So You Purchased a Content Marketing Platform…Now What?
In my role as Onboarding Specialist and Content Coach here at DivvyHQ, I have the pleasure of working with a wide variety of marketing and communications teams around the world. While their organizational structures and inner workings are as diverse as can be, most are dealing with the same struggles. They are trying to manage utter chaos via email and spreadsheets.
But in the last five years, new platforms have been introduced to bring a method to the madness. Content-team leads have started to dip their toes into the content marketing platform waters. You are one of those change agents. After tireless research and comparing platforms via meetings and demos, you choose the best solution that fits your needs. The powers-that-be give you budget approval, and BAM, you now have a shiny (but empty) new platform for your team to use.
A Short Honeymoon
The first few weeks are an exciting blur as you adjust settings, load content and start sending user invites to the rest of the team. But wait…your hard work is met with resistance. The change management fairy has not arrived to sprinkle her pro-change fairy dust on the other senior members of your department. Some actually like their Excel spreadsheets. Others are not all that keen on the idea of opening up visibility of their (often poorly-planned) content schedules to other teams. Adoption crawls, seniority wins, and your shiny new platform falls by the wayside. You feel beyond frustrated that things will never change.
I see this scenario on a frequent basis, and I can feel the frustration coming from that deflated champion that worked so hard to get to this point. While adoption of any new platform is going to be challenging for organizations, it sure seems like the adoption of content marketing platforms are a special beast to tame. But this challenge is not insurmountable. Here are some suggestions to keep your team on track to implement your new content marketing platform successfully:
1. Get influential stakeholders involved in the process early
Start by asking yourself this: who are the heavy hitters in your department who A) have important content programs to manage, and B) have a lot of influence. Getting these folks on board early in the process can have a HUGE impact on the potential future of a new platform. A conversation with these folks sets the tone that you are trying to find a new platform to help them. You need something better. They need something better. A new platform that meets everyone’s needs is a WIN!
After having those conversations, you should setup demos for various platforms and invite them. Now here’s where it gets interesting. If they join you on the demos, you can probably conclude that their interesting in finding better solution is genuine. But if they decline the demos, this may be an indication that they were not really interested, which should be a red flag of potential resistance in the future.
2. Clearly define and communicate the “why” to all stakeholders
Just because your world is chaos, doesn’t mean that everyone else’s is too. There are plenty of folks out there who are nice and cozy, wrapped in their spreadsheet security blankets. But you are not one of them. And if a majority of your team (and/or your managers) are open to finding a better solution, then you should spend some time to make the case. Here’s a good framework:
- Why do we need this platform?
- What current, day-to-day issues are holding us back? (missing deadlines, missing opportunities due to reactive production, no visibility into what everyone is doing and progress of various initiatives, can’t find anything due to lack of centralized storage, etc.)
- Executive-level benefits of a new platform (cross-departmental visibility, more robust reporting, easier report generation, etc.)
- Producer-level benefits (process efficiency, centralized production and storage, improved collaboration, etc.)
3. Enlist an executive ally
This is when the advantage of having seniority on your side will help. If you already have a senior-level mentor within your organization, enlist that seasoned employee to be your cheerleader throughout the implementation process. There’s strength in numbers, and the more folks you can convince of the benefits of the new tool, the more united you stand against any resistance.
4. Take full advantage of your vendor’s onboarding services and Customer Success staff
I’m constantly surprised by how many users pay for our Onboarding services and then don’t use them! Onboarding is an essential step in any successful SaaS implementation, and content marketing platforms are no exception. This process, often customized, will ensure you have a solid setup that mirrors the organization and current processes your team uses. With your onboarding coach leading your initial “train the trainer” sessions, you should be able to come up with a solid training program for your team members to nail down minimum usage requirements that should achieve those previously-identified benefits.
Even after the onboarding cycle is over, you will likely be able to continue to utilize their services to train new additions to your team later on. And, needless to say, make friends with the Support/Customer Success team. They will be your best friends as you work through any support or technical issues your new users will (inevitably) face.
5. Train resistant stakeholders with real content examples to get them comfortable and demonstrate the efficiencies
There’s only so much value in us demonstrating functionality with dummy content. Working with real-world content examples helps producers remember their typical workflow and then helps them visualize and get comfortable with how that workflow will change (for the better). A little hand-holding goes a long way here, and concrete examples will help your resistant team members be better able to visualize real results.
6. Feedback, Feedback, Feedback!
Your feedback (reporting issues, new feature suggestions, etc.) is vital to the success of your implementation, and will only improve your and your team members’ experience. Constantly engaging with either your account rep or the Customer Success team, and encouraging your fellow team members to do the same, will help solidify your usage of the platform. Hidden perks may also emerge, too, if you set yourself apart as a true “power user” of the platform. We love getting feedback from our users, and take it seriously to improve their experience.
I have your back!
While it can seem like a huge hurdle to implement a new content marketing platform, it’s important to know that you aren’t alone, and have a whole team (or several teams!) of folks behind you to ensure it happens. Plan on setting a schedule of consistent stakeholder checkins for at least the first 90 days, to ask questions like “How is this implementation process going?” and “What hoops do we really need to focus on jumping through?” Speaking on behalf of the Divvy team, we couldn’t be more excited to help you figure it out!