By Toby Murdock published September 29, 2011

Tap Your Organizational Knowledge to Produce B2B Content

The greatest challenge facing content marketers is the production of the content itself. The 2010 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Study shows this clearly: The biggest content marketing challenge identified was “producing engaging content” (36 percent) followed by the very similar “producing enough content” (21 percent) in second place.

For content to be effective, it needs to speak to the authentic challenges and issues that customers face. And it becomes very daunting for content marketing teams to uncover these customer issues day after day and produce compelling content.

How then can content marketers better understand customers and produce great content? The answer comes in a message we’ve heard before most recently articulated in the McKinsey Quarterly article, “We Are All Marketers.”  All across the organization, employees are meeting with customers and developing insights into customer challenges. For companies to succeed in content marketing, they must engage the entire organization and use its collective knowledge of the customer to power content production efforts.

The process: Tying your knowledge into your content

Converting an entire organization into a content marketing machine is no simple task.  Buy-in at the highest levels is necessary to make such a comprehensive program work well.

Let’s discuss the critical processes and priorities involved to mine organizational knowledge for content marketing success.

Submission / Filtering: A process must be established whereby:

  • Employees can easily submit content marketing concepts
  • Content marketing teams can easily filter them and respond. They need to provide clear guidelines on what type of submission they are looking for, and they must be able to give fast feedback to submissions.

Production: Pairing employee and content expertise: As content marketers gather insightful concepts from employees, they should then pair an employee (who likely does not have content production expertise) with one of their writers. Writers can produce drafts and then get feedback from the employee on issues like technical accuracy.

Closing the loop: To keep the employee fully engaged, the content marketing team should inform the employee the progress of the project. For example, they should give updates on when the content gets published or provide insight into how it’s performing (e.g., number of page views, number of retweets, number of leads, etc.). The employee who produced the content concept should have the satisfaction of knowing how his or her efforts are impacting marketing objectives.

Employee recognition: Generally, employees will only participate robustly in a company-wide content marketing effort if they have the proper incentives.

This “voluntary” contribution to the content marketing program should also be recognized during regular employee reviews. Helping the company in its content marketing efforts should benefit employees in their career development and compensation. Scorecards and tracking need to be in place to support this effort.

You can even put initiatives into place that turn this recognition into a fun and competitive part of your office culture.

Imagine a leader board organized by department that measures who makes the greatest contributions to company-wide content marketing success. Employees or departments could earn badges and other rewards for helping to generate more leads and more sales.

Connect the organization to the conversation

Rather than relying on the one percent of the organization that operates your content marketing efforts, 100 percent of your workforce should be incentivized to play a part. The knowledge of the full organization — coupled with the right processes and systems — can yield the insight that can foster greater content marketing success.

Of course, the benefits of such a program go beyond even content marketing itself. Businesses today realize that the heart of their existence lies in how well they interact and communicate with their customers. It is in this interaction that innovation is born, morale is boosted, and customer problems get solved. But when organizations grow bigger, employees often become too detached from this conversation. As a result, innovation and morale suffer.

Through the wonder of the Internet, we’ve all been drawn into the global conversation. The essence of content marketing is in how we participate in that conversation to win customers. Integrating your entire organization into the process not only improves your chances of success but it also helps you tap into those crucial customer interactions that are so vital to innovation and employee morale.

Author: Toby Murdock

Toby Murdock is co-founder and CEO of Kapost, which provides a content marketing platform that enables marketers to become publishers and win at the new game of marketing. Kapost customers include TripAdvisor, Mashable, Intel and Verizon. Toby lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and three daughters. Find him on Twitter @tobymurdock / @kapost.

Other posts by Toby Murdock

  • http://blog.openviewpartners.com/blog/the-open-marketer Amanda Maksymiw (@amandamaks)

    Toby,
    You hit the nail right on the head.  For content marketing to work in ANY organization, everyone must be on board – not just the marketing team.  In addition to the steps you outlined here, we’ve found it to be critical that the manager of any team must be 100% on board as well.  It needs to come from the top.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Amanda

    • http://communitas.tumblr.com/ tobymurdock

      thanks Amanda! 

      perhaps be on the lookout for some software that manages and optimizes this sort of process . . . 

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Often the content development is in the hands of the marketing team, which in many cases doesn’t know all that much about how all of the other departments function on a day to day basis.  It’s important that employees across the company be involved in a content marketing strategy, since everyone is important.  Creating incentives is a great idea to get people on board.  

  • http://twitter.com/AmyAJorgenson Amy Jorgenson

    Awesome stuff, Toby. Thanks for putting all these great tips in one place for all us writers out there!!

    • http://communitas.tumblr.com/ tobymurdock

      thanks Amy 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/Epylium Epylium

    Great post. We’ve got the solution: Epylium.com.

  • http://twitter.com/Epylium Epylium

    Great post. We’ve got the solution: Epylium.com.

  • Nils Vinje

    Great article Toby!  There is so much knowledge that all employees have, especially those closest to the customer.  If one customer/prospect asks a question, you can bet there are 100 more that are looking for the same thing.  Surfacing that content is a great way to drive leads and sales!

    • http://communitas.tumblr.com/ tobymurdock

      thanks Nils

  • http://twitter.com/finwycherley Fin Wycherley

    The marketing team isn’t necessarily equipped to handle the task either because there is a new level of intimacy and engagement required for social media which does not sit easily with those trained up in ye olde ‘we talk, you listen’ marketing school.

    Fin :)))

    • http://communitas.tumblr.com/ tobymurdock

      agreed! 🙂