Have you ever looked at all the apps and functions on your phone and thought, "Wow, I'm probably not using this for even half the things it can do"? My phone is like a supercomputer, but aside from email, my go-to messaging and social apps, and tons of pictures of my kids, I don't come close to tapping its full potential.
I've noticed the same thing tends to happen when brands set out to do content marketing. It's easy to think that your content strategy is for your marketing team and your marketing team only. That's its most intuitive application, and marketing is good at using content, so it's easy to fall into the trap of just using it there.
But the truth is that if you're only using content in this one area of your business, then you're not taking full advantage of its capabilities to achieve all the companywide goals it can help you achieve.
Making the Most of Content
Of course, your marketing team should act as the content hub of your entire company. It's responsible for creating an effective, consistent content strategy; for using the right content tools to produce and distribute content; and for tracking its performance. Marketing has its own set of unique goals that content can help it achieve.
This team is at the center of all the action because it's better able than any other team to do content well -- but not because it's the only one that needs to use it. Content can be employed as a tool across your company to accomplish various department-specific objectives. If you want to be prepared to take advantage of this year's content marketing trends and truly make the most of your investment in content, then you've got to use content in each of these departments, too:
Not surprisingly, your sales team can benefit enormously from utilizing content. Both sales and marketing are working toward the same overall goal: generating revenue and creating opportunity for your company. Therefore, the content that marketing produces should be a natural fit for sales to use to accomplish their shared objectives.
No one likes to be sold to or even feel a little bit like they're being sold to. We all want to feel connected to actual humans and have genuine conversations, and content enables this approach.
For example, your sales team can use content to touch base with leads instead of sending off another "Just following up" email that we all hate to receive (and send, to be honest). Use content for social selling initiatives and to start conversations with accounts your sales team has had their eyes on. Content is a great way to build trust, so your sales team should use it whenever possible to connect with your audience in a helpful way.
2. Leadership Team
Too many smart, driven leaders doing amazing things with their companies don't realize that they can use content to share their ideas and build relationships with the people who care most about their missions.
Thought leadership content that's bylined by internal experts and members of a leadership team turns otherwise faceless businesses into brands that audiences trust and relate to. That's because, as my co-founder would say, "Companies don't have ideas. People do." When your leadership team works with marketing to create and use that kind of content, it makes a huge, positive difference in the way your brand connects to its audience. Not only is this attractive to potential customers, but it also helps enhance customer loyalty, increase partnership opportunities, and improve investor relations.
3. Human Resources
Every company wants to attract top talent, but actually doing so is easier said than done. To help position your company as an irresistible place to work, create content about your company and beliefs, and empower HR to use it to attract qualified candidates.
As an example, you might give job seekers an inside look at your business practices by producing content about your organizational leadership, values, people, and policies. After getting applicants in the door, your HR team can vet them during the interview process with industry-related and company-specific content. When you find the ideal individuals for your position openings, you can even rely on content to train employees.
4. Account Management and Customer Service
How many times a day do your customer service reps or account managers answer the same questions? Although this might seem like just another part of the client service job, it doesn't have to be one that takes up a lot of time. Your client-facing teams can use content to quickly answer questions and maximize productivity.
You can even kick your content up a notch in this department, using it to upsell and cross-sell your customers. The key is to stay attuned for chances to lean on your content to make all your processes less arduous and more practical -- and profitable.
Instead of limiting content to one area of your company, turn it into a tool that works to improve all your departments. You may just discover that content is the catalyst that will take your game to the next level. All it takes is a willingness to think outside the marketing box.