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It’s easy to think about creating great content like an epic battle. You are the hero storming the hills of relevance and SEO to break into the castle of results and plunder the treasure of leads. Epic tales are spun about that one hero like Hercules, Jon Snow, Luke Skywalker, and Mr. Rogers.
The thing about that is, a hero stands alone and fails because of it. The real victory comes as a team; it comes from collaboration. Hercules suffered in the end, Luke Skywalker fell into the trap of hubris, and we all know something bad is going to happen to Jon Snow. Mr. Rogers is the exception that proves every rule, is a great man, and everyone should love him.
Think like the Fellowship of the Ring and work as a team together to produce the desired results. In our case, instead of throwing a ring into a pit of lava, it’s generating leads. The best content is a collaborative effort between our clients and us. It doesn’t matter how much research we’ve done, how well we know their business and their industry, or how much history I have in that industry. We at Mojo bring our perspective, our experience as dedicated marketers and our best practices. Our clients bring their vast expertise as subject matter experts in their industry, their historical knowledge of what has and hasn’t worked before Mojo, and they live the voice and tone of their company.
Together we create the best content, that checks all the marketing boxes, while offering the necessary expertise and context with the right voice. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of living through some amazing examples of this, as well as writing some great content on partnerships. Let's break down how we make this happen.
The Marketing Details
Creating content for marketing purposes follows a set of concrete rules as well as a plethora of guidelines that are much less rigid. When working with our clients it is my job as the Brand Journalist (or Brand Authority Journalist if you will), to bring these rules to bear. To use them to create content that has the appropriate keywords, in the right structure and in a way that will draw in inbound viewers and catch the attention of potential leads as we promote the content.
Where we really start to really collaborate is working to fit the necessary industry terms, quirks and personality into the pieces and filter it through the lens of marketing best practices. Whether that’s ensuring the content is the right length (either long enough or short enough), as well as still weighing industry terms versus necessary keywords when they don’t align (I’m looking at you HIPAA compliance).
We use our experience as marketing content writers to finesse the pieces in ways that get the best views and in a way, so they come together as part of our larger strategy and lead people through the buyer’s journey. Laying seeds that raise our client’s value to prospects and answer audience pain points.
We start most content pieces with an interview where I work to create questions that guide the conversation in a way where I can check the boxes on the necessary marketing rules. Each interview is more of a collaborative process than a Q&A session, at least that’s how they feel to me. They allow me to explore the topic with an SME, getting in the weeds to learn more and find out what’s most important to convey. As I’m writing the piece, I take the interview, additional research, and our campaign strategy and write to meet our marketing goals.
Marketing details are just the first part of collaboration.
The Content Details
I can do all of the research in the world, I could read about an industry until I’m blue in the face (wouldn’t that be impressive?), but our clients know the nuances of the industry. Those little things that you can only know when you’ve lived through something.
A great analogy is becoming a first-time parent… I’m sure. I’m not a parent, so I’m going to have to go with a different example. It’s the nuance of playing poker and knowing poker. Sure you can bluff an opponent and win a hand after doing some research, but understanding how to float a range, and outplay your opponent based on odds and payout takes a lot more knowledge. More than anything you can’t get a read on what your opponent has until you’ve played a few thousand hands.
We rely on collaborating to understand and learn these little nuances over time. In content interviews, these are the little things I’m looking for. Those little moments where I can start to make a marketing piece that’s authentic hits the right notes and is nuanced in the right way. Some of these nuances are going to be for the industry (looking right back at you HIPAA compliance), and some are individual to the client, their company and the personality of their team.
How Collaboration Evolves
The beauty of these collaborative efforts is that they start to evolve. I’ve been with Mojo for nine months now and have clients we rarely interview anymore. When we do interview, it’s to dive deep into their industry and services. We flesh out ideas that are more complex and focused so they’re not only accurate and credible, but properly targeted to the right audience.
I’ve learned their nuances, and they’ve learned the marketing rules I have to follow. Our conversations are quick, and we spend more time focused on discussing an overall strategy for our future content pieces. I’ve been able to learn the little nuances because I’ve started to live them. I’ve played a few thousand poker hands. When this happens, we enter a new stage where we can truly finesse our strategies to a deeper level and riff off each other in different ways.
I can’t finish this blog without mentioning the purely fun side of content creation as well. This mostly falls into “delight” content. Things that are meant to engage with existing customers in fun ways that don’t disrupt our other strategies. Collaborating on holiday posts, especially April Fools, are some of the high points of my job. Yes, these are mostly fun, lower priority projects, but they can lead to some amazing interaction and engage with a client’s existing customers and get them truly excited to continue to buy some amazing services and products.
Together We Win
I know this is getting a little sappy, but I can’t help it. Creating content through collaboration is exciting because I know it means that my work is stronger and generating better results. It all fits into the marketing strategy, where we generate the MQLs and our clients close their sales.
We do the work together, enable each other and frankly, find success together.
James Elhardt has spent time in his career working in social media, event marketing, brand management, content creation, and account management. His true love is content creation and writing, working with brands and digging into what makes them resonate in the marketplace. He went to the University of Minnesota and graduated with a major in Journalism, and a minor in Photography. When James is not working he is likely playing board games with friends, playing a competitive tabletop game with little tiny spaceships, or spending time with his family and their pack of dogs.
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