Getting Buy-In on Your Content Projects


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My presentation from Content Marketing World 2012, where I talked about getting buy-in on your content projects.

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  • \n
  • First, let’s run through a few terms. I’ve found in my work in the content business in the last 20 years or so that some of us use the same terms to mean slightly different things. I’ll tell you how I’m using them today before we get started. \n\nWhat is content: \n
  • What is content marketing:\n
  • What is content strategy: \nHow does it relate to content marketing?\n
  • Finally -- what do I mean when I say “buy-in”? I don’t just mean I want your projects approved. I want your entire organization to believe in what you’re doing. I want you to be able to count on the support you need from throughout the organization, so that whether you need help from IT, the data center, the call center, whoever -- they believe in your mission, so you get what you need. That makes for successful content marketing.\n
  • [experience]\n
  • Right now you may be in a no-win situation -- dealing with today’s budget realities. We’re going to change that, but let’s think about why what we do now doesn’t work.\n
  • We treat approvals like a zero-sum game. If you win, they lose -- and vice versa.\n
  • We end up trying to justify every decision we make--which just starts to feel like begging. Sadly, we don’t look this cute when we do that.\n
  • We pitch to our organization’s priorities and cross our fingers!!\n
  • Stop waiting for manna from heaven.\n
  • Instead, what we want is the right answer, every time. There are a couple of ways around those negative budget realities.\n
  • We can ask forgiveness.\n
  • Our other choice is to build a common vision that supports our work. This probably appears to be the harder path -- that’s why it’s not taken very often. But it’s the only choice for long-term success.\n
  • Because let’s think about what happens when we go the “ask forgiveness” route. Here we’re talking about marketing and content -- but every department in your organization is struggling with these issues.\n
  • We don’t get traction without buy-in. Good ideas just stall.\n
  • When you don’t share a vision at the beginning, you also really run the risk of sabotage. Shockingly, a lot of people don’t like to see a maverick succeed.\n
  • The biggest risk in asking forgiveness is failure. If you don’t succeed, forgiveness is hard to come by.\n
  • We’re going to stop asking permission, but we don’t want to ask forgiveness, either.\n
  • Let’s have some compassion for the budget people. Just think about what they’re dealing with -- and why they have to keep telling you no.\n
  • This is a problem for many of us: We don’t understand their needs. Here we are on Mars, and the budget people are on Venus. [draw] We have to give them proposals that they can easily approve. We’re going to talk about measurement in just a minute -- that will help.\n
  • In a lot of organizations, even the winner comes out covered in mud -- or shaving cream, as the case may be. You don’t want to fall victim to bad politics -- or lack of collective vision. It’s easy for the budget folks to say no in those circumstances.\n
  • Here’s a common issue with your budget folks: They don’t see the same problem you do. [Draw] You’re looking at an elephant, but they only feel a stick, or maybe an old suitcase. So they tell you no.\n
  • They also say no when they don’t understand your solution.\n
  • Any of course, you can hear No because the project is too expensive -- but what this usually means is that no one else sees the value you do. \n
  • These are all org-based objections. You need to reframe the issue -- ask different questions. You want to change their perspective.\n
  • Our goals have to match our customers’ goals. The user experience field has a lot to teach us. If you need help pushing your organization to have a customer-first focus, check out some books on user research and the user experience. This discipline focuses on website and mobile design, but the user experience focus is very tightly tied to a customer-centric focus. \n
  • Here are a couple of books much-loved in the user experience and design fields -- but they’re not strictly about web design. They’re about communication and about understanding the user experience.\n\nThere are some much deeper-dive books into the UX world I can recommend if you’re interested. I think the perspective alone is valuable to marketers, never mind the more tangible benefits of understanding your developers and designers better.\n
  • Let’s consider: Why does customer focus = content? Part of the reason is, you and your customers know different things. You’re an expert on somethings, and they are expert on others. Your expertise is probably a venn diagram -- it crosses over each other, but they aren’t the same. You need content to help you bridge the gaps with your customers.\n\nAlso, think about the economics of your business. You can sell on price or access alone. If your product isn’t demonstrably the cheapest, or if you have competitors, you need something else. Customers today demand an enriching experience, and content is a tangible representation of your relationship that fulfills the promise of your relationship. Even if you sell a product, content often provides an important part of the ongoing experience. We’re not doing a deep-dive on this question in this session -- that’s what this whole conference is about. This may be the area where you need to use measurement to reduce uncertainty, though. If your organization doesn’t buy in to the idea that content=customers, then you need measurement that will help them see your perspective. \n
