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How to get your content marketing team out of the room

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In the jargon of the news media, an "echo chamber" is a situation where information, beliefs or ideas are reinforced or amplified by communication and communication. repetition within a defined system. When you 're in an echo room, whether you' re aware of it or not, you 're not questioning your sources, and prospects that deviate from the status quo have no way to. get in there.

The edition of the brand is not different, especially when marketers are so focused on the return on investment that we start to rely on the wrong performance data. Which articles on your blog have attracted the most social sharing, brought the longest reading sessions and captured the most leads for your business? Which topics attract the most engagement on blogs and social presences of others?

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You have been told time and time again, by the content marketing industry, that once you see a trend that works, you should replicate it. But if you do this for too many content cycles in a row, then you will never compare the performance of a new idea to that of a new idea.

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And if every content marketer in the world starts doing this using the same data sets, as presented by the same measurement tools and competitive intelligence, then no one else has the opportunity to distinguish oneself as a contrarian voice or a new point of view

That's exactly why we all need to focus on working with people who operate outside our echo chambers. We must seek the advice of bona fide experts, people living in the trenches, inside and outside our organizations.

Request for bursting of our own bubbles

There has been much talk in recent months about the peer-to-peer echo chamber on social media, especially as the industry is trying to make sense of the US election results last November.

This is why additions like FlipFeed (for Twitter) and Escape Your Bubble (for Facebook) have gained so much popularity so quickly. While many of us are content at the time of Trump to stick to what we already believe, others hope that exposure to more diverse voices can help heal fractures.

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It's human nature, after all. We tend to look for information that reinforces the stories we want to hear – regardless of whether a story is helpful or even factual.

When misleading information is introduced into these echo chambers, they are considered credible as long as they confirm the primary narrative. And in the rare cases where better information is introduced to demystify falsehoods, we tend to ignore it or alter it to reinforce our false beliefs.

Marketers are particularly likely to create and wade into our own echo chambers. After all, as a marketer, you use content and social media to amplify what you say about your brand, and the positive things others say about your brand. Noise – brands, brands and brands – is constantly chatting between platforms.

The longer you stay in this bubble, the easier it is to believe that what you see is all that exists.

This is how Marketing Landmark columnist Patrick Armitage framed the number:

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Content marketing experts have become infatuated with their own content marketing genius. We have created a craft industry of meta-content marketing: content marketers writing about content marketing so that other content marketers can read it. Rinse. Repeat.

And while we focus on our own resources, we ignore our customers.

Are you afraid that your content team will be too isolated in their own bubble? Get out of your way to expose yourself to other voices with new points of view.

The magic of the internal experts

Contributions from industry experts play a major role in your ability to create content that resonates. And yes, it can be a challenge to do it well. Identifying, reaching and establishing viable workflows with subject matter experts requires considerable effort. But it's worth it.

Of course, asking these people to contribute will fall completely flat if you do not make the process as simple as possible and if you fail to get your entire business involved in content creation.

If you want to facilitate people's participation, you need frictionless means to get there. Streamline your guidelines to participate. Get rid of cumbersome policies and content submission mechanisms, and give industry experts the freedom to contribute, but it is easier for them to do so.

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Imposing on someone to send you a well-formed blog post is a much bigger query than a three-minute voice recording captured using a free smartphone app like Anchor, or a product d & # 39; A minute captured using a Chrome extension as a loom.

Employee communication applications are also excellent for allowing this kind of open-ended exchange of ideas. With an interface that looks like a social news feed, Smarp, for example, can be set up to display internally-oriented posts organized into categories, so marketers can track the most important topics for content generation. You can also use the platform to start dialogues around content ideas and solicit comments from soldiers in the trenches.

You do not need a complete solution like Smarp to collaborate with your company's experts. Regularly scheduled brainstorming sessions, or even just a Google form, can do the job as well.

Benji Hyam of Grow and Convert recommends a process of exploratory interviews with experts, just to help marketers understand enough the issues at play to formulate article angles, then return to the experts to get their opinion once the drafts are completed.

