What the Election Can Teach Us About Content Strategy
Everybody wants to be a part of this moment in history. Everyone wants to say they were, in part, responsible for changing — or maintaining — what we are so collectively proud of calling our home.
Considering the motivations and social obligations that drive people to the polls, ignite passionately political status updates and spur dutiful participation in discussions every four years is similar to considering what motivates an organization around its content marketing efforts.
Just as everyone is lately a political pundit, every organization has also become a content marketing machine. But now that everyone is on the “content marketing train” (as Paul Schmidt at UpWord put it), how do we keep the train moving?
Thinking Beyond the First 100
Looking back at my Confab lightning talk in May of 2012 on my inaugural days as a content strategist (as acting editor-in-chief of Connective DX’s content marketing efforts, including 5 blogs), it was exciting and satisfying to share the path to building a culture of content within an organization. Not only had I won constituents within the agency, but peers at the conference chatted candidly about their shared challenges in coordinating content across departments.
When change is possible, everyone wants to be a part of it.
But much like the election season sparks a flurry of action and involvement from citizens, rallying a force of content contributors requires a clear plan, leadership, and maintenance – lest it die out. It’s simply not enough to gain periodic teams of constituents; the team must be involved and well-versed in the community throughout the year (or 4, or 8) to maintain any credibility.
A More Perfect Union
This week, we celebrated one successful year of “Team Content” here at Connective DX. And it wasn’t pizza parties, T-shirts, or content audit statistics that kept us going. It was the same factors that motivated thousands of content creators across the country today to share their Election Day experiences:
They’re invested. Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are practically unbearable today – everyone has something to say. But that’s because every single person is passionate about what is at stake. Allow people to write about the things they care about, and the editorial calendar will almost certainly fill right up.
They’re a part of something bigger. As I’ve said, everyone wants to be a part of change. When content contributors understand the impact of their efforts in the bigger picture (i.e. sales revenue attribution) and see those efforts celebrated across the organization, collaboration and prolonged involvement are inherent and shared responsibilities.
They want people to care. Whether or not your Facebook friend Jim blatantly requested you to support his ranting political opinion, he hoped for it. Sharing content is fruitless without an audience that gives a damn, as digital strategist Dave Wieneke put it, and they’ll only give a damn if you know what you’re talking about.
While an infographic or a “How To” post may not necessarily be the key to a revolution, content strategists know the power a good piece of content can have in driving business results. And with so much content out there, letting your contributors write about the stuff they are passionate and knowledgeable about will be more likely to resonate with the team and your audience for the long term.
(photo credit: Brace Yourself Meme)