In a research study, less than half of respondents said that their companies discuss issues truthfully and effectively.
As a senior-level executive, you’re juggling all the demands that keep your organization viable. However, what you don’t know is that your content marketing team may be part of the problem.
These teams are struggling to meet deadlines, creating hostile environments, and failing to produce the best work product.
As a result, these issues delay projects, reduce productivity, damage brand perception, and eventually impact your bottom line.
It’s time to recheck how your content marketing team works.
To facilitate this transformation, here are five obstacles hindering your company’s progress and solutions to help your team win again:
1. Lack of Systems
A lack of systems halts the growth of your business.
It’s happening in your office right now. Everyone is going to the senior manager for all the answers. Rather than focusing on high-value, high-return activities, that person acts as a human FAQ page.
“The word used over and over when teams are failing is ‘lack.’ It is like having a vitamin deficiency,” says Sylvia Lafair, President of Creative Energy Options.
To combat this problem, create predictable systems. Produce a content calendar. Establish editorial guidelines for freelance writers. Do the hard work and design your buyer personas.
But that’s half the battle.
Work with your team to create a defined workflow structure. You’ll actually know who’s working on what when.
All team members will see priorities for the month. And projects won’t be backlogged due to unexpected budget issues.
At the end of the day, systems will save your company time and money.
2. Poor Management
Understanding how to increase content downloads by 20% in one month is a great skill. However, if your manager lacks soft skills, like listening and collaboration, no one will even want to work with that person to achieve the goal.
The well-known saying rings true: “People don’t quit jobs; they quit managers.” Bad supervisors can quickly diminish a team’s productivity and morale.
Hire project managers who avoid collaboration hurdles. And find someone who respects diversity on their team.
Effective leaders know how to delegate duties to the right person, solve problems in a timely manner, and give the team a strategy to follow through. They must have a solid understanding of all the roles of their team.
For example, if you constantly hear your content director saying he’s not an expert at that, it may be time to locate someone who is, at least, willing to learn.
Neil Patel, co-founder of Kissmetrics and Crazyegg, states:
“Take each team member into a room and ask them what the goal and objectives of the project are. If you get five completely different views then that is the problem and you know something’s not right. You then have to communicate to everyone within the rest of the organization.”
It’s all adapting to new challenges. Ditch the managers that direct their teams in the wrong direction.
3. No Evaluation Process
Measurement is non-existent for some content marketing teams. They simply keep doing stuff until it finally sticks.
Once you’ve created content, measure its effectiveness to know whether your content is hitting a specified benchmark. How else will you know whether you’re improving or not?
And content can’t be measured with one data point. Several content marketing metrics exist, including, retention, sharing, engagement, and lead metrics.
Select metrics that match your intended goals. For example, is your team interested in tracking your email opt-outs for retention? Or tracking new subscribers for lead generation?
Moreover, from a personnel standpoint, set up a suggestion box to hear feedback from your team. Everyone needs to be evaluated to ensure their contribution to the organization is valuable. It also makes people responsible for their work product.
Joshua W. Frappier, Founder of Unfuddle, says:
“It’s not enough to be on a team, though. That does not imply accountability. Accountability by its nature goes beyond an attitude of ‘just ask’ or ‘I’ll show you when I’m ready’ because accountability is proactive and persistent. It grants permission to ask questions. It invites discussion. It covets feedback and opinion from team members. Not some of the time, or when it’s convenient for the sake of your pride — but all the time.”
Set criteria to monitor whether your content meets the company’s goals. And hold people accountable for their actions.
4. Improper Training
There’s always room for improvement. So, find the time to train your team.
We get accustomed to placing people in their boxes. If they handle all the blog writing, we assume that’s all they can do. But that’s simply not true.
Embrace people’s “hidden” skill sets. Career coach Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson suggests finding answers to these questions:
- Do you know what unique gifts each of your team members possesses?
- Have you taken the time to discuss with each team member how you want to embrace and utilize their gifts?
- Have you consulted with each team member on the knowledge they have regarding your industry and how they can help you improve your organization because of their gifts?
There’s also a common misconception that all training is created equal. Don’t just hand your team members a book and say read this.
Set them up for success by encouraging conference attendance, paying for webinars, or even inviting a guest speaker to the office.
Some managers even “operate their training on a need-to-know basis, limiting their employees’ learning based on a job description.” Instead, train people to be experts in their professions, not their jobs. That means giving them the opportunity to learn the latest content creation tools.
If you want professionals, train them as such.
5. Motivation Is Non-Existent
Not everyone in your organization is committed to your mission. Some people are just not invested in the culture.
They’re unmotivated. And it’s the reason why your team doesn’t follow through.
Teams must possess genuine buy-in around important decisions. A hollow “yes” won’t work.
You don’t want someone on your team who is just going through the motions. Or worse, completing tasks because they feel guilty.
True commitment advocates for high-quality work. People who say “this will do” will cause more harm than good.
Forbes contributor Mike Myatt:
“A leader who lacks character or integrity will not endure the test of time. It doesn’t matter how intelligent, affable, persuasive, or savvy a person is, if they are prone to rationalizing unethical behavior based upon current or future needs, they will eventually fall prey to their own undoing. Optics over ethics is not a formula for success.”
Learn how to inspire your team. Get them fired up to perform well.
There are two types of goal orientation. Mastery orientation includes people who are “motivated by the challenge of learning something new while people with performance orientation do better when striving for excellence by using their existing skills.”
For example, a mastery-oriented individual who is tasked with improving his social media metrics might motivate himself with a goal to find a new process for engaging with customers and achieve that goal by researching and speaking to experts.
On the other hand, a person who is performance-oriented would do better with a goal of increasing last quarter’s lead metrics by 10%. She would review data from the previous months, identify peak performances, and then replicate those successes.
Weed out the disinterested people. And keep the folks who are energized and ready to get the job done.
Start Winning Again
Reevaluate your content marketing team. How they operate greatly affects the company’s revenue and brand image.
Develop effective systems to keep everyone aligned with your organization’s goals. Monitor management for any collaboration issues or unnecessary silos. And offer extensive training to close any knowledge gaps.
Be proactive. Build a winning team.