Work Together, Not Apart: A Bird’s Eye View of Content Marketing Collaboration

One of the hardest things about being a parent to small children is the music you’re forced to endure. I know all the words to “Let It Go,” a song that rivals “Hey Jude” in length. I’ve heard “Mary Had a Little Lamb” played on the recorder so many times that it’s almost starting to sound good to me.

Perhaps most egregious is the fact that I sometimes forget to turn off my daughter’s “Preschool Favorites” CD after I drop her off at daycare. One such morning as I hummed along to “Make New Friends (But Keep the Old)” I got to thinking about all of the ways content marketing involves relying on friends new and old. (Bear with me here.)

birds-on-a-wire

Effective content marketing requires collaboration across all functions (search, social, content, PR, etc.). Leveraging relationships across departments not only brings multiple minds (and distinct skill sets) to the table, but it also elevates content development, quality, and execution. If everyone has a stake in the task at hand, each individual is doing his or her part to make the initiative a success.

To illustrate this philosophy at work, let’s take a look at a few recent examples of the KoMarketing team collaborating both internally and externally:

Internal Collaboration

Third-Party Content Development

In recent months, our team has been increasingly focusing on third-party content development on behalf of our clients. Why? There are many reasons but foremost among them is building brand awareness, driving exposure and website traffic, creating connections with well-known, authoritative industry sites and publications, and so on.

To this end, we’ve identified guest blogging goals and tactical initiatives specific to each individual client and are executing these strategies on a monthly basis.

For our team, this type of work requires an “all hands on deck” approach to successfully place content on relevant industry sites. Our SEO team might, for example, identify prospects and send out initial outreach, but our content and social teams also have a hand in the process by creating and promoting content specific to each third-party site’s audience and relevant social channels.

This month, we’ve taken this initiative one step further by attending ProMat, the largest supply chain expo in North America, on behalf of our clients in the manufacturing space. By making in-person connections with manufacturers, distributors, and industry publications during the show, our hope is to unlock additional third-party opportunities down the road.

It isn’t just one individual out on the show floor; there’s a whole team of us pitching in to interview targeted manufacturers and develop a series of curated content assets we’ll then use to drive traffic and exposure to client sites.

Content Marketing & Social Media Coordination

We’ve all heard the phrase “Content is the fuel that feeds social media’s fire.” Of course, this isn’t a new concept; the relationship between content marketing and social media has long been discussed and written about in the world of online marketing.

It bears repeating, however, that the unique relationship between content and social can be leveraged to drive key social influencers to a specific landing page. For one client in particular who recently launched a new e-commerce website, we’ve started creating a series of blog posts specifically designed to improve visibility of the new site in search results.

How have our content and social teams collaborated to execute on this strategy? It all boils down to identifying the right influencers (industry experts/leaders in the space, renowned publications, academic researchers, etc.) and creating content with these audiences in mind.

Whether it’s curated content assets referencing key influencers or list-type posts highlighting features of the new site (that would be relevant to the target audience), the collaboration between content and social is fundamental to both the strategy and the end result.

content-collaboration

External Collaboration

Relationship Building

Last week, during a branding session, a client’s vice president of sales pitched the idea of developing a relationship with a well-known publication in his industry. His reasoning was sound: Since the site puts out a quarterly magazine, weekly newsletter, and blog, getting an article placed on the site would expose the client to hundreds of other companies in the space while, at the same time, allowing them to make professional connections within this particular business community.

Aside from the obvious excitement about getting our client some additional visibility, it was also encouraging for our team to hear that the site was a priority because we’d already established a connection with this particular trade publication. We knew that, having previously worked with the site to get third party-content placed on behalf of a different client (in the same sector), we would be able to leverage the relationship to build another connection.

The end result? A deepened relationship with the publication and exposure for both clients with a membership base of hundreds of organizations in the industry.

Successful content collaboration doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be limited to just interdepartmental efforts. As in the example above, collaborating outside the organization can help to expand a client’s publisher network while fostering relationships that can help grow a site’s audience over the long term.

Thought Leadership

As a content writer, it’s critical to develop a solid understanding of whatever it is you’re writing about (cue Captain Obvious). What I mean by this is you need to develop a firm grasp of your clients’ markets and buyer personas in order to create content tailored to their specific audience.

In the B2B space, however, subject matter can sometimes be pretty obscure (especially to those of us coming from a writing/marketing/PR, etc. background).

This is where a different kind of content collaboration comes into play. One of the best ways to develop an understanding of your clients’ industries is to just ask! Whether you have them fill out a client discovery or editorial questionnaire or simply hop on the phone to pick their brain about their business/site/competitive advantage, etc., don’t be afraid to use your client as a resource! In fact, they may be one of the best resources you have.

For one of our newer clients looking to officially launch their blog within the next few weeks, our team has been collaborating heavily with their team to determine keyword targets, blog topics, editorial scheduling, and so on. To hear directly from their subject matter experts about trends, challenges, innovations, and solutions offerings in their industry, we’ve been running a series of content interviews that we’ll later use to build out content.

The benefits of this type of collaboration are two-fold: 1) Our team has the opportunity to hear their perspective, which ultimately helps us write authoritative content, and 2) Their team has the opportunity to hear more about the search, content, and social initiatives we’re working on – and why they’re important.

Final Thoughts

As the song goes (believe me, I know it by heart), “make new friends but keep the old.” In the world of content marketing, this mantra can (and should) be put into practice to drive successful content collaboration across all functions and department (internal and external).

After all, as stated in a Search Engine Watch article on complementary marketing, “The more we work together to increase the value of one another, the more everyone wins.”

How has your organization worked to drive effective content collaboration on behalf of clients?

©iStockphoto.com/Hannerjo; Robert Churchill

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