Marcus Sheridan embraced content marketing to help build River Pools, his swimming pool company in Warsaw, Virginia. As he expanded the business, he developed a reputation as a content marketer who often wrote and spoke on the subject. "It's all about not having a goal to sound smart, but to simply talk to people," says Sheridan. His approach? If marketers at brands have a problem getting buy-in across departments, start there.

1. They ask, you answer. "Your job is to address every question your customers have with the content that you're making," says Sheridan. "Every great campaign does this. Focus on what they care about."

2. The power of insourcing. "Too often we outsource to people who don't know our business. Even if you hire someone to help with your content, the information should still come from in-house from across the organization. It allows you to have a culture of teachers," says Sheridan.

3. Bias. "Avoid it. Good stories engender trust with the first words," says Sheridan. "How do you do it? You have to figure a way to say you're not the best choice for everybody. Use the principle of disarmament. We're going to discuss the pros and cons. I gave you a reason to put your weapons down and have a conversation. I say I may not be the right guy for you, and they'll try to convince me I am."

Published on: Oct 2, 2014