More and more the focus around communications centers on content. While the platforms for communicating to our stakeholders remain important, having the right content to talk with customers and tell our stories remains one of the main topics of most industry journals.
I started reading Chief Content Officer when it first was published as the growth in online discussions started to rapidly rise. One of my favorite issues was the November 2012 feature on content heroes — three people who are doing unique things to build strategy around content. If you are the least bit interested in content I suggest you read the story (and the magazine).
I’ve written before on my lessons learned and the ways to leverage content, but that didn’t answer the challenge of where to find it and who can help.
Where does content for your organization or clients come from? How do you mine it? Who can help? If you are trying to do this all from within your communications department you are no doubt going to fail. From my experience, if you want to build great content your customers will read then you need to identify content superheroes. And just like in the comics, finding the identities of these heroes is not always easy.
Here are a few ways for you to find the superheroes you need to develop great content all year for your organization.
- Sales staff: Look no further than the people in your organization who are talking with customers daily. If you don’t know the people or teams who are the key components of your business goals and drivers you need to find them. Some people will find you because they want to help and they understand that getting their name around good content will help their sales efforts; others will be harder to find and identify. I would suggest you take them for coffee, connect with them on LinkedIn and use whatever CRM tool your organization leverages. And make sure you are sharing with them not only the content your company is posting, but become a vital industry resource for them. This is going to take time and effort, but in the long run you will quickly build up a team of ultra-content providers. I consciously make an effort every week to connect with someone on our sales team to run ideas by them for blog posts and research.
- News and blog content: Once you have identified some of the key people in your company and you have begun building thought leaders around your business goals, you should continue to look for third-parties who can help shape ideas and thoughts. These superheroes come in the form of bloggers who are deep experts in your product and service offerings or news outlets that report on your industry. For me, Google Reader has become my content headquarters and Twitter lists let me follow a number of content providers by topic.
- Your content team: Don’t underestimate the power of your own team as we all have superhero qualities. Regular editorial meetings to discuss and plan content around news events, conferences and other information will help you shape your strategy and develop new ideas. And if you’ve done your job and connected with your sales team and reviewed third-party sources, you should see your content evolve into richer and more appealing context over time.
If you consider yourself a master of content and knowledge for your organization I hope this post will help you discover new ways to contribute to your powers. With an evolving economic environment and new tools to collaborate with stakeholders, the challenges for communicators may never be greater. Or if you just want to become your own superhero then try the Marvel Superhero Creator.
Good luck in your adventures.