If you’re doing content marketing right in your organization, you’re going to ruffle a few feathers. I’ll say it again—if you’re doing content marketing right in your organization, people are going to feel uncomfortable. That’s good news for you, because it means that you are truly affecting change.  It may be challenging, though, because the naysayers and the Debbie downers may influence others to doubt your efforts.

I’ve found three ways to inspire a content marketing culture in any organization—no matter the industry, size or people involved. I use the word inspire deliberately because you should be excited about using this methodology to spark and sustain conversations with your target audiences. Inspiration is a word that suggests momentum and dynamism, and I want you to feelinspired.

I also know that it can be difficult to be the one in the organization constantly beating the drum; always reminding people of the Big Hairy Audacious Idea (BHAG) to attract and engage audiences with valuable, secret-revealing digital content. 

3 Ways to Inspire an Effective Content Marketing Culture

Here are three effective solutions for inspiring a content marketing culture AND keeping the naysayers at bay:

  1. Set expectations: Any strategic, sound content marketing pilot project is going to take six to nine months to show measurable results. If it takes shorter, celebrate the wins! However, most companies will see that it takes time to move the needle. Let people know you’re in it for the long haul, so they won’t stop proselytizing apocalyptic digital doom too soon.
  2. Define roles: In absolutely every publishing organization (and if you’re doing content marketing, you’re a publisher), everyone who touches content needs to understand the role they play in the process.  So, follow the chart below to define everyone’s roles. The people in supportive roles should feel direct influence over the success of the content marketing campaign, as well as a general sense of satisfaction that comes from taking part in a larger undertaking.             

Creates Assignments
Sources Content
Writing & Sourcing
Final Approval
Prepare content for distribution
Distribute content
Analyze content performance & behavior

    1. Define emotional roles: This one is most important, I think, but I leave it for last because it’s hard to understand until you try tactics 1 and 2.  There are people who don’t want to be visionary and embrace a new, strategic approach to digital communications and content. For the people who are excited, and who do want to beat the drum, you need to provide a place in their head to file the professionals slower to change.
    2. Everyone needs to know where he or she falls in the details vs. vision, content creator vs. keeper of the brand roles.

    Understanding the Emotional Content Marketing Matrix

    Look at the “emotional content marketing matrix” below:

    ·       Enterpriser:The person who isn’t involved in the daily weeds of decisions but keeps everything moving at the 10,000-foot level. He or she can see the entire branding/marketing puzzle.
    ·       Producer:This professional keeps the project going and moving—the master juggler. He or she understands coordinating with the artist.
    ·       Artist:The creative personality, this person is always coming up with new ideas. But he or she may get tired of the people in the organization who are constantly questioning content marketing efforts. That’s why the artist turns to the keeper of the flame for inspiration and encouragement. 
    ·       Keeper of the Flame: He or she answers the question, “Why are we doing this again?” This is the drum beater—the owner of the BHAG—who cheerleads and keeps everyone focused on the vision of what you’re trying to do with content marketing.
    (Hat tip to Neeraj Bhagat for showing me this matrix in a different context).

    Where are you on the chart? For some content marketing professionals, you may be serving all four roles. That’s too many—so you need to bring in the people from your organization who are going to help you sustain the vision AND get the work done.
    Again, if you’re content marketing the way it should be done, there are going to be people within your corporate culture who may not be 100 percent supportive. That’s ok. Set their expectations, define their roles and identify who they are on the emotional content marketing matrix. You will set up an inspirational culture destined for content marketing success.


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