In 2017, Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), said that content marketing would simply be called marketing in ten years. There would be no difference between content marketing and marketing as a whole.
Only four years have gone by, and we can say that that prediction has largely come to pass. According to Hubspot, 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing, with almost 40% of them testifying that content marketing is an important part of their marketing strategy.
In the last ten years, content marketing popularity has only increased. You wouldn’t want to bet against Joe Pulizzi’s prediction.
Content is very important. It can help you generate awareness, connect with your customers, increase sales, and in general, make your marketing department look good. But it shouldn’t be restricted to only that department.
When done right, content can serve as fuel to other departments in your organization, helping you increase their efficiency and drive business growth.
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Why your content needs input from other departments
Consider these two companies.
Company A has a marketing department that is solely responsible for creating the company’s content. This team consists of three writers and a graphic designer, and they regularly churn out content with little or no help from outside their department.
And there’s company B that also has a similar marketing team: 3 writers and a graphic designer. But unlike company A, company B collaborates with the customer service team and the HR team in producing content.
Here’s what will happen eventually.
Because content marketing is siloed in its marketing department, company A will run out of content ideas leading to a drop in output – in terms of numbers and quality.
But because company B’s marketing team is more welcoming to input from other departments, they do not burn out easily. For instance, company B realizes that no one knows better than its customer service team the problem faced by customers when using its product.
By teaming up with the customer service department, company B’s marketing team will not only be taking the stress out of generating content ideas, but they’ll also have access to insights that’ll ensure that the final content piece doesn’t sound to the reader like it’s been put together by some clueless content writer, rather by someone who understands the customer’s problem.
How content marketing can be used in each department
Here’s how other departments could benefit from content marketing.
If you were asked to name the most obvious place where content could be useful, you would most likely say the sales department.
Sales is like marketing’s older (or younger) sibling. The goal of every marketer is to ensure that every ounce of marketing effort results in sales.
The sales department is no stranger to the use of content in getting results. The power of content is already being utilized in sales materials, such as sales copy, outreach emails, case studies, and customer testimonials.
Tom Treanor, Director of Content Marketing at Wrike, said on the B2B Content Marketing Leaders podcast that a sales executive once came to him and mentioned how he used content to close two new accounts. You’d think this was the norm everywhere, but one in four companies say that their sales and marketing teams are misaligned.
One content type that can bring great benefits to the sales department but is still being neglected is thought leadership.
According to Edelman, 49% of decision-makers felt that content portraying thought leadership directly influenced them in doing business with a company. However, only 29% of organizations that produce thought leadership content can effectively tie their efforts to sales.
This shows that despite the influence thought leadership has on business executives, most companies have still not mastered how to regularly produce top-notch content. Or find ways to measure definitively how thought leadership is impacting their bottom line.
What thought leadership does for you is it helps increase the interest in your company without making you appear too salesy. This could prove useful to your salespeople. They’ll become armed with content that educates the customer about your product or service and instills trust, making it easier to finally close them.
This is the home of content, right?
We traditionally expect everything that has to do with the usage of content to fall under the marketing department. And the importance of that job description has only increased with the rise of inbound marketing.
Now, it is safe to say that a significant portion of your marketing strategy is powered by content. How might you use content in your marketing department? To start with, you should create content for these four purposes.
- Email Marketing
- Social Media
- Lead Generation and Nurturing
For email marketing, your aim would be to use email content to kickstart valuable interactions with your leads. Creative content can help fuel your automated email campaigns or your newsletters. In short, you can step up your email marketing game, which is an effective marketing channel (in case you haven’t realized that), by providing meaningful content.
You can also try out a variety of content types to spice up your social media presence. You can (and should) entertain and inform your audience with something other than company news and updates.
In terms of SEO, content is also important to increase your brand’s visibility. By creating your own content and optimizing it for search engines, you’ll raise the amount of organic traffic your website receives. And in the process, increase the number of qualified leads you get.
The most common use case for content in the marketing department is probably for lead generation and nurturing. With the right content (content that solves your reader’s problem), you can attract leads to your brand and nurture them until they become paying customers.
Human relations (HR)
You might ask, “What does content have to do with HR?”
Your HR department is probably not the most obvious place to emphasize the use of content. But the entire organization would benefit if HR processes are combined with content.
Being focused on talent acquisition and growth, your HR department is an integral part of your organization. And it needs the right messaging in order to get in front of the right candidates.
For example, content that promotes your company’s culture is a good way to attract talents that buy into the same values. They’ll see for themselves what your company is all about. And the right type of candidate will already be ecstatic about leaving their mark in your organization.
But content isn’t only useful for getting new hires. You shouldn’t forget the employees you already have.
You can pass company-wide information and training to drive engagement. You can also use the right content to prepare your employees for the future of your industry and give your company a competitive edge.
Most content produced by companies is geared towards customer acquisition. The talk is usually about lead generation and nurturing. But what happens when you close that lead?
It is 5X more costly to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an old one. Therefore, it’s important to keep your old customers coming back for more. And this is something that primarily falls into the laps of your customer service team. But, how can you use content to make their lives easier?
The first, and most obvious use case, is to use content to answer as many customer questions as you can. This could be in the form of a knowledge base or FAQs pages on your website or video tutorials on YouTube.
As long as it helps a customer solve a problem without needing to contact a customer service agent, then you’ve saved valuable time for the customer and your team. You also improve the customer’s experience with your company, making it more likely that they will refer you to others and bring you more business.
You can also delight your customers using content by continuously educating them on how to make the best decisions concerning your products. The aim is to ‘wow’ them with how much you know about them and how much you care for them.
Content like webinars, social media interactions, and even blog posts will help you engage with them and make sure your brand stays top of mind, trustworthy, and helpful.
In her book, Moats and Drawbridges, Maureen Blandford said that sticky happy customers are the net result when an organization’s functional areas share and collaborate. And the happier your customers are, the more motivated they’ll be to pay for your services.
Restricting content marketing to only the marketing department will not allow you to reap its full benefits. But when you allow the different departments in your organization to share content with one another, you’ll be able to increase each department’s impact in driving your business forward.
Consider our content marketing services for your content needs!