As corporate marketing teams grow with success, there’s a tendency to delegate time-consuming kinds of work—like marketing content creation—to newer, less managerial employees.
For instance, one of Weidert Group’s most successful clients—a leading financial services company—initially started a business blog when they were just two employees strong. Back then, it was just the founder and his consultant to promote the company. But even just blogging once a week, they experienced a flood of new leads.
Within just a few years, what was a small start-up had grown into a formidable blogging success story. The company’s president has since hired a 3-person marketing team and has a host of support staff that handles new business.
As you can guess, with so much business growth, the president isn’t blogging very much. Instead, as with most growing businesses, marketing tasks have been delegated to somebody with more time on their hands—marketing managers like me.
But Is Leaving All Content Creation to the Specialists a Good Idea?
There’s a lot that says it’s not. Executive leaders are often the most likely people to be heavy-lifting influencers in your industry. They have the most experience, the largest networks, and—because they head their own company—they have the most sway. In other words, they’re the perfect person to be writing something with a byline.
If your executives have fallen out of your content marketing plan, then you’re probably not gaining the kind of hype you might be able to.
Take Weidert Group for example. Our President, Greg Linnemanstons, is now a 4-year veteran of inbound marketing—with somewhere around 100 years of experience in corporate marketing before that (okay, it’s really more like 20). Compared to one of our younger staff, some of whom are right out of college (e.g. me), his following on social media is ginormous.
So, consider the value of having Greg’s recognizable name writing a blog post versus mine. Depending on the topic, either might attract plenty of visitors. However, the baseline potential for Greg’s to cause leads and prospects to take notice is much higher because they know the kind of thinker he is.
You Should Always Keep Leaders Involved in Your Content Marketing
The same goes for larger corporations. The people in your C-suite are often influencers in the industry and strategic thinkers with loads to say about what customers are looking for. They’re experienced, well attuned to the field, and highly knowledgeable. For these reasons, it’s a marketing manager’s DUTY to keep executives integrated with your content marketing efforts (and blogging, more specifically).
My experience working with all the top dogs at Weidert Group has led me to discover several tactics that I think are very valuable to any marketer managing a regular content marketing calendar. Especially for companies who include staff participants from across departments and specialties, these four strategies can be highly valuable for encouraging important contributors to hit deadlines.
So, here’s the list. Now, a bit of warning, don’t actually start “playing games” with your staff. Nobody likes a passive aggressive a**hole. But if you infuse a little bit of fun and competition into your team, you can generate a lot of action, as well as excitement for your marketing initiatives.
1. Play to the Chief’s Ego
So, not every executive leader cares about his publishing record, but if your head honcho is like the ones I deal with, then she’s probably a competitive, strategic thinker who wants her name out there. Sure, a blog might take them 3-4 hours to write. But, if they value it, they’ll find the time.
In order to make them notice how not blogging could cause a slump in their reputation, I remind them of how long it’s been since their last post, and I casually bring up a competitor leader who recently published to great acclaim. There’s nothing like telling a senior consultant here at Weidert Group that another inbound marketing agency’s blog post just blew up and went viral. It’s the kind of thing that makes a leader move fast and get others motivated along the way.
2. Make Yourself the Content Creation Martyr
Another game we’ve played at Weidert Group is having a dedicated marketer play clean up for every missed deadline. Whether it’s one of the management team who missed the deadline or somebody else, making yourself the martyr makes people feel obligated to pay you back.
If people know ahead of time that the consequence for not hitting a deadline is that one of their coworkers has to make up the article for them, then it becomes harder and harder for them to make the mistake of missing.
On a blog full of collaborators, it’s odd and uncomfortable for the staff to see that one person has blogged the last three days in a row. So, it’s an effective motivator to have in place. I recommend having a set content martyr that will even skip lunch to make up somebody’s missed blog deadline. Then, whenever deadlines begin being missed again, you’ll have an automatic reaction in place.
3. Pit CEO vs. Associate
For the busiest leaders on your content team whose reliability is often in question, I’d recommend making it a competition from the get-go. Pit your executives against less experienced associates to see who can meet their deadline.
Most often this tactic is a fun way of making sure deadlines are hit, but be warned: sometimes this gives the more senior of the competitors an opportunity to have a cop out on his/her blog. It’s important to remember that no matter what the result, your goal should be to keep leaders included because their voice is important and influential.
4. Encourage Leaders to Be Motivators
This game is really for your whole team. When content quality is lacking and maybe their marketing approach isn’t as targeted as it should be, you can always use senior leaders as motivating allies to help content planning get to a new level.
I try to ensure that I have at least one leader in our content planning meetings to help motivate younger associates to think more outside the box. Managers most often get to where they are because of their strategic mindset, and most are perfectly comfortable pointing weaknesses in a content team.
By getting a member of your management team in the room, they will see holes that only experience can fill in a content marketing effort, and they’ll want to be included. At Weidert Group, we’ve had whole blog series created out of the frustration leaders tend to see when content planning goes on without them, so don’t hesitate to get them involved early!