Editor’s note: This week, we’re giving everyone a taste of Content Marketing World 2022 by featuring recaps of articles filled with insights from this year’s speakers.
“Teamwork makes the dream work.”
I recently learned that sentence is only the first part of the quote.
In the book where he coined the phrase, John C. Maxwell wrote: “Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.”
I would add a complementary thought: A great team never gets out of the nightmare when the leaders haven’t communicated a big dream.
So how do content marketers work together to achieve a vision and avoid the nightmare? We pulled 10 of the ideas shared from the experts presenting at Content Marketing World.
1. Make it OK to fail
Create a culture where thinking creatively is encouraged. Give people the freedom to have bad ideas and even fail from time to time. Because for each bad idea, there also will be a gem. And ultimately, content made by creators who feel free and love what they do will be more resonant. – Chris Blose, founder, Chris Blose Content
2. Understand your team like you do your audience
It’s a mistake not to deeply understand the individuals on their team. As marketers, we spend a lot of time learning about our audience – building personas, finding out what motivates them, and understanding what makes them tick – all so we can create better content for them.
Why wouldn’t we do the same thing with our teams – deeply understand them so we can manage them more effectively and support them in doing their best work? – Monica Norton, head of content marketing, Yelp
Understand the individuals on your team as well as you understand your audience, says @monicalnorton via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet
3. Create a conducive culture
I see leaders often blaming marketers for bad content. If you don’t make it safe, fun, and part of the culture to fail, have fun, learn, and grow, your team won’t. Stop blaming marketers for crappy culture. If your culture sucks, so will marketing. – Kathy Klotz-Guest, founder, Keeping it Human
4. Don’t make one role do everything
I’ve seen so many content marketing job descriptions that are wildly unrealistic. Unless you’re a small company, it’s a mistake to expect any one content marketer to “do it all,” especially if the scope of content marketing and expectations for its impact is bigger than the scope of your resources.
Stop spreading your peanut butter too thin – it’s a recipe for burnout. Instead: 1. Increase the size of the team and allow individuals to focus on the work they love/are best at (with the opportunity to learn and try new things). 2. Stop doing all the things and do fewer things better. Like Drew Davis asked in his 2021 Content Marketing World keynote, “What if we spend our creative energy wisely on one outcome?” – Carmen Hill, principal strategist and writer, Chill Content
It’s a mistake to expect any one content marketer to do it all, says @carmenhill via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet
5. Integrate into the big picture
One big mistake that some organizations still make is not integrating the content marketing team’s efforts with those of the larger marketing department.
At best, this can result in the appearance that one group is unaware of the other’s activities. At worst, it can cost the opportunity to amplify messaging and ensure consistency. – Nancy Harhut, CCO, HBT Marketing
6. Establish and share standards
It’s incredibly important to provide brand standards to your content marketing team. Each brand has its own point of view, voice, and do’s and don’ts. Make sure your content marketing team is intimately familiar with these brand standards to ensure your content looks and feels and sounds like your brand. – Brittany Graff, senior director of marketing, Painting with a Twist
7. Write it down
Too often, what we do is keep our strategy and plans in our heads, not duly noted and documented. It makes it very hard to share the plan with anyone else or for them to jump in when nothing is documented. – Meg Coffey, managing director, Coffey & Tea
8. Assure quality
As I’ve said, project management is not a nice-to-have for any project. It is critical for its success regarding scope, budget, and timing. When it comes to creative projects, project management is crucial to managing meetings, reviews, assets, and expectations. Project management should never be an afterthought. – Michael Weiss, vice president of consulting services and solutions, Creative Circle
Project management is critical for success of any creative project, says @mikepweiss via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet
9. Give the necessary tools
Mistake 1. A failure to understand the full process of developing/creating content and trying to micromanage each person and their responsibilities.
Mistake 2. Not giving your team the resources they need to be successful or the latitude to try and test new ideas. – Michael Bordieri, senior content solutions consultant, LinkedIn
10. Don’t stop at publishing
One mistake would be failing to promote the content once it’s created. Public relations professionals are great at both creating content and promoting it, which is why I believe you shouldn’t silo off these two teams – they should be working together. Also, don’t overlook the role the social media team plays in this process. – Michelle Garrett, consultant, Garrett Public Relations
Dream big and execute well
For your content marketing team to make your brand’s dream work, you must strike a balance – valuing the individual while working collaboratively on the mission. Accomplishing that requires ensuring they have a solid foundation, the tools to execute it, and the knowledge that their leaders support them in the mission.
All that will help you and your team members rest a little easier.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute