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Collaborative Content Marketing With Big Brands

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collaboration-3Getting a content marketing campaign off the ground in the enterprise can take some heavy lifting. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

A little collaboration could be all that’s needed for your search engine friendly results to take flight for big brands.

Content and Collaboration

Collaboration is generally defined as working jointly with others, principally in an intellectual endeavor. Successful collaboration efforts in enterprise-level search marketing require indiscriminate personal qualities, including objectivity, patience, and persuasion.

Content marketing, on the other hand, is generally considered to be almost any digital format that involves the creation and sharing of published media in order to produce a desired action, which usually means make a sale, generate a lead, or pick up a new customer.

The content being marketed can be presented in a variety of formats, including:

  • News articles.
  • Press releases.
  • Videos.
  • White papers.
  • Case studies.
  • Ebooks.
  • Infographics.
  • Images.
  • How-to guides.
  • Question and answer tutelages.
  • Frequently asked questions.

For organic search, content marketing is focused not only selling products and services, but also on driving social shares and associated inbound links. That’s a lot for a picture of a cantankerous cat to accomplish, but it happens every day on the web. How to make it happen for a big brand, however, will likely take a little bit more thought and a great deal more of creative cooperation.

For smaller businesses, there are often a handful of people that can touch all the content that the company has ever produced. There might be print, broadcast and digital divisions, but equivalent ownership and distribution rights are secured for any type of existing content. This makes the digital content marketing process far more timely, targeted and efficient in that a content gap analysis (CGA) or link analysis report (LAR) can often provide the business case for new content creation. Once the concept is agreed upon, the digital marketing piece can be readily produced, published, pushed and promoted.

Not so for the average enterprise. While a CGA or LAR may show the need for a specific type of content creation, it does not provide a business case until the concept is roughed out for a larger team – a team that often crosses digital divides into other departmental divisions within the enterprise.

For enterprise-level content marketing you need more that a great concept to succeed online. You need to collaborate with key stakeholders in order to determine who needs to be involved in the content creation process, just to get the piece produced, let alone promoted.

It’s a fool’s errand to try and go end-to-end with new content creation projects for big brand search without collaborative teaming process in place. We may walk into a room with three concepts to discuss with some roughed out creative pieces, and walk out with our proverbial hat in our hands after discovering that each concept has already been produced elsewhere in the enterprise or discarded for what are often sensitive political whys and wherefores.

This is why it’s far more efficient to complete a content marketing audit (CMA) in addition to producing more conventional search marketing analyses.

What is a Content Marketing Audit 

What does a CMA look like? That depends on the digital depth of the enterprise.

A comprehensive CMA should include analysis of content from:

  • Online communities or forums.
  • Ebooks.
  • Newsletter archives.
  • Editorial pieces.
  • Site search results.
  • White papers.
  • Podcasts.
  • Videos.
  • Tutorials.
  • Trial software.
  • Mobile apps.
  • Games.
  • Learning centers.
  • Product demonstrations.
  • Etc.

Range and scope are critical in order to maintain any sort of efficiency for the analysis.

For big brands, a CMA could also include reviewing a myriad of subdomains, microsites and decommissioned domains that have fallen out of use. After the digital ecosphere has been mapped, and strategic insights are carried over from the CGA and LAR, then it’s time to start the collaboration process with primary stakeholders to determine what we can touch, what content is out of bounds, and what we might be able to optimize, repurpose, or refresh.

The CMA can be a highly cost-effective way to break through content creation barriers for the enterprise and expedite the way we can come to market with attention-grabbing material that will be readily shared and parleyed about by our target audience. It’s especially convenient if existing content can be repurposed or credited as source material in highly regulated industries, because the original concepts were already approved and published by the organization. We should note that leveraging existing content can save a lot of time for nearly any size business.

Of course, a little bit of good old-fashioned SEO happens along the way. It’s not uncommon to find some stray videos that need to be brought into the digital library or included in the video XML sitemap.

Sometimes informative or entertaining content isn't set up in an optimal manner to be socially shared or commented upon – or worse – crawled. The SEO team can build a lot of good will with potential content marketing stakeholders within the enterprise simply by picking up the tab for implementing incidental optimization projects.

Summary

Conventional wisdom contends that it takes a village to raise a child. Be prepared to tap into your nurturing know-how in order to make collaborate content marketing initiatives grow results for enterprise-level search.


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