Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer
You might know me as a writer, coach, content marketer, dog lover, editor, golfer, sales strategist, Diet Coke enthusiast, speaker, Allegheny alum, project manager, feminist, networker, or St. Louis Cardinals fan.
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Is there anything worse for a B2B content marketing team than having a great piece of content get tied up in the approval process?
Yeah, I’ve been there. It’s frustrating, bordering on maddening. I had a batch of content collecting dust while waiting to be approved, and I pulled out all the stops to get things moving.
First, I tried email. After finishing a batch of assignments, I sent a long, detailed message to our content SMEs and stakeholders outlining each piece of content. I asked them to pretty please use the “track changes” feature in Word when making their edits.
That email had a deadline, and I sent a reminder email as the deadline approached. And another. And another after the deadline had passed.
I tried urgency tactics like “I’m going on vacation and would really, really like to get this content approved by the time I leave” and “the sales team is really eager to get this content out there.” Still, no luck.
Slack messages didn’t work either.
Then I went old school and printed hard copies – surely those couldn’t be ignored as easily as an email! But they were.
Finally, I resorted to public ridicule: somewhat sarcastically calling out an SME in a team meeting to ask how that content review was coming along. (Note: I don’t recommend you resort to that).
Our company likes to move quickly, so our content team had a quick chat to remind ourselves that the approval process was taking too long. It didn’t even occur to us why it was taking so long in the first place (you can read more on that here). Once we talked through that, we began to fix the logjam.
Before you can begin to streamline, first you should document your existing approval process. Type it out step-by-step and see if there are any steps you can eliminate right off the bat.
Then, ask these five questions to all of the stakeholders involved in the content approval process:
Don’t expect to send a single email with these questions and get immediate responses. You’ll have to track people down just like you already have to track them down to get their content revisions.
Ideally, you might eliminate a step in your approval process just by asking these questions. Chances are someone might not even want to be involved in the first place and can be cut out right away.
Realistically, you’re going to run into roadblocks – colleagues who will still insist on delaying the process. When that happens, you’ll need to be armed with data. Here are two ways to make your case:
Streamlining your content approval process may seem mundane in the grand scheme of things you’d like to improve from a marketing standpoint. But remember, the faster you can approve good content* the faster you can start influencing prospects early in the buyer’s journeys.
*Good content builds trust by truly educating your customers and helping them solve problems/challenges. Good content does not focus on telling the customer about what you do. Writing good content is hard. Writing content that only talks about the features and benefits of your products/services is not-so-hard.
We will not be great by what we accomplish, but by what we help others accomplish.How does this apply to your work as a B2B marketer?
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Learning to follow your buyer is a change in mindset
A transition from selling buyers on what you do to helping them accomplish what they do.