In a small sized enterprise, a startup or even the marketing division of a large company, the need for an always-on content connectivity culture is growing in prominence. We established a few weeks ago on how social media is indeed an urgent need. Real-time content through the plethora of social channels, however, comes with time restrictions that organisations of all sizes are faced with. It is thus critical that for content creation, sharing and multiplication as well as strengthening brand reach, employees beyond the one to two person social media team are involved.

Organisations that have imbibed the ‘culture-of-content’ are well aware that content / social media no longer just belongs to the marketing department. It is something that the whole organisation and departments have to come together for. Today, I will focus on the content creation aspect of this complex phenomena.

1. Hire the right culture
Michael Brenner, the Strategy Head of Content Marketing firm Newscred tweeted, “Culture starts with who you hire, promote and fire. Followed by goals and measures that reflect customer-centricity #ThinkContent.”

The thing about having an organisational culture centered around content is that it allows contributors to see the merit of creating new content, share openly and also generates ideas that people can share. Many companies tend to create silos between various departments, for instance, product and marketing teams that sit two floors apart and hardly communicate. Perhaps they even complain and compete with each other. While some level of competition is healthy for an organisation, non-communicative teams and silo-ed departments most definitely are not. An organisation with a healthy culture of content, or with a healthy culture in general will be full of people wanting to share ideas, communicate and share their expertise. The social platforms and company channels outwards allow them a platform to share this directly with their clients and consumers. In an ideal world, your product managers should already be full of ideas that they want to talk about!

2. Lead from the top
It is true that many organisations talk about the RoI of content marketing and social media still. A marketer at an industry conference had stayed, “Instead of RoI, one must consider the LoA – the Loss on Absence. Many leaders and CEOs often tend to cross question marketing teams and agencies in terms of mere numerical RoIs and show lack of faith. That approach is definitely not going to attract other teams as well who will view social/content as an add-on but not a prudent investment. Finding the RoI may not be a simple exercise for many. However, it does not take much to realise that in a socially surcharged world, if the brand is not present on various platforms, it may lose recall and also be seen as a non-performer in extreme cases. Be where the customers are! And be the CEO who leads from the front.

3. Make it simple
Once I worked with a social media manager who was a spreadsheet champion. So, every team or external team that wanted to share some interesting social snippet had to record it in a shared spreadsheet, two weeks before an event. While this allowed him to be able to fully control the quality of the brand appearances on social, the problem was, it was not quick and real-time anymore. The long process was not fun enough for any other teams who wanted to share their insights or create new content. Being able to maintain the brand tonality is key for a brand manager. A social media fail will often be blamed on him/her and not on others who were just creating content.

The concerns of the creator faced with a slow process and the brand manager faced with quality control are both justified. The good news is, there are tools that help! Outbox Pro is a fabulous tool allowing various team members to create and curate content that directly goes to the manager (or brand owner) for an approval and if all works, gets posted immediately. Other tools that allow for approvals include: Buffer and Hootsuite. These are key investments that allow both sides to cooperate well and efficiently.

4. Award and recognise efforts
It’s always good to take a step back once in a while and ask: what’s in it for me? For any team or department that you are reaching out to for collaboration, plan for an existing answer to this question. Why should they create content? Your answers could range from: to get direct customer feedback on the new product changes or to be seen as an expert in ABC field, and so on…Award prolific creators, make it something other employees will respect and wish for!

5. Be open
Once a very young social media intern right out of college told me how she would make our Pinterest boards differently. After having worked for over a year establishing visual brand strategies, initially this came off as too strong. But, the moment I allowed myself time to reflect on how she (a potential customer as well) had perceived things differently, I realised value in a change. Be sure that you are open to new suggestions. At the same time, feel free to explain your logic in having things the way they are. Sometimes sharing information on the logic / strategy behind content that appears random to another eye really helps gaining trust too. This may generate a positive creativity spiral.

Hopefully once you get all your strategies right, your problem will be how to use so much existing content. And, that’s a not a bad problem to be faced with!