When a company makes a commitment, it works when a group take on a shared goal.
Content marketing buy in is team driven, not just at a table of a someone who put last years marketing budget on a huge DM campaign and has spent every year happily telling everyone how good they are.
For any initiative to be a success, whilst there has to be the initial agreement from senior level, buy in from across a company becomes the driver for longevity.
Constancy is when others, ‘get it’ first and have a shared sense of responsibility. However, the gradual process, rather than the ‘lets crack on before the end of next week’ has to be where no one ends up in a cul de sac as they ran out of ideas and momentum.
In the business mantra, the bottom up approach is where success sits.
Same Issues, Different Sizes
The issues are the same from both the large corporations to the one man armies:
What is it you actually stand for?
Who is your audience?
What can you say where you’re not contributing to the noise?
What can you say that is inherently ‘you’?
How can you build longevity?
Can you build a rhythm where everyone knows where the alignment is and the message consistent?
I saw it for myself this week, where a huge company has the same issues as the independent business looking to find their way in this world, where becoming audience driven is where future endeavours sit.
Lets look at content marketing buy in.
I was invited to present at the Met Office Digital Academy this week. This is an ongoing initiative devised by Simon Swan, who leads digital strategy and transformation for the Met Office. Have a read of the whole digital transformation approach they are taking onboard in their article on Econsultancy. Also have a read on what Valuable Content have learnt from the Met Office’s approach to change (it’s a great read).
Seeing What The Met Office Are Doing
The Met Office is the UKs weather service and part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. They are a sizeable company, with over 2,000 people.
The Met Office has been in existence since 1854. Simon’s aim is for the company to take on board a content driven approach, where the message they communicate is consistent and above else provide value to their audience. There is a wealth of knowledge and trust within the Met Office from scientists, to analysts, to meteorologists. Simon’s objective is to turn this into a journey where voices are heard and trust is built on a much wider domain than people just searching for the weather forecast.
Simon is making his mark via creating buy-in centred on education around a strategy. His digital academy is used as a way to bring in guest speakers to share the issues, opportunities and challenges within the commercial world and predominantly where marketing and communication is heading. It provides a window for people to see what is happening outside of their own world.
By bringing people together in one space and inviting teams from within the business to participate, this is where Simon is finding his allies and strength.
I asked Simon the importance of this bottom-up approach, to achieve buy-in through an organisation. Simon commented, “There are a number of opportunities from approaching it this way, specifically around getting your team and wider teams buy-in to what you are doing. For example, it is about making those initial small steps transforming your organisation such as social listening, keyword research, interviewing users and, from collecting this data turning this into helpful actionable advice that supports not just your content efforts but also supporting your wider business objectives.”
Simon is seeing first hand the success starting to materialise, “In the Met Office we rely heavily on one another to help build and drive our digital reach ambitions. We differentiate ourselves by creating a new uncontested market around answering the questions of what, why, where, when within the weather sector.”
“To ensure we are providing trusted, authoritative and relevant content, we work across departments. This includes our scientists and meteorologists by asking them to contribute the authority content. We then optimise this for the channels we use to drive our reach and engagement.”
What About You?
From seeing first hand how things are working within the Met Office, for any organisation to see long term success is when people are on board a grand voyage, not an all inclusive week in Portugal.
When you bring people together, you can create something stronger as you start to develop an overall view from within the company. Over time, it begins to create a new routine.
Simon explains from his perspective at the Met Office, finding your allies internally, “No matter what organisation you work in, blue chip, start-up, you need to find people driven by the right attitude, wanting to do the right thing for the organisation. You can hire people with expertise in the more tactical elements but it is the attitude that makes the big difference.”
Here are some things to think about when it comes to buy in from within your company and not just left in isolation with one person, to take onboard the entire content marketing responsibility. These are the must haves for you to think about, that are centred on what I have learnt from the Met Office.
Buy In Cannot Be From One Or Two People
Before anything is implemented, executed and distributed it is integral to get others to understand.
I have seen owners resistant to change. This is because their world, when it comes to marketing, has always been on borrowing space from someone else and making themselves look important in some form of sales collateral. The answer is not in the shape of a brochure that sits in isolation or in a cupboard with four other boxes.
With the Digital Academy at the Met Office, this becomes something to stir a conversation and in itself becomes an ongoing presentation to where a company wants to go and what they want to achieve.
People Get It At An Early Stage
There is not point presenting an editorial calendar when people haven’t bought in.
Before any form of production has started (written, audio, video), there has to be the strategic element to why this is happening. This helps make everything clear. Recognise what it is that truly makes you different such as determining the one word you stand for (you can listen here about how to find it).
Once people understand the role that the initiative plays, it becomes the shift from product to audience and a way that the future behaves where value is created, not just the pursuit for attention. What I have seen with the example from the Met Office is that it needs someone who becomes the focal piece for the group in terms of directing the conversation and keeping everyone else up to date.
Return Is Through Participation
As Simon highlighted, “we rely heavily on one another.” When a company takes on the role of a media company, success is when participation is central to everything. People are in touch with internal groups, customers and the wider community every hour, it is this that helps shape our worlds and the role that we play within them.
According to the recent 2018 B2B Content Marketing Trends from Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, the attributes to success are very much centred on a robust strategy (72%) and deeper thinking content (78%). These both have relevance when there is a strategy at the beginning and a commitment as it builds (see below). Things happen when there is a sense of pride and responsibility for what is being created, as opposed to creating something because everyone else is doing it.
Lets Round Up
A key attribute is to approach with confidence. When a company sits on the fence, they share something that has already been said.
To find your own insights, answer something that has your stamp to it and has the ability to continually validate and provide insight. Have a read of this article that looks at a framework based on fact, experience and opinion.
Once there is a clear reason for doing this ie. to be seen as a trusted industry source, to build audience, to have better customers, it then helps to prioritise and to invest the time to make things happen.
From spending some time with the Met Office I can see the strength in sticking resolutely to what you started.
No one wants any initiative to become a drain on time and resources, but when there is a structure, it becomes attractive to others who will want to participate and to fully come on board for an epic journey.