It’s no longer a secret, content marketing is the most cost-effective way to a customer’s eyes, ears and heart — especially if you can get your internal team on the content-producing bandwagon. The problem is, 44 percent of marketers claim that content production is their biggest challenge, and if the marketers themselves are struggling, what are the chances that a sales or admin team will start creating content?

Content Marketing Isn’t Just for Marketers

Content marketing should indeed remain a marketer’s responsibility, and the marketing team should still “own” the process, but with content marketing generating over three times as many leads as outbound marketing — while coasting 62 percent less — brands can’t afford to restrict content production to their marketing team alone. 

Instead, organizations need their administrators to pitch in with Instagram stories, they need their social media savvy employee's to suggest timely tweets and they need their sales manager to chip in for live video broadcasts, among other things. Content can always flow back to the marketing team for editing and refining — but the process of production should be open to everyone.

To help you ingrain a content culture into your organization, CMSWire spoke to a number of brands to ascertain how they manage to open source the production of customer-facing content within their organization.

Related Article: 7 Content Marketing Trends for 2018

1. Get Executive Buy-in

Before you start asking customer support representatives to go live on Instagram, you’re going to want to clear your strategy away with decision makers. Deborah Hanamura, Executive Director of Marketing & Communications a Seattle, WA.-based Paladino underlined this vital first step. “It’s important to have executive buy-in regarding the importance of content to the business. If the marketing/communications team is the only group that is enthusiastic about content, it is nearly impossible to achieve engagement across other groups,” she explained.

2. Make Content Production Easy

When you speak to colleagues about content production, it can sound like a long, arduous task. It’s your job to make it as easy as possible, particularly for workers who have no previous experience publishing written, audio or video content. “I’ve found that it helps to make the process easy. We encourage the consulting and delivery teams to send over their ideas in any format they like — it can be a three bullet outline or a 50-page client deliverable. It’s the [job of the marketing team to] l get the draft started [and finish the job],” Hanamura said.

According to Hanamura, by making it clear that it’s their job to have the ideas, and it’s marketing’s job to format the ideas into something that can be marketed, everything moves more efficiently, and can engage with the process more.

This particular strategy has been susscessful for Paladino. Hanamura shared that the organization’s consultants and delivery teams are producing content on a regular basis as part of their day-to-day job. “That content can be a goldmine for us,” she said.

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing Channels: Social Networks

3. Provide Incentives

Incentive programs are one of the easiest ways for companies to encourage a content culture in the workplace. “Incentives work to not only keep employees but also to keep them happy. While it may seem unconventional and even juvenile, the results speak for themselves,” said Nate Masterson, VP of Marketing for Farmingdale, NJ.-based MapleHolistics.

“Business managers who utilize incentives will often see that extra push once there are valuable items and experiences on the line. For instance, some companies offer a round of golf, 5-star brunch, or extended weekends if certain projects are completed ahead of schedule. This simple gesture is often enough encouragement for workers to get their act together and step up their [content production] game,” he continued.

Not all experts agree with this approach. In fact, Hanamura said that, gamification has not been effective for her organization. “People weren’t avoiding content work because I hadn’t offered cash or prizes. .... we do provide rewards, public recognition, and advancement of personal brands ,” Hanamura explained. In her experience, the biggest obstacle preventing more consistent content creation has always been time and the prioritization of goals.

4. Capitalize on Employee Passion

This strategy involves tapping into your most passionate and engaged employees. If you’re fortunate enough to employ people who truly love your industry, products and services, it’s time to capitalize on that authentic energy. "The easiest way to turn your team into content evangelists is to show a clear link between your company and their passion. Sometimes you're lucky enough for your employees to be truly passionate about your brand and your company's mission. If that's the case, they will produce content merely if afforded the opportunity,” said Kevin Sides, CMO of Deerfield Beach, FL.-based ShipMonk.

If the chemistry is already there, it’s usually just a case of approaching the right employees and giving them the tools they need to create and publish content.

5. Instill Confidence in Your Employees

Are your employees refusing to talk to the world out of laziness — or do they simply not feel important enough to speak on their field of expertise? “Some brands may have employees who would produce content, if they could only understand [that their voice is] relevant. When people feel like they are experts in their fields, they want to share more,” Sides said.

His advice, praise your employees, make them feel like experts, and let them know that their content contributions will help the business, Sides added.