6 ways to energize your content marketing team

Deborah Holstein

May 3, 2017

73% of businesses will produce more original content this coming year, even though half only have small content marketing teams. Boosting team size is an expensive solution, so how do you ensure your content team has the time and energy to continue churning out high quality, relevant content?

The key to improving your team’s ability to produce great content consistently is better protection for their creativity. Here are six ways to reduce the time your creative team spends on non-creative work and boost your content marketing program in unexpected ways.

1. Aim for more creative, less process

Nearly three-quarters of workers feel increasing pressure to be productive versus creative. We all have deadlines to meet, but if your team doesn’t have space to think and engage in new experiences, their creativity will suffer. Unfamiliar experiences can contribute to a 50% increase in creativity, while small environmental changes like lowering the lights or adding some ambient noise can also help. As a leader, ensure your team knows they are free to fan their creativity by introducing new experiences to your environment and mindsets.

2. Encourage more risk-taking

When the pressure is on to get more content to market, why try new things that may not work? But sticking with the tried and trusted will not inspire your creative team. Adobe encourages experimentation with red boxes containing money and guidelines for developing new product ideas. You may not be able to go that big, but you can help your team think outside the box by using the phrase “yes, and…” instead of “yes, but…” in your next brainstorm and see what a little word change can do for your creativity.

3. Be inspired by your vendors

Big organizations typically have set processes that external contractors and agencies follow. But smaller businesses with fewer resources often rely on innovative processes and technologies to help them compete. A freelance photographer introduced Drake Cooper to Hightail, which helped the digital agency improve its review process for visual files and launch social content for clients in a fraction of the time. Explore how your vendors do things and you too might discover a transformative productivity breakthrough.

4. Focus on telling great stories

Best practices for specific content or media types, like 30 seconds being the optimal length for a social video, are useful to know. But ultimately audiences are engaged by great stories, so that’s where your focus should be. Dollar Shave Club’s brilliant Our blades are f***ing great commercial is 93 seconds long and it helped the startup generate 12,000 new orders within two days of its YouTube launch. Be prepared to push the envelope in the pursuit of an amazing story and maybe your team’s innovation will end up rewriting the rules.

5. Distinguish between discussion and direction

Debate over the creative direction and details of content is always good. But be prepared to leave the final decision to the expert designer, video producer or writer you’ve empowered to create it, while being clear when something is not up for discussion. Video production professional Tim Rose advises his clients to use language like “This needs to be…” to note when a comment is a definitive directive and not a conversation starter. This kind of transparency saves both parties a lot of time and added stress.

6. Review your work in different environments

Most content teams will view the images they create on top end monitors and listen to music on high fidelity speakers. Yet your audience may not have access to such quality hardware. Audio engineer Chad Wahlbrink listens to his mixes through an iPhone as that’s how many people will hear the music he creates. The same applies for written content, which you should always review as part of the design, layout and accompanying images to ensure the entire piece works in context.

Use these six tips to free your creative teams from the burden of too much process. By encouraging them to be bold and easing the pathway for better collaboration, you’ll help your organization consistently deliver engaging content that drives business results.

An amended version of this article originally appeared on CMI.

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