How 3 Content Brands Tackle Their Toughest Internal Challenges

How 3 Content Brands Tackle Their Toughest Internal Challenges

They’re about people: helping, educating, and collaborating with internal teams, just as you would for your external audience. For both Capital Ideas and Redshift, some of the best friends come from the sales team. In fact, the Capital Group’s sales force was once its content distribution strategy. When Capital Ideas launched, the team’s de facto Chief Content Officer Will McKenna tapped into the relationships he had built over 16 years with the company to help the sales team understand how the new online resource helps them start conversations with their prospects more often. “Find those people and make them an extended part of your team. Other Autodesk marketing teams try to generate product demand. Why this works Mapping the tools to their function within the audience development strategy gives Intel’s tech team insight into the business need behind iQ’s requirements. Challenge: Build publishing skills within a marketing team If you think an enterprise content brand comes with a sizable team, you might be surprised how lean the teams really are. iQ, for example, runs with a publisher (Luke, who doubles as audience development and content distribution wizard), a managing editor (Deb), an executive editor, and one additional editor who helps with WordPress publishing. Whitney works with a team of six internal writers, also with journalism backgrounds, and experiments with agency resources for human interest stories.

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What keeps you up at night about your content marketing program? I’ll bet one of your top concerns is how to prove its value to the company.

There’s also a good chance other stress-inducing concerns include your tech stack and/or your team. Well, guess what? Your peers – even at brands lauded for their content approach – struggle with the same issues.

At the recent Intelligent Content Conference, Robert Rose, CMI’s chief strategy advisor, questioned the leaders of notable content brands about how they tackle the issues. Their advice during the keynote panel Let’s Get Real: What Does It Take to Run an Enterprise Publication may help you take on your tough challenges – and maybe even get some sleep.

Meet the panel:

Dusty DiMercurio leads Autodesk’s content marketing and social media team and serves as publisher and editorial director for Redshift, the company’s digital publication about the future of design and making things.

Luke Kintigh and Deb Landau are head of publishing and managing editor, respectively, of iQ by Intel, which features long-form journalistic stories about tech designed to inspire.

Whitney Kisling, senior content strategist at Capital Group and managing editor of the investment fund’s content destination Capital Ideas, which educates financial advisors about the impact of economic and political trends and events on the investment environment.

Challenge: Stay true to the editorial mission and show value to the company

All three of the panelists’ publications sit at the top of the funnel, attracting audiences with compelling stories and typically keeping brand and product mentions to a minimum. Each team focuses on creating a sustained cadence of editorial content, not white papers, e-books, or other demand-gen pieces.

It’s no surprise, then, that the panelists acknowledge how difficult proving value can be.

Sure, the problem is partly technological: Collecting the right data, analyzing it, and delivering it to the right people (not to mention getting them to read it) often involves plugging a “leaky bucket,” as Intel’s Luke Kintigh put it.

But the answers, they all agree, aren’t purely tech driven. They’re about people: helping, educating, and collaborating with internal teams, just as you would for your external audience.

What to try: Invest in other teams’ success

First, lay the groundwork for proving value by making the right friends. For both Capital Ideas and Redshift, some of the best friends come from the sales team.

In fact, the Capital Group’s sales force was once its content distribution strategy. Salespeople delivered content pieces when they paid quarterly visits to prospects and customers. When Capital Ideas launched, the team’s de facto Chief Content Officer Will McKenna tapped into the relationships he had built over 16 years with the company to help the sales team understand how the new online resource helps them start conversations with their prospects more often.

At Autodesk, Dusty DiMercurio takes a similar tack. “We go to sales and say, ‘We know you’re trying to strike up conversations in this sector. Here’s a bunch of great content that will allow you to start conversations (with new prospects) or give you proof points for conversations you might already have started with leads.”

autodesk-dusty-dimercurio-example

Why this works

Enlisting salespeople as champions isn’t the only tactic Capital Group’s Whitney Kisling uses. She educates leadership about the role thought-leadership content plays in the broader marketing mission of engaging and educating financial advisors to increase the likelihood they’ll choose Capital Group’s funds. But sales support provides powerful anecdotal evidence.

“We get a feedback loop from the sales force saying, ‘We love having this website we can go to to quickly find what we’re looking for,’” Whitney explains. “We can take that to senior leadership and show there is value.”

Dusty’s strategy of understanding his internal audience’s goals and explaining how content can help has made Redshift popular with the sales team. “They go there all the time. In fact, they sign up for the newsletter so they get the content when it’s first published,” he says.

Building “a coalition of the willing,” as Dusty calls it, helps prove your own team’s success. “Not everybody’s going to be on board, but there will be some people who really are,” he says. “Find those people and make them an extended part of your team. Make them the hero. Make them successful. Then you’ll create demand for what your team does.”

What else to try: Share the audience-insight wealth

One of the benefits of an “always-on” digital publication, of course, is the ability to observe audience behavior over time. It’s an idea that Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi have pushed for years – the content you create isn’t the asset, the asset is the audience that content helps you build.

At iQ, Luke and his team fully bought into that notion, and they use it to feed insights into what the audience cares about to other teams.

Why this works

Without the built-in end date that accompanies many campaigns, the iQ…

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