If you’re serious about inbound marketing, you know that your company’s ability to create a steady stream of good content will either make or break your inbound marketing initiative. You have two choices – use an external resource (agency, freelancer, etc.) or develop your content in-house. Either way, it’s imperative that you get “buy-in.”

But what exactly does “buy-in” mean? Webster provides a worthy definition of: “the acceptance of and willingness to actively support a decision.”

Let’s break that down a bit to get a better understanding of the underlying mechanics. The “acceptance of” part is pretty crucial. A sizable number of company owners I’ve spoken with about developing this acceptance have expressed angst over not only asking for it, but actually getting it.

What’s required is a mind shift – from envisioning content as some mystical foreign object that’s painful to deal with to seeing content creation as part of the cultural fabric of your everyday business life.

If you truly believe content can help your company be found by more people seeking solutions of the type you provide, then it elevates the importance of getting buy-in – this is all about getting the “active support for a decision” part of the buy-in definition. When management paints a clear picture of the role content can play in company growth and long-term success, employees can more readily get behind the content initiative.

If Everyone Is “in Sales,” Everyone Is “in Marketing”

The first thing you should determine is exactly who should be involved in your content creation process. A good starting place for that list is any employee who regularly interacts with both prospective and current customers.

We’ve all heard the adage, anyone who comes into contact with a prospect or a customer can positively or negatively impact the prospect or customer experience. If that’s true, then everyone in regular prospect or customer contact impacts sales and marketing. Which means, there are more people in your organization who can contribute to the content creation process than you think.

While the sales department is always a logical choice, so is customer service and marketing. But what about accounting, engineering, product development – or anyone who has answered a prospective or existing customer’s question, whether face to face, via email or on the phone? Hundreds of interactions occur every week, yet they rarely get mined for the true gold that lies in those communication exchanges.

Is Content Creation Part of My Job Description?

As a business owner, you could force the issue and make content production a mandatory condition of your staff’s employment. That’s probably not going to win their hearts and minds and yield an authentic, sustainable commitment to creating content.

A big part of the wariness employees exhibit when the topic of creating content comes up is rooted in fear – for most, a fear of the unknown. Unknown, in the sense that the requirements, the specific process and management’s expectations of employee content contributions are not clearly defined.

Then there’s the role issue – as in, “What specific role am I supposed to play in this effort?” “Am I really qualified to be part of this?” “I can’t write.” “I’m not good on camera,” or “I have no idea what the content should say,” are frequently voiced fears from the employee ranks.

It’s critical to let employees know that their roles can either be active or passive. On the active side, this means they are the ones writing, speaking or otherwise creating the content that develops awareness and demand for the company’s products or services.

On the passive side, employees can simply provide ideas to the active participants with which to create content. It’s more important to get deeper staff involvement, in either an active or passive role, than it is to get a specific number of actives versus passives. We’ve seen many passive participants grow in confidence in the passive role and migrate to an active role once they ”get it.” It doesn’t get much better than that.

What If We Outsource Content Creation?

You still need buy-in even if you outsource content creation. The process of capturing the questions that your staff regularly gets from prospects and customers will inform outsourced content creators the same way it would internal creators.

Think of it as a “brain trust extract.” The sum total of internal experience and knowledge of the questions and concerns that prospects have should be leveraged in creating content. There’s a bonus from this extraction process – it captures the way your company thinks and communicates, which makes it more authentic to your readers. The closer the tone and the style of your content are to the way your prospect-facing team communicates, the smoother the transition is from reading your content to interacting with your team. In the ideal circumstances, it’s a trust transfer from the content to the interaction.

If you have additional questions or would like to share your own successes with getting buy-in, please comment below – either way, we’d love to hear from you!