You’ve done it: You’ve made the commitment to create better marketing content. Realizing you lack the people or the time (or both) to tackle the task on your own, you’ve found a resource – an internal organization or an outside agency – that you’re certain will give you the content you need. What should you do now? Talk with them.

What to Discuss

Discuss your marketing goals and how content creation can help you reach them. Talk about how you see your company, where you think it’s headed, what it needs to do to get there. Don’t forget to listen to your experts.

Keep this introduction high-level and informative. Give the team any existing collateral or other background you think might be helpful. And be sure to answer questions like:

  • What types of content do we think will be most effective?
  • How frequently would we like to distribute it?
  • What kind of access will the team have to subject matter experts?
  • Who will be involved in getting the content approved?
  • What tone do we want to use?
  • What search keywords do we want to use?
  • What’s the competition doing right or wrong?
  • What can we learn from that? 
This discussion doesn’t have to turn into an all-day, order-lunch meeting. But it should happen. It’ll help the entire process run more smoothly.

Make It About People

We’ve all heard The Company Line. We know we’re being sold something and we know we’re not being told the whole truth
– and we resent it. How do we create marketing content that engages readers and accomplishes our goals? By making it about people, what those people know, and how that knowledge can help the reader be a hero.

Most successful organizations are built on the experience and expertise of a select group
 of people. These people should be the authors of your marketing content. Their industry and product knowledge will give the content credibility. Their contacts might even help distribute it. So:

  • Select a handful of people to whom you want to credit your content.
  • Help them understand how this will help their personal brands.
  • Encourage them to be more active in social media, especially Google+.
  • Let them know people will be respectful of their time.
  • Get them involved in selecting topics for content. 
This last point is an important one. An executive or subject matter expert will always be more helpful in creating content if the topic is something about which they know and have opinions. 
If someone has worked to become an effective subject matter expert, they’ve got opinions – probably quite a few of them.

Start with Stories

It’s so easy to think of a company as a collection of products or services. And if you’re Apple, Ralph Lauren, or Coca-Cola, you likely have plenty around which to build a content marketing program. But what if you’re not?

For the rest of us, it’s not the products we sell, it’s the stories we tell.

Most companies have compelling stories that say a lot about their creativity, dedication, devotion to quality, you name it. Your task is to find those stories and the people in the best position to tell them.

Maybe this story informs; maybe it inspires; maybe it entertains. But it has to be useful to the people you want to reach. It has to create heroes. As you’re vetting these stories, remember that these stories not only have to begood enough to read, they have to be good enough to share.

Remember the last time you heard a story that was so good you couldn’t wait to retell it? That’s what you’re looking for. Check back next week for the second post in this series.

The B2B Guide to Content Creation