8 Ways to Reorganize Your Content Around Customer Needs

Content Marketing World NYC

Rather than viewing restructuring as a scary prospect, Alison Bolen of Cary, N.C.-based SAS decided to view it as an opportunity to align the analytics software and services provider’s content marketing strategy.
Speaking Thursday morning at Content Marketing World NYC, the editor of blogs and social content at SAS shared how the company modified its program:

  • Decide how to use channels to tell the corporate story, which means the organization may have to get rid of some of them. SAS, for instance, has about 200, vs. the two channels she worked on back in 1999 as an assistant editor—the print magazine and the newsletter.
  • Learn how to manage the channels rather than being managed by them. Bolen says: “The hard part is getting a record of every single account … and then deciding which of those you want to use.”
  • Decide how to tell the story. Bolen says SAS decided to tell the story through its employees and customers first, then its products. “If you have a success to tell, tell it as a story,” she says. For instance, an example she likes is the time a customer was “cussing” SAS on Twitter, then praising the company. “That’s a compelling story,” Bolen says.
  • Restructure teams around topics, not channels, as SAS is doing right now, Bolen says. Combined teams from across the company include the new roles of managing editor, community manager and distribution specialist. After that, they’ll prioritize and consolidate by focusing on the needs of their audience and their business, removing duplications and reusing the existing guidelines.
  • Create an architecture for future requests. Bolen says: “So much of what we do has traditionally been around product launches.” But stop and think if there’s a story to tell, then develop small editorial teams and create topic-based editorial calendars, rather than channel-based ones. Create assignments for the teams and reuse content. Her “planning” slide reads: “Remember: Right when you get sick of something, everyone else is just seeing it for the first time.”
  • Coach the teams, perhaps using bite-size chunks. “Feed it to them. Make it really easy,” Bolen advises. For example, employees may be product-centric and need to learn how to tell customers stories about how they can use the products. Bolen adds on the slides: “Hold regular workshops; share what you know; make it easy for experts to write great content; repeat, repeat, repeat; celebrate successes; [and] be patient.”
  • Distribute and promote the content. Bolen advises to make content marketing a priority, develop a list of social media practitioners, research channels, find amplification tools and partners, and “don’t forget to re-share evergreen content.” Evergreen content can be tweeted after its creation, on its one-month anniversary and a year after its creation, she suggests.
  • Measure how well the content is performing. Bolen says: “Start small, find a comparison point [and] align with existing measures.” For that last point, she explored existing measurement tools at SAS and worked with that team. That’s how she found out SAS had an 8 percent lead in share of voice over its competitors. This also brings in leads for the company.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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