Today, most companies rely on content marketing as their primary means of building brand awareness and drumming up revenue. For content marketing leaders, that’s a good thing in terms of career prospects, but the growing dependency on the content team also means that we’ve never been under more pressure to produce.
When your team’s performance figures have a big say in your boss’ performance figures, it’s only natural for your boss to be all up in your business.
Content marketing managers can deal with this dynamic in one of two ways:
- They can react to executive leadership’s inevitable involvement. This often means fielding questions and data requests when content managers a) aren’t expecting them b) aren’t prepared to handle them and c) don’t have time to for them.
- They can proactively strategize and plan for executive leadership’s involvement in the content marketing program.
If you’ve experienced the first scenario, and I think most of us have at some point, you know that it can feel like a recurring nightmare with no end in sight. Unchecked second-guessing tends to spiral.
That’s why the C-suite should maintain consistent visibility into content marketing management. If that seems scary, I encourage you to re-read the first scenario, and also know that content marketing leaders can (and should) proactively set the parameters for the C-suite’s visibility and involvement.
In other words, if you plan the working relationship with your C-suite, you can make sure it meets your needs. And if it also meets your C-suite’s needs, then that’s how it will work – the way you want it to.
How C-suite Visibility Can Make You a Better Content Marketing Manager
C-suite visibility creates alignment around required effort, production expectations and resource planning
Oftentimes, when executives only see the output of a content team, they might not be aware of all the work and collaboration that goes into it. But when executives have access to the team’s planning and workflows, they become privy to all of the technical requirements, promotional considerations, channel contextualization, nurture stream adjustments, etc. – all those “little” tasks that add up to a large difference but largely go unnoticed.
Rather than getting forced into situations where you must defend your team’s production to a skeptical executive, you can simply grant access to your content planning tool to convey with exactness what your team has planned and how long it should take. For you, that means fewer theoretical arguments about production, and an uptick in data-based discussions about resource management, followed by sound decisions.
This also works to your advantage when you need to secure more content marketing budget or additional resources. When the C-suite has the same visibility into resource planning, you don’t need to start a substantial side project to make a case for a necessity. You can simply say, “As you can see here, we need to address the gap between planned production and resources before next month.”
C-suite visibility facilitates a goal-oriented, team-based approach
Would you rather work for your boss or with your boss? I think most of us would choose the latter. Our bosses would, too, as working with the boss implies that we understand what’s expected of us and can anticipate most needs.
A good way to make sure we’re cooperating with our bosses is to first make sure we share the same definitions of success. A good place to start is to agree on results-oriented marketing metrics and KPIs. Once you and your boss know what success should look like, make sure you both know where to find it. One of the slickest ways to do this is to centralize your content marketing analytics. In doing so, you can give executives a customized dashboard that includes up-to-date insights regarding their most important KPIs and whichever other production or planning insights they want at a glance.
By aligning on KPIs and customizing your dashboards, you and the C-suite can literally be on the same page every day. No intrusions necessary.
C-suite visibility can take pressure off content leaders
There’s likely a lot of experience and expertise in your C-suite. I recommend that you strongly encourage members of your C-suite to get involved with your content because chances are strong that your content will be better because of it.
Thought leadership content is a true differentiator, and few are better positioned to help you deliver this type of content than the designated leaders at your company. Marketing executives in particular can be an incredibly valuable resource on matters of strategy, positioning, prioritizing or anything else that might benefit from the opinion of an experienced marketer. Take advantage of this expertise by pulling the VP of marketing into your strategy and planning processes.
Even if your VP of Marketing doesn’t participate in creation, they can participate in the most pivotal parts of your process. For instance, you may be able to recall a few projects that dragged on forever, never got published, or both. By incorporating C-suite members into a templatized, initial planning workflow, you can systematically secure buy-in, thus avoiding the unusable content syndrome that catastrophizes so many content marketing departments.
Include the C-suite wherever it’s most beneficial. If they want to help create and edit, even better, but for most content managers, it can be especially productive to involve leadership in the ideation and initial review phases. By getting leadership to take ownership of ideas, initiatives and timelines, you no longer have a counterpart who can get in the way, and instead have a powerful partner who’s equally invested in making your vision a reality.
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