One of the first things you may have considered when embarking on a content marketing strategy is: who will our writers be?
There may have been some obvious choices, but it can often be impractical for just a few people to take on responsibility for all of a business' content creation.
So where can we find more writers? In fact, we may not have to look that far – because everyone in a company has the potential to become a content writer.
For example, consider the head of a sales department: they know the product or service they are selling inside out and understand the kinds of problems their customers are facing; they know the most common questions your company is being asked time and time again. All of this knowledge could be channelled into blogs, eBooks and other multimedia content.
"I'm not a writer," they might say. But, when it comes to content marketing, everyone can be just that - in one way or another.
Making content marketing a company-wide endeavour
Writing on The Sales Lion, Marcus Sheridan says: "The greater the number of employees that help produce content, the more success the company has."
Think about who you could draw on in your current team. Sales people tend to be a priceless resource because they are on the frontline, day in, day out, dealing with customers and finding out about their fears and aspirations. And members of the marketing team, who are not usually directly involved with creating content, can also prove invaluable. They have a keen understanding of strategy and have clear business goals in mind.
Executive team members have an in-depth knowledge of both the challenges and opportunities facing a company - and an industry as a whole. Product developers might be able to contribute blog posts about effective methods and techniques, while technical staff could discuss issues important to your industry.
Whatever an individual's role in your organisation, they will be able to lend knowledge and a viewpoint that is unique to their position. And not everyone has to be a writer per se. Sheridan suggests three different methods of sourcing content from employees:
1. The employee writes the post
2. The employee makes a video post
3. The employee is interviewed by someone who then turns the information into a blog post and acts essentially as a ghost writer
In this way, we can play to the strengths of each employee. The most important thing is to extract that meaty informative content that will provide real value to our audience.
The role of a content editor
It’s a good idea to appoint one person to oversee your content creation – and that may mean hiring someone specifically for the role. This person can ensure that you get the best out of everyone in your company.
Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs, says: "[A content editor is] someone who can give a piece of writing a higher-level read to help improve, expand, condense, or rewrite. The best writers always have a great editor who’s like a great coach or trainer working behind the scenes to bring out the best in an athlete."
Some employees’ work will require very little editing; and others will need more guidance. And then there will be those people, like the head of sales we talked about earlier, who are fountains of knowledge but believe their writing skills aren’t quite up to scratch. Knowing that their work will be massaged into shape will give them the confidence to really go for it when creating content.
It can also be a good idea for the content editor to work with your wider team to draw up an editorial calendar. If an individual knows in advance what they're going to write about on a specific day then they can hit the ground running, rather than spending precious time racking their brain for ideas.
Deciding to outsource
After consideration, you may have decided to outsource your content writing to a marketing agency. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still seek to create a culture of content marketing at your company.
A good marketing agency will want to work in partnership with you to produce the best possible content for your audience; so they will still want to speak to employees within your organisation. You have the knowledge and the expertise: an agency can draw on these to create valuable content and help you to implement a workable strategy that delivers a tangible ROI.
Sometimes it might feel as though content writers are hard to find - but it doesn't have to be that way. From executive board members to product developers, everyone in an organisation has the potential to become a content writer.
And while some individuals may not be natural writers, they can still provide the ingredients for a piece of content - because the key is to bring value to our audience.