Content marketers sometimes feel like they're on an island. Maybe they’re a one-woman band singlehandedly helming a dozen social networks. Or maybe they’re swaddled in noise-canceling headphones, cranking out an e-book in silence. Whatever the case, it’s all too easy for us to limit our output — and creativity — because we struggle to collaborate with team members, co-workers from other departments, freelancers, the press, or all of the above.
That’s why, when Boston Content needed a topic for its Q2 event, “collaboration” was an obvious choice. Everyone knows that the best content marketers not only maximize their individual production, but amplify it with help from any number of additional sources. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
The event, “How to Collaborate Better as a Marketer,” was designed to help content marketers take this general advice — play well with others! — and break it down into actionable takeaways.
Here’s what we learned:
The Best Tools & Strategy for Content Collaboration
Although this discussion touched on a lot of specific tools — Evernote, Slack, Breeze and Canva, just to name a few — the real meat of the conversation centered around tactics for getting the most from whatever tool(s) you use.
Here are some of the best:
- Get buy-in from everyone involved as early as possible.
- Stay up to speed with product updates to make sure you’re using the tool as effectively and efficiently as possible.
- Create a system for feedback.
- When possible, keep communication targeted and limited to exactly the right audience. For example, create a project-specific channel in Slack.
- Use frequent, brief in-person meetings to reinforce digital communications.
How to Make Everyone Love Working With You
Outsourcing content creation is a great way to boost authority and reach. Insourcing is an ideal way to maximize output and easily get different voices on your site. But both of these tactics require a keen sense of getting people excited about working with you. So how do you manage these relationships to get what you need and keep people on your team?
Beware of scope creep
It’s natural to want to keep getting more and better production out of the people you’re working with, but it’s best to balance this with realistic and clearly defined expectations. Keep a close pulse of those you’re working with to ensure you’re not demanding too much from them.
Invest time in the setup
It’s easy to want to go from zero to 60 as quickly as possible. But the truth is that the time you invest into onboarding and enabling collaborators is time you will ultimately save by making these relationships as autonomous and self-sustaining as possible.
Bake company-wide collaboration into your culture
Getting your co-workers from other departments to contribute to content creation is critical, but it’s far from easy if you’re fighting this battle on your own. Secure buy-in from upper management to help give these projects credibility. Invest time in celebrating the wins that emerge from these internal collaborations to help get more people to volunteer their time in the future.
From Owned to Earned: How to Get Your Content Picked Up
Creating top-notch content isn’t always enough — you also need to collaborate with the press and other third parties to expand your reach and hit a new audience. This starts with high-quality, relevant content, but it ends with meaningful collaborations with the right people outside of your company.
Here are some tips to develop and nurture those connections:
Work toward the common goal
It may not always be obvious, but marketers and journalists have the same goal: Delivering great content to their audience. Make sure this undergirds every story you pitch and you will have much better luck creating lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the press.
Use social to your advantage
The days of reporters and marketers hashing out stories over booze-filled lunches are over. These days it’s all about shrewdly using social networks to build relationships with the right people. Follow influencers, engage outlets and generally do anything you can to insert yourself — and your brand — into the larger conversation.
Hone your pitch
Inserting yourself into the conversation is a great start, but it will only get you so far. The rest of the work is the blood, sweat and tears you put into making your pitch as compelling as possible. You can’t scrimp here: Craft the perfect headline, do your research and, most importantly, take the time to make the story as publication-specific and audience-tailored as possible.