How to create a content culture in your company

To succeed at content, you don’t just need investment, you need involvement. And that means turning production into a company-wide preoccupation. Here’s how to get everyone involved...

 How to create a content culture in your company

These days, content isn’t a fluffy, creative nice-to-have; it’s an essential part of the marketing machine. It’s been a key area of focus for many marketers over the last 12 months, and will continue to dominate strategies into 2015 and beyond.

In fact, according to recent research from the Content Marketing Institute, 64% of UK marketers are planning on increasing their investment in content marketing in 2015.

But to truly succeed at content production – and content marketing – you don’t just need investment, you need involvement. And that means turning production into a company-wide preoccupation, where anyone and everyone can contribute.

If you think that sounds like a pipe dream in your company, don’t worry. Our short booklet, 40 clever ways to build your business case for content, will help you overcome the hurdles in your way. As the title suggests, it’s stuffed full of actionable tips to help you win buy-in for your content and advocates to help you produce it.

Get your free copy here, or take a look at these 10 top tips to start creating a content culture right now:

1.    Show your colleagues how good content will raise their profile

Good, shareable content can really get you seen. And for senior management, that might mean being able to stand among industry peers enjoying their evident jealousy. Take a tip from one of our clients and circulate a weekly ‘boast post’ to keep everyone up to speed on your company’s latest content successes.

2.    Develop formats to feed your content machine

Efficient editorial processes save money. The #1 way to get better-quality content out of contributors, and faster, is to provide strict editorial formats. It’s how all newspapers hit their deadlines. You can build in usability, seo, ideal word counts... the lot. Get some formats set up for 2015 and circulate them among your team. When you show people how easy they are to use, you’ll be sure to get their support. Frankly, the FD should be persuading you to develop formats!

3.    Teach others to get their support

The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching,’ said Aristotle. Have you harnessed your own power to teach your colleagues what you know about content?

At Sticky we see sharing knowledge as the single most effective way to build a culture for content in an organisation. Lately, we’ve also seen a significant rise in the number of clients asking for workshops and stakeholder engagement sessions. Once you’ve got your content basics, try running a few sessions to win support. Here are a few topic ideas to get you started:

  • How to elevate your brand through content marketing
  • What makes a good call to action?
  • What content are we really good at?
  • How do we make our content shareable?
  • The 5 Ss of effective content marketing 
  • Measuring content effectiveness
  • Whose job is content?
  • Building a content team
  • Who are our content competitors?
  • Defining our content brand

4.    Look into the future

Get in your time machine. If your senior managers like big ideas, show them what the company could be producing 5 years down the line – if they invest some time and effort now. Build up a vivid picture of a content-producing machine that’s creating high-quality content and getting kudos for it.

5.    Mock it up to lock it up

You might not realise it, but there could be a language barrier between you and your senior management. You say ‘copy optimisation’, they think ‘new photocopier’. So instead of using terms they might not understand, mock up what you mean and show them. Repeatable formats, scannable pages and links that tell the user where they’re going are more usable. And when someone sees them on their page – thanks to your free trial of Photoshop maybe? – they’re more likely to get it.

6.    Create some content for the cool kids

Part of the content strategist’s role is to be an evangelist. If you do this, word will slowly work its way up the company food chain. Start by actively spreading exciting gossip about the groundbreaking content shake-ups you’re doing, and watch the water cooler do its work.

Find a place (intranet, email newsletter, noticeboard) to share any metric that inspires better content. Coca-Cola’s 20:20 vision invites employees to take some risks with content. This doesn’t mean potential lawsuit-type risks of course, just pushing the boundaries of your ideas. Share a few unusual ones with your colleagues to generate excitement about your content. Could a little bit of risk net you some big rewards?

7.    Encourage competition among your contributors

Charts can also be used to encourage competition among your contributors. There’s nothing like seeing a colleague’s blog post top an internal chart for traffic scores to spur reluctant writers into action. Everyone wants the recognition that comes with being top of the class. 

According to Tom Rath, whose book StrengthsFinder 2.0 was ranked Amazon’s #1 global best seller in business planning: ‘Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They're just more engaged at work.’

8.    Seek out your content influencers

A great way to get a big organisation into content is to seek out its content influencers. Somewhere in that crowded canteen are people who blog, tweet, pin and post – but not necessarily about work. It’s not uncommon to discover that a colleague who has never contributed to corporate content marketing has thousands of subscribers to their tropical fish breeding hobbyist site. 

These people are gold dust. Whoever they are, whatever they do, they have ideas, skills and knowledge to share. Find them, get them on side and persuade them to act as internal content advocates.

9.    Can’t create? Retweet

There will always be people reluctant to get involved with content marketing – either due to a lack of confidence (‘I’m not creative’) or because they anticipate it’ll be a big chore (‘I’m too busy for this’). 

At Sticky, we believe the best content strategies are inclusive and inspire people organisation-wide to participate. It may be unrealistic to expect everyone to create content, but they can certainly contribute ideas and amplify content through forwarding, following, sharing and commenting.

10.  Do a bit of recycling

So there’s something the senior managers hark back to from yesteryear? Maybe it’s a customer magazine or an obsolete in-box user guide. Whatever it is, dust it down, digitise it and let it live again online. It’s an easy way to create new content and won’t require any extra effort from the original author – but they’ll love you for it if gets them an extra pat on the back from the ceo. Double points for politics AND parsimony.