Content marketing generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs nearly 70% less, according to Demand Metric’s recent study. It goes without saying that investments in your content team are worth their weight in – well – leads. Making the choice to pump up your content is easy; but building scalable, successful content teams can be more challenging. To help guide your journey, I’ve compiled a list of the four most frequent pain points I see growing content teams suffer from … and how to overcome them.
“HELP! My freelance team grew so quickly that I’m having a hard time managing them and some people are slipping through the cracks.”
Content calendars are everything. As a manager, take time to forecast content needs a quarter in advance, while providing rolling updates to your team as needs evolve. Give each team member clear milestones and directions early, so your primary role is unblocking issues and ensuring work is tracking to completion. Make the quarterly calendar creation a collaborative event with a team brainstorming session to make it fun, creative, and interactive. Also take time to ensure each new team member is successfully onboarded, understands your company culture, and has a peer-mentor to guide them along the way. In the hustle and bustle of creating consistent content, helping the newbie fit in can feel like a waste of time but this legwork up front will ensure that person is able to contribute meaningfully more quickly and will feel more fulfilled and connected to their work.
“How do I help employees grow in their roles without distracting from their day-to-day content creation?”
Don’t be turned off by your team’s ambition. Everyone wants to grow, and individual contributors should get as much broad experience as they can within your organization or the industry so they become more seasoned, valuable team players, which is why I never recommend someone stays in the same role or with the same company for more than 3-4 years until they’ve reached their prime. Reduce stigma around this natural ambition by simply asking your team how they are doing and how they hope to grow often and consistently. Work with them on a monthly basis to build actionable feedback plans, mentorship opportunities, and short and long term goals. Spoiler alert: those goals shouldn’t all include this year’s annual revenue targets.
“My team does good work on their own, they could be even better if they worked together, sought feedback and collaborated together. How do I build camaraderie that will encourage these exchanges?”
Consider when there are natural breaks in your production cycles. If you work in an Agile system, this might be at the end of each sprint. If you are in a continuous creation model, this may be a monthly touchpoint during an all-hands meeting. Find frequent opportunities to arbitrarily celebrate. Consider a post-sprint team happy hour, monthly birthday lunch (on you, of course), team workout opportunities, or simple things like a public kudos wall, team-nominated employees of the month, or creating peer-learning sessions. The important part is that team members have a little “mandatory fun” and take a step away from their work. The hour they spend chatting about their kids’ soccer matches or discovering a shared love of comic books will pay off. Trust me.
“As we grow, we need to find a way to systemize our work but, with so many choices for content storage and writing platforms, we’re in a decision paralysis.”
Each storage system (think: Google Drive, Dropbox, ShareFile, etc.) and writing platform (think: Microsoft Word, Google Documents, Notepad, etc.) all have their pros and cons. But at the end of the day, most of these products do very similar things. Some have better security features than others, while some offer easier collaboration. Before you jump into the options themselves, simply ask yourself and your team what they value and need. If you deal with a lot of sensitive or content under NDA, ShareFile would be a potentially better option than Google Drive. However, if your primary goal is to foster peer-editing and collaboration, Google is the clear winner. There’s really no wrong answer, so feel free to pick something. And if your team hates it, try something new.
Give these tips a try and share what’s working for your team. We’d love to hear from you and since we’re growing too, we’d love to learn from your experiences.