Coming from a literature background, my first instinct is poke around the internet, read blogs, studies, white papers about the topic at hand, and start writing. Which is well and good… until my content doesn’t hit with my intended audience.
Content marketing can not be siloed to one content manager feverishly writing and posting articles with no input from the rest of the team. In fact, the role of a content marketer needs to be integrated with every other team in the company. Here, I’ll explore why it’s important, and how to optimize your connection with each department.
You wouldn’t have your job without executive buy-in to content marketing. At the end of the day, however, your content strategy needs to align with the C-suite’s vision for the company, the brand, and the future.
Find out what they hope your content will communicate to the world. How do they want to relay the company story and product value proposition? What have they found challenging in communicate the product up until now?
Further, do they want the story about the product itself or to focus on the high-growth story? Do they want to become CEO thought leaders or do they prefer to remain under the radar?
In a startup, the executive team has likely done it all — sales, marketing, PR, branding, managing an agency — so they’re the go-to source for the high-level vision and the on-the-ground tactics they used before you were brought on.
The Sales Team
Sales is a font of information and a driver of your content topics and media, which are really intended to generate leads. (It’s also about reducing churn, which we’ll address when we talk about the Product and Customer Service Teams.)
If you’re funneling sales ineffective prospects that won’t buy, you’re not doing your job — understanding your target audience. Sit in on demos and get the lowdown on why customers are really buying. It may not be for the reason you think they are…
The Sales Team will also give you your buyer personas — which you should build out before you start writing a word — by describing the people they talk to and the commonalities between prospects likely to buy. They’ll tell you the frustration and pain points they hear from potential sales, how they explain the product to the everyman, and the things every buyer says before conversion.
So they’ve helped you — here’s how you can help them. Send the Sales team updated content regularly, especially when you’ve written a piece that addresses a sales stuck point or objection they’ve heard. Content can also be a way for Sales to reconnect with a prospect that’s biting but hasn’t converted or one they’re pulling from the archives. Sending content is low-effort, non-invasive, and can have a high ROI.
The Product Team
While you may go through a compulsory product training when starting, it’s crucial to stay in close contact with your product manager. First, they’ll be putting out product content, whether that be onboarding emails, training materials, FAQs, or tips. As content manager, you’ll want to ensure the material they’re sending goes through you so it’s on brand, in the right tone and voice,… and because anyone can make spelling/grammar errors that takes your company down a few pegs of professionality.
Your Product Manager is the conduit between the customers and the engineering team, at the perfect intersection of customer pain point expertise and how to build and utilize the product specifically for those issues. Product will add to your editorial calendar with blog, customer email, and video topics from new feature buzz to tips and tricks. They’ll also translate engineering speak to laymen’s terms, and can help with your company’s thought leadership by starting an engineering blog.
The Customer Service/Success Team
The Customer Service/Success Team is on the front lines every day. (Customer Success is sometimes a different, more proactive department, but for the purposes of this piece I’ll combine them.) Team members talk to happy customers who need a little help, confused customers who need guidance, angry customers who need immediate solutions and/or tech help.
Customer Service is a gold mine of content ideas, whether it be common customer questions that you can answer in a blog or eBook, a place where people get stuck in the product, or a content topic to address asap because their phones are ringing off the hook with customers asking the same question. They can also source particularly happy customers to be case studies, guest bloggers, brand ambassadors, or sit down for a written or video Q & A with you.
Share content regularly with the Customer Service Team; it can save them time by proactively answering broader, educational questions in a mass email. They can also personalize their emails by adding links to articles related to the customer issue.
The HR Team
Let’s face it: SaaS recruiting is all about the coolness factor — whether that be gorgeous workspace, work-from-home days, beer on tap in the office, unlimited PTO, growth possibilities and so on. And, while your content shouldn’t be all your company and product, all the time, there’s a time and place to highlight your workplace as a company culture thought leader and amazing place to work.
Talk to HR about how they’d like to position guest placements and content that highlights your company. Your Director of People guest can blog for you (if you’re a B2B company) about how they build a positive culture and successfully scale a company without losing innovation and camaraderie.
Work together on awards and PR — it will give you something to share on the blog and social media, and you’ll get to maintain the brand voice and tone through all public-facing content. Share recruiting events on social media and to your media sources, while also helping jazz up any internal documentation.
I’ve said a lot, but here are some easy places to start:
- Send out a weekly email with relevant content.
- Ensure content goes through you as ‘brand manager.’
- Ask all employees to follow your company on social media and share your content.
- Add a ‘Subscribe to our blog!’ or ‘Check out our latest articles!’ link to all email signatures.
It’s tempting to put your head down, headphones on, and start writing, but content marketing is far more than blogs and social media. It’s often the first touch prospects have with your product, and can be the resource they need if they’re thinking of churning. Connect with every team and you connect with the customer along each stage of the buyer’s journey. Your writing will be purposeful, effective, strategic… and that’s good content marketing.
by Aylin Cook
Aylin Cook made the transition from journalism to SaaS content marketing eight years ago… and never looked back. She’s currently the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at PatientPop, a rapid growth startup which created the first all-in-one practice growth platform designed for health care providers. When not directing the content initiatives, she voraciously reads, listens to podcasts, enjoys running, exploring L.A., and searching for the perfect burrito.