shop, or the exciting, busy and challenging financial year of a multi-national corporation—communication and content marketing held its weight of importance for Mathew’s career throughout.
In this first blog of a series in which BigTeam delves a little deeper into the many use-cases for internal feedback, we chat to Mathew and get his input on the evolution of content marketing, the importance of internal feedback in his field, and gain a few questions he employs internally to help guide his various strategies.
Content marketing has evolved tremendously since I first started (which was a little over 8 years ago). Short, pithy blogs that were once used to sell products or to add SEO content to your site have grown up in a major way. They’re now more value-adding pieces that range between 800 to 1200 words and are aimed at telling a story or engaging with the reader. Content marketing at its very core is now less about what the business wants you to buy from them and more about what the business wants you to know about them, and what they represent from a though-leader perspective.
Influencer marketing has also become a star player in today’s content marketing world. The dissemination of content from an organisation largely relies on the colleagues and could extend further to key stakeholders of the industry in which it operates. This makes the content seem more credible and much less salesy—and ultimately leads to more trust between the business and its customers.
Most of this evolution is most likely the result of a global business model that has moved away from a focus on once-off transactions, to forming a relationship with the customer and banking on repeat business. Customers can no longer be viewed as prospects that add figures to your bottom-line. They are the lifeblood of any business, and it would be remiss of an organization to neglect the value in forming strong, loyal bonds with them.
Internal feedback plays a massive role in getting out accurate and worthwhile content. Because the aim of content from a marketing perspective has evolved to a more customer-focus concept, it’s especially important to nail-down how the company wants its customers to perceive it. This involves rigorous interviews with key members of the organization, market research in the field of operation, competitive analyses, as well as interviews with customers and ascertaining their current perception.
All of this information then needs to be critically discussed and questions need to be formulated based on specific pain points that the organization can solve. Internal feedback is then vital in ensuring that these pain points are addressed properly and that the content strategy is lead by what matters and what benefits the customer.
Being part of a large, multi-national organization means that we have a whole orchestra of different departments that need to play the same tune, in the same key. From sales and support to research and development, to human resources, marketing and customer relations. Each colleague within these functions need to be aligned and focused on the same message that the organization wishes to present. This is where it becomes difficult to break down silos and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Because of the pace of business in the SAAS (software as a service) field, it becomes rather tricky to look up every now and then and ensure that you’re informed about what’s going on in the business, and this includes being engaged with the content that’s being shared externally. It’s vital here that each colleague in the organization knows and understands what the business stands for and represents.
In saying that, I feel that, from a content marketing perspective, tapping into each department on a regular basis is critical, and getting feedback from them on how they’re experiencing the organization and what value they feel they’re adding to our customers is an absolute must. This not only ensures that they feel like they’re part of the company’s content and communications strategy, but also keeps them engaged. Discovering how to tap into each department on a regular basis, well, that’s a whole other kettle of fish…
I have five questions that I feel form the basis to any decent content marketing strategy. They can be used in almost any context, and with most of my clients. They are:
Do you know who your content is directed at and more importantly, why? What’s also important here is gathering feedback on whether your colleagues are convinced that it’s the right type of content for the target market, and vice versa.
You may have already asked yourself what you’re trying to achieve through your content strategy, but have you asked your colleagues or outside partners what they think this may be? There can sometimes be a misalignment in what you believe your ultimate goal is, and what your teammates, agencies or collaborators believe that you are trying to accomplish. So, take a moment to present the content strategy in its entirety to your colleagues, and discover what they feel it’s trying to achieve.
How do you plan on delivering your content to the market? Is it feasible and appropriate for the current spec or target market? Is a new website, marketing campaign or brand repositioning really the best way to achieve more awareness with high school students, for example? Do you know all your options? Again, you may have an inkling about what’s right here, but without putting it to your colleagues and gathering the appropriate feedback, you’ll never know what other tools you have.
Here you’ll discover how your colleagues perceive the actual resources of your content strategy. What’s the central theme in the feedback you’re getting from your colleagues? Is it that the assets aren’t colorful or bright enough, or maybe that they’re too wordy or salesy? You’ll quickly be able to cut through the noise of individual opinions and get straight to the heart of what your colleagues are trying to tell you.
This type of feedback is related to the tools and tracking techniques you’re planning on employing to measure the success of your idea or project’s launch. Your colleagues will be able to remove any doubt from your mind whether you’ve made the right choice, or maybe steer you in the right direction if you’ve strayed off course here.
For BigTeam users, you can find several of Mathew’s questions loaded into our question builder ready for you to put to work as well.
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