Fact: marketing departments generally feel underappreciated within companies.
Fact: content marketing is one of the biggest marketing trends this decade.
Content marketing is a great way to gather information about your customers – their likes, dislikes, preferences, etc. – but why should you confine that information to your team, when the rest of your company could be harnessing this data as well?
Marketing departments should be content marketing themselves within their own organisations. Within most companies, especially the larger ones, inter-departmental communication is difficult. We previously looked at consistency, honesty and value as the three pillars of great content marketing and we think they’re just as relevant internally as they are externally.
1. With no internal consistency, it will be difficult to always put a solid message across to consumers.
2. Without total honesty between departments, you may inadvertently end up bending the truth and setting the wrong expectations.
3. Providing value to your customers, whether that’s through your products, services or content, has to be the underlying goal for any business.
Customers can’t judge you based on just one aspect of your business, such as your marketing. They see everything your company does as one combined force. Sharing information within your business in a way that is relevant and useful when communicating to an internal audience is vital. If content can make you popular with your customers, why can’t it do the same with your colleagues?
So how do we get all departments singing from the same hymn sheet? The problem is the solution in this case.
People tend to underestimate all the valuable information knocking about within marketing departments. Unfortunately, there are often a limited number of people with the right analytical skillset within marketing teams to produce the kind of reports that would be immediately relevant to another department. But what if the content is the intelligence?
If content can make you popular with your customers, why can’t it do the same with your colleagues? - Highlight to share -
Just as it forms the basis of content curation and creation, customer intelligence should be the first port of call for most internal decisions. It doesn’t matter how smart or creative you are, if you haven’t been listening to your current customers then you really are missing a trick.
The first hurdle is getting people interested. Customer reviews are an extremely effective way to get the whole business involved in content. We all know the benefits of having user generated content displayed on your website, but not enough businesses understand its wider value. What customers write about your products and services is relevant to every single individual in your company, and if we go back to our three pillars of content marketing, we see that they really do apply here:
What customers write about your products and services is relevant to every single individual in your company. - Highlight to share -
Every customer is proactively asked to share their opinion about both products and services, and separately so that you get structured data right away.
If an independent third party is providing the ratings and reviews service, there is no cherry-picking or hiding from negative comments (as well as there being no fake reviews – if of course done the right way!)
The content that people contribute adds value. Reviews fall into the informative and/or funny categories, whether useful, heartfelt, detailed, or just purely entertaining.
Sharing this type of information in the right way with the right people is a big step toward building a sense of community around your brand internally, which will provide the perfect base for nurturing and growing your community externally.
Once you’ve got started, it should be a lot easier to distribute all types of content to the rest of the business, whether that’s in the form of reviews, blogs or longer form content. This should then encourage more of your colleagues to share and even to contribute to it – making what you share with consumers even more relevant to them and the market as a whole. HubSpot has put together this great guide with 7 ways to encourage non-marketing employees to blog.
By using content marketing as an internal tool, you’ll hopefully notice the brand vision spreading across your business. Better sharing of data will also mean that products and services are more adapted to your customers’ needs. Once you’ve used the content to build that relationship, there’s so much more that you can do…