  • Because right now, we’re measuring the wrong things.\n
  • For instance, we’re all measuring what’s easy to measure. We have to stop doing that. You can get incredibly wrapped up in how many Facebook likes your brand has, for instance. And it’s easy to measure -- they just TELL you how many you have. But if you can’t prove those likes translate into a measurable business objective, that’s worthless. Can anyone here get budget approvals for simply demonstrating more likes or RTs? Because we all want to come work with you. Most of us have budget people who don’t see the direct relationship between a Facebook like and money coming in the cash register. Because there is no direct relationship! Instead, a Facebook like -- a RT -- a member in your Linked In group -- are all just representations of the bigger relationship you have with your customers and prospects. Now -- I’m curious about the audience here. How many of you were math/science/stats majors? How many were English/mass comm/history/humanities majors? How many of you now feel comfortable in the world of statistics, no matter where you started out? Let’s talk about the point of measurement for a minute. If we have to stop measuring stuff just because it’s easy to measure, what SHOULD we be measuring?\n
  • You don’t measure because you can -- you measure to reduce uncertainty. Reducing uncertainty makes it easier to make wise decisions. You don’t need to measure all the way to 100% certainty -- that’s a waste of time and resources. You just need to measure enough to make wise decisions.\n
  • All you have to do is figure out how to reduce the uncertainty -- you don’t have to find the one true answer. When you’re talking content projects, think about the uncertainty that you can reduce. If you’re getting too many calls at your call center, and you’d like to drive more customer help requests to the web, start asking your callers whether they looked for the answer to their questions online first. If they did, your help section needs help. If they didn’t even look, you may just need to promote it by adding information on your product packaging or on your home page. A little bit of data will reduce your uncertainty about which direction to go, and it will help justify your financial investment.\n
  • Buy this book -- great info from Douglas Hubbard. Hubbard is going to feel like a very friendly read to our math majors, and he’s very accessible to those of us who majored in European History. He does talk stats in the book, but I think the most valuable information here is not the formulas -- or the free spreadsheets you can download on his website -- though I highly recommend you do that. Instead, he offers a mindset that fundamentally challenges what we hear every day in our boardrooms and cube farms -- he challenges the idea that some things can’t be measured. This is an easy trap for us to fall into in marketing -- we believe that decisions are based on feelings and emotions as well as information -- and that’s true. But we can still measure the results and act upon what we learn. [Enrico Fermi, piano tuners. Emily, science project.] \n
  • So, if we’re creating buy-in to improve your content projects, here are the 3 steps:\n
  • The customer is the center of our world. Our decisions have to be made with the customer in mind -- over our org priorities, over our politics, over our gut instinct.\n
  • Serving the customer means meeting their content needs. We get them the right information at the right time to make decisions. When we serve the customer as a valued partner, that pays dividends for us.\n
  • Meeting our customers’ needs requires that we understand them -- so we have to reduce uncertainty in our organization’s understanding. We’re going to do that by measuring the right things -- just enough to be more certain in our decisions.\n
  • You are the hero to create the common vision\nYou can help your organization ask different questions\nThey need to trust you as the authority. You become the authority by [draw] arming yourself with meaningful numbers about the customer experience -- and you’ll have the platform you need to demand the content your customers want.\n
  • \n
  • Getting Buy-In on Your Content Projects

    1. Getting Buy-Inon YourContent Projects@lauracreekmore#cmworld
    2. What is content?#cmworld
    3. Contentmarketing#cmworld
    4. Contentstrategy#cmworld
    5. What is buy-in?#cmworld
    6. Whyme?
    7. No-win situation#cmworld
    11. Photo by
    12. Getting theanswer you need#cmworld
    14. The waywe work now#cmworld
    15. NoBuy-in
    16. No Buy-in
    17. No Buy-in
    18. Changeyour thinking#cmworld
    19. Understandingthe objections#cmworld
    20. NO!
    21. NO!
    22. NO!
    23. NO!
    24. NO!
    25. The customerhas to driveour decisions#cmworld
    26. Customer focus#cmworld
    27. Why content?#cmworld
    28. We’re measuringthe wrong things#cmworld
    34. Three steps:#cmworld
    35. 1.
    36. 2.
    37. Measuring to 3.increase clarity
    39. Laura Creekmore