Why Team Alignment is Vital to Your Content Marketing Plan
More and more companies are coming to the realization that content marketing is one of the best tools they have in their marketing arsenal. When CEO, Marketing Director, and the marketing team all understand the importance of content marketing, they can all take steps to ensure the success of the company’s marketing efforts. However, in order to ensure the success of your time and effort, you need to make sure of one thing: That your team is truly aligned.
But you work together and you’re all committed to incorporating content marketing as one of your main marketing strategies. Doesn’t that mean you’re in alignment? Not necessarily.
If you suspect your team may not be as in sync as you would like, what can you do about it?
Why Team Alignment Is a Vital Component to the Success of Your Content Marketing Plan
Having a team of unique individuals with their own interesting ideas for marketing topics, angles, and campaigns is a gift. When great minds come together, great things can happen. That is, of course, until misunderstandings, frustration, and hurt feelings get in the way. And what’s one of the main causes of misunderstandings and frustration? It’s misalignment.
Think of it this way: Your spinal column consists of vertebrae and bones that are connected. Does the fact that they’re connected mean that misalignment can’t occur? Far from it – in fact, misalignment is so commonplace that we have specialists to treat it.
When our back is out of alignment, we need to go to a chiropractor for an adjustment. This adjustment can put us back into alignment, but we also need to make sure to avoid things that could lead to misalignment down the road. For example, we can incorporate daily exercise, as well as ergonomic tools and practices at work. It’s the same with your marketing team. Just because they’re all “connected” in the sense that they work together day after day doesn’t mean they’re in proper alignment.
Due to egos, lack of communication, or misunderstandings, it’s easy for people to rub each other the wrong way. And not only will workplace morale suffer, so will your marketing efforts. That’s why team alignment is so important. When communication is clear and open and everyone is on the same page, the team is more likely to work together in harmony, thereby accomplishing great things.
The Foundation of Team Alignment: 5 Steps You Need to Take Today to Encourage Alignment
Margaret Magnarelli, the Senior Director of Marketing for Monster.com relies heavily on team alignment. In fact, she points out that the success of Monster.com is due in large part to the fact that her marketing team is properly aligned.
Her recommendation for all marketing teams: Do all you can to ensure that your team is aligned right from the start. And if you haven’t already done that, make some adjustments now so that everyone is on the same page. If you want your business to be successful, you have to make sure everyone on your team is working for the same goals.
Your company’s mission statement isn’t enough. You need to clearly verbalize your goals for each marketing campaign, and you need to check in with your team regularly to make sure everyone is on the same page. As with anything in life that’s worthwhile, consistent effort is needed to ensure success. Here are five steps that you can put into practice regularly to make ensure marketing team alignment within your company.
1. Be Clear About What Content Marketing Means to You
Alignment actually starts with whoever is in charge – the CEO and/or the manager or Marketing Director. If that’s you, you need to get clear on what content marketing means to you. After all, content marketing can mean different things to different people. About her approach to content marketing strategy, Margaret Magnarelli says:
“I take a pretty broad stand…content marketing is a way that you use messaging across your organization – the traditional being the blog, your social channels, your site copy, sales enablement, customer service dialogue, conversation design – to engage with buyers, build relationships, and ultimately drive conversations and revenue. I think to do it right you have to be customer obsessed.”
Knowing what your customers need is the best way to find a way to appeal to them. It’s the best way to appeal to them and get them to take an interest in and, hopefully, purchase your products or services. Once you know what your customers want, the next step is to figure out how to attract your audience. What form will your content take? Video? Podcast? Blogs?
After figuring that out, you’ll have a better chance of clearly expressing your thoughts and plans to the rest of year team – not just your marketing team, but also the sales and production teams.
2. You Must Put the Time and Effort into Training Your Team
Not only do you need to get clear on your marketing vision, you also need to properly train your team. Just because you think your vision is clear doesn’t mean it really is to those around you. Margaret explains that when she first started working for Monster.com, she spent her first 90 days working with her team members one-on-one.
This gave her team the opportunity to understand how she worked, what her goals were, and what she expected her team to achieve. Does Margaret regret this time spent with her team? Not at all. In fact, she says she would’ve liked to spend even more training time with her team.
If you feel like you want to jump into marketing and can’t seem to justify time spent training, it’s time to make a little adjustment. You need to start thinking of any time spent training your team as an investment. Training will actually help you save some time in the long run. When your team is in alignment, they’ll take fewer missteps that you have to take the time to fix down the road.
3. The “How, Now, Wow” of Content Strategy – How to Incorporate It
Once you and your team are clear on your goals, the next step is to create a content concept plan, or a content strategy. Margaret explained that the strategy that works best for her team is called “how, now, wow.”
Her content strategy plan is based on three pillars.
- The How: Create “How To” content. This is evergreen content that helps readers overcome certain problems, as well as achieving goals. Typically, this content is used for blogs and newsletters.
- The Now: This type of content is usually trending. It’s current information that’s related to news and/or entertainment. Do you want to utilize this information? You should use it for social media posts, as well as blogs.
- The Wow: This content appeals to the emotions of your audience. They’re best used for social media posts.
These pillars provide an outline or framework so that you can create content that best serves your audience.
4. Regular Communication Is a Must Between Everyone in Your Company
To promote team alignment, you need to have regular marketing meetings. These meetings should focus on creative ideas and give you an opportunity to discuss what typically works for your company and what doesn’t.
5. Delegation and Creative Freedom: Learning to Trust Your Team
Once you’ve properly trained your team, you need to start delegating responsibilities to them. Giving them the opportunity to manage certain tasks and providing them with a measure of creative freedom is positive for everyone involved. Delegation – without micromanaging, of course – will give your team a sense of responsibility and they’re likely to take pride in their work.
Plus, with every task they successfully accomplish, you’ll develop more trust in them. More trust means you can take a break from time to time and be confident that your team will make you proud!
True Success in Business Comes from Team Collaboration
Your goal as a CEO, Marketing Director, or as a part of a marketing team is to ensure the success of your company. When everyone on your team has the same goal, you can be sure of success because every step they take, every marketing idea they have will be in alignment. Their ideas and recommendations will be coming from their desire to be the best at what they do and to support a company that they can help take to the next level.
In order to achieve that sort of alignment, every teammate needs to work well with each other. And that includes you! You have a big job to do: Ensure the success of your company. But there’s no way to do that on your own if you want to see sustained growth. You have to work with your team, communicate with them regularly, and learn to trust their vision and how it pertains to the goals of the company.
When you do that, your team will enjoy coming into work every day. They’ll look forward to tackling their tasks because they know they’re playing an integral role in the success of your company.
Would you like more content marketing strategy and team alignment tips? Follow Margaret Magnarelli on LinkedIn or Twitter to get regular updates from one of the marketing industries most successful leaders.