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Content Generation is a Team Sport – Make the Hand-offs Easy

We all know the importance of generating compelling content for social media efforts.  If you’re a B2B marketer, content generation is a major part of your job, whether it is creating or promoting content like blogs, videos, and podcasts.  But knowing that it’s a major part of your job doesn’t mean it’s ONLY your job.

There’s no way you can do it yourself.  Michael Johnson  won gold in both the 200m and 400m at the Atlanta Olympics, and still owns the 400m world record (43.18). But even with those golden spikes, Michael’s time doesn’t come close to the women’s 4x100m world record time (40.82) set by the US at the London Olympics.  To really succeed in content generation, you have to make it a true team sport in your organization.

TrackRelayHandoff 2But, even if you get the right people on your team, you have to make it easy for them to generate content.  Every member of your team will have their “day job,” and content generation can easily take a back seat, no matter how good their intentions. Just like a relay team needs smooth hand-offs between runners to succeed, your content generation team needs an easy way to support the efforts.

In my current role, I’ve started a cross-functional content generation team, and wanted to share my approach for making it easy.  See the short presentation here.

Six Tips for a Smooth  Content Generation Hand-off

Here are the top six tips from my approach.

1.  Align Your Team to the Audience They Know

The main goal of content generation is to provide information that your target audience will find useful.  To make it easy for your team, get them aligned to the audience they know best. Your technical colleagues will be comfortable discussing technical topics, like how to get the most out of your product’s features, or how to address tricky real-world problems. Your customer support team member will find it easy to discuss the top Frequently Asked Questions that he or she hears on a regular basis.

2. Build a Three-Step Template

Not everyone is a natural writer (Part I).  We all know that getting started is often the hardest part of writing.  Make it easy on your team members by creating a template for other teams to follow that will guide them to the compelling content your target audience expects. Give them no more than three steps to follow to pull together the information you know your target audience will devour.

3. Do the Writing Yourself

pen and paperDid I say that not everyone is a natural writer?  I thought I did. Even with a template, your team members may still struggle to get something written. The solution to that problem is staring at you in the mirror. Pick up the pen yourself and interview them. Have your team do the work to gather the information in your templates, the appropriate product dashboards or screen shots.  Then, sit down with them and talk through it. You’ll have to write it, but it will likely be faster than endlessly prompting them to do something that doesn’t come naturally.

4. Set Achievable Goals, then Measure!

Like everything else, having a written target for content generation will help your team focus. Make the goal SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely), get buy-in from yoru team, and then measure attainment.

5. Commit to Fast Edit Cycles

There’s nothing more painful than endless edit cycles when trying to get content out the door. With discipline and focus, you can create a seven-day review cycle.  Delivering fast results will help you motivate your team to keep up their efforts.

6. Share the Recognition

Although we as B2B marketers are responsible for driving the social media and content generation effort, we’ll get a lot more willing participation by sharing the recognition among all of the contributors. Recognition motivates people, especially those who are not natural writers.

Give this approach a try and tell me what you think. And please let me know if you have other ideas for getting a team involved in content generation!

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