Do what works best for you. The important thing is to remember that most marketers are somewhat removed from the troubled businesses of our organizations. We are not on sales calls trying to close the deal, or on production trying to fill orders. You are probably, for the most part, isolated from the "real world" that is happening in your business.

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Of course, you can answer some of the questions about customer service and support, because they often happen on social networks, but rather than answering difficult questions from your audience, you probably pass them on SMEs.

In order for your content to really resonate with new prospects and existing customers, you need feedback from customer service staff on areas where users may need more training resources.

You need to hear from the sales team to find out what obstacles and objections prevent people from converting – and where the content does not align with the pain points of audience members . You must understand exactly how your product, fulfillment and success teams are doing what they do, so you can talk about that magic.

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In short, you need a system to maintain a realistic perspective in order to keep your content fresh, diverse and relevant.

Engaging experts from your external network

Despite all its flaws and growing pains, marketing influence is undeniably effective. A study by Nielsen Catalina in 2016 showed that awareness is now more effective than traditional advertising.

In addition, by using influencers to collaborate on your content, you can pop the echo chamber bubble in a jiffy. They will share your story of their point of view not yours, immediately expanding your perspective.

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For brands looking for a more focused approach, micro-influencers are becoming more and more important. The idea here is to find those key people who are true subject matter experts in a niche that you are trying to reach. It's not a question of how famous they are, but how well they are known and respected in the niche where your audience lives.

We are not talking about the influence of the Kardashian level here; it's not what you want when you create targeted niche content. Let me give you an example.

Say I want to get more exposure for my Pinkie-nail-piercing blog (I know – it hurts to think about, but endure with me a minute). I could hire the world's leading expert in body piercing in general to help create content, but that would not give me the hyper-specific content results I need. Instead, I would prefer to hire the absolute expert of the world specifically on pinkie piercing of the nail to create content with me. I am much more likely to get this great targeted laser content if I work with an SME.

Before leaving after an influencer, consider what you are trying to accomplish. Who you target, and with what type of height, will depend on your goals. If your goal is greater awareness or reach, think of bloggers or social media influencers with a good crossover in the relevance of your audience. For customer retention and upsell opportunities, find a micro-influence with your existing customer base.

Once you know why you would like to log in, then you can start watching which you would like to log in. For niche influencers, you can use influential search tools such as Upfluence or BuzzSumo, and then scale them down according to their exposure and audience.

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Source of the image: Upfluence

To find a relevant influencer among your customer base, check your CRM data (Customer Relationship Management), assuming that they are already synced with purchase history and enriched information. on the social footprints of people. This will help you identify clients who are already serving as evangelists of the brand, or at least some candidates who especially promise to become evangelists.

After finding likely influencers, it's time to reach out. You will have to be organized and stay abreast of things as you do. They are busy people, and their time is precious. Your CRM will not be enough to keep track of contacts, follow-ups and results, so if you're doing a lot of awareness, you can try an application like Mailshake to facilitate this process.

Once you've logged in with the right people and you're ready to start creating content, a popular strategy is the "support" of social media, where the guest of your chosen influencer manage one of your social channels for a day.

Invited bloggers, co-hosts of webinars, co-authors of white papers are all great ways to create content that expands your reach. Of course, you'll have to strike the right balance between creative freedom and brand alignment.

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Your influencers will already have an established "voice" that resonates with their audience. Respect and encourage that, because that's a big part of the reason they have influence. You will need to provide advice on how your brand is known and its style, but will not aim for a rigid membership.

Breaking the bubble

The echo chambers are a fact of life. The way most marketing organizations are established almost guarantees a limited point of view and a tendency to empty.

Help your team break through by bringing them to the world of subject matter experts and brand ambassadors who can really influence the creation of relevant content. This is the surefire way to keep your marketing fresh and authentic.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the invited author and not necessarily those of Marketing Land. The authors of the staff are listed here.

About the author

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Ben Jacobson is a marketing strategy consultant based in Tel Aviv. He specializes in content, email, social media, branding and marketing influence. Ben's writing has appeared in publications such as The Next Web, ClickZ, the HubSpot blog, and Orbit Media.