For anyone who’s ever been a Star Trek fan, the USS Enterprise is iconic.
Whether the original model captained by James T. Kirk or the spruced up version led by Jean-Luc Picard in The Next Generation, these saucer-shaped space vessels have captured viewer imaginations for decades while exploring new frontiers and boldly going where no one has gone before.
The name “Enterprise” is fitting from a business perspective, because these hulking ships are populated by hundreds of crewmembers who must work in unison to achieve ambitious goals. Coordinating their varied personnel and departments under duress proves a tough task for Kirk and Picard; I’m sure any content marketing manager working in an enterprise setting can relate.
Siloed business units. Communication gaps. Complex workflows. Increasing expectations and demands. These are just a few of the uniquely prevalent challenges faced by large and distributed content teams.
How best to foster the airtight collaboration required to drive (inter)stellar results?
Aligning Your Stars: How to Tighten Enterprise Content Collaboration
“The amount of content created in inter-organizations and intra-organizations has increased immensely,” notes MarketsandMarkets, which recently released an extensive report on enterprise content collaboration and its outlook. “Therefore, there is a growing need to manage this rich content efficiently to minimize the overhead cost associated with it.”
“An organization with an integrated approach must ensure that content is collaborated with individual divisions while maintaining precise standards for content uniformity and integrity.”
Easier said than done, right?
In the past we’ve looked at methods for overcoming general roadblocks and bottlenecks faced by large content teams; today we’ll zero in on the collaborative aspects that tend to be most vexing.
#1: Zap Away Your Silos
The aforementioned MarketsandMarkets report emphasizes “an integrated approach” and the need for “precise standards for content uniformity and integrity.” Departmental silos present the greatest threat to these desired outcomes.
The steps to eliminating content silos include the following:
- Top-Down Support and Accountability
- Create a Safe Space for Ideas
- Find a Good Collaboration Platform
- Formalize Your Editorial Process
Additionally, this can’t be emphasized enough: create conduits and frameworks for consistent communication. Our 2018 Content Planning Report found that large companies were significantly more likely than small ones to list “gathering multiple teams for planning sessions” as a top barrier to content collaboration. No surprise there.
Tricky as it is, solving this problem is imperative. Whether in-person, or via email, or chat application, or within your collaboration platform, find a way to cultivate quick but regular meetings that address the needs and views of every major player in your content marketing engine.
#2: Build a Bridge with Sales
Of all the common silo effects that inhibit enterprise content marketing effectiveness, none are more problematic than the one between marketing and sales. A study by Docurated found that 90% of marketing content goes unused by sales. Depressing.
When cohesively aligned, sales and marketing complement one another like Kirk and Spock. No one better understands which content makes an impact and converts customers than your salespeople on the frontlines.
Sales teams at the enterprise level are often stretched thin, but it’s absolutely worth your while to carve out time for them to connect with marketing.
We’d hardly be described as an enterprise company, but at DivvyHQ we’ve started having our sales leaders meet with our content strategists and writers on a semi-regular basis and it’s been a tremendously valuable exercise.
#3: Refine and Clarify Your Strategy
Large companies that produce high volumes of content tend to have complex strategies by nature and necessity. But to whatever extent possible, I recommend distilling your strategic vision down to the core basics and creating a simple documentation that is centrally visible.
So many collaboration pitfalls relate to lack of transparency into the “why,” and desired outcomes. To wit: In the 2017 B2B Enterprise Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, only 25% of marketers agreed that their organization is clear on what content marketing success looks like.
Attach every piece of content to a larger campaign or initiative, as well as a measurable objective. Simplify as much as you can, keeping in mind that non-content specialists who are involved in the process won’t have the same inherent understanding of terminologies and tactics.
#4: Streamline Your QA Process
The bigger the organization, the more elaborate the editing and approval process. For companies with stringent compliance and branding considerations, this only becomes more involved. Creating a repeatable and efficient workflow is essential.
I liken it to a production line — everyone knows their role, and a universal understanding is developed around expected turnaround timelines. Ideally this will all be built into your editorial calendar.
#5: Make Everything Easily Accessible
This is probably the biggest pain point when numerous people and departments are involved with content production. Someone is always searching for a document or resource, leading to flurries of confused emails and access requests.
Distributed or fragmented operations need to have one place where people can go to find what they’re looking for, be it the background information to create a blog post, the latest iteration of a draft, the copy to drop into a design template, etc. This repository must be easily filterable and searchable to be effective.
Light Speed Ahead with Content Collaboration
Breaking down silo barriers, permeating strategy throughout the organization, disentangling the QA process, and improving accessibility to information are the primary pathways to successful enterprise content collaboration.
At DivvyHQ, we’ve designed our platform to ease the burden for large teams with demanding workloads, helping get everyone connected and aligned. Try out a free trial and find out how it can help with each of the directives mentioned above.
Once you’ve got your team collaborating like an elite starship crew, then your content can get to work doing what it’s supposed to do: