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This week, we’re talking about content creation. Not just writing blogs, but really what it takes to create great inbound marketing content. We cover topics including:

  • How inbound marketing workshops can help build a culture of content creation within your company
  • Why creating a Culture Code can help you close more deals
  • What makes great content
  • Who should create your content
  • And finally, tips for making the content creation process easier and faster

Listen to the episode to hear it all, or read the show notes below.

Listen to Episode 10:

Read The Show Notes:

This week, our theme is content. We’re not just talking about writing blogs and creating ebooks – we’re talking about creating an inbound culture within your organization and getting everyone, from the top to the bottom, bought in to the process of content creation. It all starts with building your internal culture and developing buy-in.

Workshop On Workshops – Or “WOW”

Last month, Kathleen had the opportunity to participate in The Sales Lion’s WOW event. WOW, in this case, stands for “Workshop on Workshops,” and the purpose of the event was to provide inbound marketing agencies with the skills and tools needed to run world-class inbound marketing workshops.

The event was led by Marcus Sheridan, the Sales Lion himself. Both of us are huge fans of Marcus and avid listeners to the Sales Lion’s two podcasts, The Mad Marketing Podcast, and The Hubcast. If you don’t already, you should listen to these podcasts and make sure to check out The Sales Lion website.

Marcus has always said that the companies that do inbound marketing the best are the ones that have a strong inbound culture and are bought in, top to bottom, and committed to doing their part and creating great content. When we first started Quintain, most of the companies we spoke with came to us because they didn’t have the time to do their own marketing and wanted us to take the ball and run with it. While we are very capable of providing a complete outsourced inbound marketing solution, it is not necessarily the most effective way to implement inbound marketing. A better approach is to involve everyone in the company in content creation. This doesn’t mean they have to write blogs or create ebooks, but it does mean that they have a unique viewpoint and insights into their customers and prospects that no one else has, and that viewpoint needs to be reflected in the company’s content.

Kathleen attended the WOW event with Rich McElaney, Quintain’s Director of Sales. Since returning, they have delivered two workshops – one for a client and one for our internal team. Kathleen asked me for my feedback as a workshop participant and I shared that I really appreciated how they were taught to engage everyone in the room – from the supporters to the detractors. I particularly liked how they identified detractors right away and welcomed them into the group and accepted their attitudes. It was a great way to defuse what could otherwise be a difficult situation and build a feeling of inclusiveness amongst the team.

I think the other really valuable takeaway from the workshop is that everyone needs to be a marketer. In the past, we’ve talked on this podcast about who should lead the content creation process – marketing or sales. Coming out of the WOW event, the message is that while marketing might coordinate the content creation process, the content itself needs to come from everyone. Not just sales – everyone. This includes customer service, accounting and other departments not traditionally considered part of the marketing and sales mix.

When you involve everyone within the organization in the content creation process, you gain several benefits including the ability to create new types of content that can be used both for marketing and other purposes such as recruiting. A great example is something we recently created for ourselves here at Quintain.

#CultureCode

This Spring, we undertook a series of staff brainstorming exercises to define our corporate culture and create a “Culture Code.” Our Culture Code is a kind of manifesto that states what our culture is and explains how it influences our thinking and our actions. It is published in the form of a SlideShare presentation and you can view it online here or check it out below.

The #CultureCode movement was started by SlideShare, which – if you haven’t checked it out yet – is an incredible marketing platform for B2B companies. If you go onto SlideShare and search “#CultureCode” you will find some fantastic examples from big companies like ZapposHubSpot, and Dell, as well as plenty of other small companies like Quintain.

We originally created our culture code as a recruiting tool, but then realized it had the potential to be a fantastic marketing and sales tool. At it’s core, our Culture Code is an expression of our personality as a company. Sharing this with prospects has proven to be a really effective way of ensuring – before a contract is signed – that there is a good cultural fit between our organizations. And when there is a good cultural fit, you experience stronger client relationships and reduced customer churn. Have you ever considered creating your own Culture Code? Do you even know what your company’s culture is? Defining your culture and creating your own Culture Code is a great way to involve everyone in the content creation process.

What Makes Good Content?

One of the things Kathleen learned in the WOW workshop was to ask “what do you think makes good content?” This is a great topic for discussion and inevitably it leads to the conclusion that the best content has some kind of personality or point of view. Even better, it is controversial or funny – or honest to the point of discomfort. For years, Marcus Sherican has advocated that the harder the question, the more important it is that you answer it. This is really apparent when you talk with companies about putting pricing on their website.

We just had this conversation yesterday with a client in the construction materials industry. They took it as a given that they couldn’t put pricing up because none of their competitors do. What is so fascinating is that this is EXACTLY why they should put pricing up – to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Unfortunately, this herd mentality is very common in most industries. “No one else does it, so neither should I.” In fact, when you post your pricing not only do you differentiate yourself and build greater trust with your audience, you also improve the quality of leads that you get from your website because you won’t get calls from prospects who can’t afford what you have to sell. And why would you want to spend your time working leads that will never buy from you?

Honesty, transparency and personality are all important traits of great content. The other important thing to consider is, who will create the content?

Who Creates The Content?

Everyone within your organization is a content creator, but not everyone is a writer. Too often, we assume that all content has to be written. In reality, just as there are many different types of learners, there are also many different types of content creators. Some are writers, while others are great on video or can talk up a storm and therefore make great podcasters. When you try and pigeon-hole someone into creating a type of content that does not come naturally to them, you typically find that production gets hung up and the quality of content is poor. A better approach is to have each person within your organization self-identify the type of content creator that they are and then work with them to create the type of content that plays on their strengths. Not only will you get more and better content out of your staff, you will also find that your audience will respond better to the variety of content formats that you are creating.

One option when it comes to content creation is insourcing (having your staff create the content) and another is outsourcing. If you are going to outsource, you need to find the best writer for your project. We’ve had several debates internally about whether we should use subject matter experts (for example, someone with a medical degree to write for a doctor’s office that we work with) or journalists who are trained to ask the right questions and then package what they learn into an informative article.

I don’t think there is one right answer to this question. In some cases, having a subject matter expert can really help to ensure that highly technical topics are written accurately, but much of the time, having a good journalist, coupled with a great editor, is enough.

How To Break The Content Deadlock

If everyone in your company should be a content creator, then you’ll find yourself having to extract that content from everyone at some point or another – and some people can be very hard to extract content from. There are lots of tools that can make this process easier (recording calls, etc.) and we’ve talked about several of them in prior episodes. Recently, I was talking with one of our Account Managers who was using this strategy to get blog content from one of our clients and she was stressing out because she had so much great recorded material and so little time to transcribe it and turn it into a blog. I recommended that she check out Rev.com, an online transcription service that charges just $1 a minute to turn your recordings into transcriptions that can then be edited. Check it out if you are recording your content and need to get the written version fast. If you use Rev, I’d love to hear your feedback. Leave it in the comments below or Tweet me @Quintain.

Finally, A Favor To Ask…

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