Effective Content Collaboration for Large Teams: The Key Elements
Collaboration is a beautiful thing. It’s a marketing leader’s dream… unified teams all pulling together, striving for omnichannel marketing mastery. What could possibly go wrong?
Unfortunately — and as you have probably seen in your own organization — quite a lot can go wrong. With so many different people involved in the process, internal politics, and so many different opinions, requests and recommendations making the rounds, the unified situation you hoped for rarely ever happens.
What’s more, communication has a habit of breaking down, particularly among larger teams spread out over greater distances. This compounds the problem and, before long, your content collaboration dreams have crumbled into a confused, disillusioned nightmare.
So what’s the solution here? How do you make sure that content collaboration is built into the foundation of your content planning and day-to-day execution? Because, after all, effective content collaboration is a prize worth pursuing. It just needs to be done right. Let’s take a look at some of the key elements to getting this done.
Let’s imagine you and your team are climbing a mountain. From down at base camp, you look up, and you see the snowy peak of the mountain glinting in the sunshine. You and all the members of your team know that this is your goal — this is what you are aiming for. You start the climb.
Later on, though, high on the mountain, you realize all is not going to plan. Some members of your team have begun a push toward the north ridge, deciding that this is the best way to reach the summit. Other team members have started for the south face, convinced that this is, in fact, the right way to go.
In the midst of all this confusion, a cloud has rolled in and you can barely see the summit anymore. You have lost sight of your objective and your team members are now pushing against each other and moving in different directions.
This is what happens to so many content collaboration efforts. Sight of the main objective is lost, and, in the thick of the action, no one can agree on the best way forward.
The answer here? Properly unified goals from the content planning stage onwards, not just in the long term but in the short term as well. Basically, your team needs to know precisely what objectives it is aiming for, every step of the way. Reinforce this with regular meetings and give each team the confidence to pursue their own role, safe in the knowledge that remote teams are making the climb right alongside them.
A Democratic Forum
Everyone in your team needs to feel that their voices are being heard. This is true at every stage, from the development of your content strategy, through to collaborative production and publishing. This is the only way to build true engagement within your team.
However, you should be seeking to create a democracy, not anarchy. This means you need a trusted leader who is able to oversee the content workflow and make sure a unified consensus can be reached. Hold regular meetings and put in place structures that allow everyone’s voice to be heard in the right way.
The Right People in the Right Roles
Nothing can kill an effective process faster than weak links. The marketing profession, as a whole, has the highest turnover of any other profession and internal marketing teams seem to always be in flux. Finding high-quality talent to fill specialized roles is an ever-growing challenge around the globe. If companies cut corners with non-qualified practitioners, the rest of the team may quickly lose confidence and trust in their abilities. The old adage, “If you want it done right, you better do it yourself”, is not a recipe for collaboration or efficiency.
Combatting this comes down to knowing your team. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your team members? What are they passionate about? What are they really good at? Get to know this and then make sure you have the right individuals in the right roles at every stage of the content collaboration process.
The Right Collaboration Tools
How do your teams get the job done? Perhaps one team completes their content duties and passes the work onto the next team for the next stage of production. Maybe your teams book collaborative time together each week and use this time to work on the project in a sprint, getting as much as possible done in a limited timeframe. Or, it could be that your teams work in parallel, maintaining communication at all times to try to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Each of these approaches could work, but each presents potential inefficiencies and a risk of confusion. The last thing you want to uncover during the execution of a project is double-work — i.e. one team repeating work that another team has already done. This is simply a waste of resources, of money, and, of course, of everyone’s time.
Equipping your teams with the right collaboration tools is vital here. For example, cloud document storage can be accessed by anyone, anywhere in the world, provided they have the right clearance and login credentials, which means no one needs to send documents or other resources as they can simply be opened, downloaded and examined via the cloud platform.
Similarly, screen sharing tools and collaborative editing platforms make it easy for remote teams to work together on the same project, whether these remote teams are based on different floors of your office building or on different continents.
The right content analytics tools also make your content measurement initiatives far more effective. You will quickly be able to learn what is working and what is not, and feed this information back to the team.
Leveraging content automation capability within your content marketing platform is another way to increase efficiency and secure better practices across your teams. Build out your content plan, plot your production schedule on your content calendar, and then let your team work the plan.
All of this can be underpinned with the right communication tools. For example, video conferencing hardware and software are valuable when you need to call a meeting, but an instant messaging tool makes communication much more efficient when your teams are on the job.
By the way, much of this can be accomplished in DivvyHQ. Want to learn more about getting content collaboration right? We’d love to show you how DivvyHQ can help. Schedule a demo today!