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How to Find a Job After College: The Ultimate Guide

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College graduation is just around the corner, which means it’s almost speech season. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good graduation speech and all the platitudes that come along with it, but very few of them give guidance on how to find a job after college. 

We want to help. At HubSpot, we’re lucky enough to interview and hire a lot of recent graduates, so I’ve rounded up some advice below based on interviews, applications, and feedback we hear from hiring managers, recruiters, and job candidates alike. And for free templates and tools you can use to put the advice below into practice download this post’s complementary guide here.

But before we dive into how to find a job after college, let’s first shed some light on why the job searching process is so difficult for college graduates. 

Why is it hard to find a job after college?

One of the leading factors that make finding a job after college difficult is fierce competition.

According to Statista, the percentage of the U.S. population that have a 4-year college degree has steadily increased since the 1940s. As of 2020, 38.3% of women and 36.7% of men have completed four years of college or more.

With college degrees becoming more and more common, graduates are finding it difficult to stand out to employers. The competition can be even more intense for college students who either did not complete an internship in their field studies while pursuing their education. 

With that said, here is some advice to make finding a job after college less daunting. 

12 Tips for Finding a Job After College

1. Narrow down your search.

I asked a recent college graduate how many applications he submitted to companies each week as part of his job search. His response was, “As many as I need to get my parents off my back.”

Unfortunately, sending out countless applications isn’t strategic and is typically unsuccessful because:

  • It’s hard to stick out from the pack of other applicants when you’re trying to be all things to all people. 
  • You can’t properly research and follow up with hundreds of job applications. 
  • Juggling too many applications can increase the likelihood of spelling mistakes, misstating goals, or missing scheduled phone screens. 

Instead, I recommend doing enough homework to reasonably target 10-12 companies. This way you’ll have the time and energy to give each application the attention necessary to ensure they’re filled out properly. And you’ll be able to better hone in on the unique skills you’d bring to the job and really stand out to employers.  

2. Talk to 10 people about their jobs.

I recommend scheduling a 30-minute, well-organized and orchestrated phone interview with someone familiar with the company or its field.  

Ask a friend who graduated recently, a neighbor from your hometown, or check in with your career services office to ask for some input. If your immediate network isn’t a great resource, get to work on LinkedIn — identify individuals with job titles that interest you and ask if they would be open to a quick conversation.

Regardless of the field you choose, you are going to spend a lot of time at work, so it’s worth investing the time beforehand to understand what roles will actually be like after you secure the job.

3. Reach out to entry level employees.

You’ll want to focus on selecting people at or close to entry level jobs as they’ll give a much more realistic sense of what your day would be like and what skills you would need to succeed. This step can help you significantly refine your search and align your applications accordingly. 

While it may be tempting to reach out to senior leaders, it would be better to wait until after you have clear context on the types of roles you’re most interested in pursuing.

4. Ask Good Questions. 

Focus on asking questions about what their average day looks like:

  • What do they work on?
  • Are they mostly working alone at a computer or in meetings with other people?
  • How (if at all) do they interact with their boss?
  • What’s the culture at their organization like?
  • What do they like about it and what do they wish they could change?
  • What’s the most important skill to succeed in the job they have, and why?

These types of questions are specific and give you a real sense for what it’s like to actually do a given job.

5. Listen.

Active listening can be the single most effective tool in identifying the right company and role for your skill set.

Ask your professors and advisors if they know alumni working at companies where you could be a good fit. Ask your previous employers for feedback on what you’re best at and what you can do better. The answers to these questions should help inform your job search, but you need to actively listen to make their advice actionable.

Moreover, take good notes during these conversations. I’d recommend creating a Google doc with:

  • The name of the person you’re talking with
  • The company they work for
  • Key takeaways from the call

After these conversations, make clear follow-ups and carve out time after every informational conversation to thank the person who gave you their time.

6. Identify three job tracks and create a playbook for each one.

After your phone calls and interviews help you identify a few roles that really interest you, visit the career site for a few of the companies in your preferred geography that offer the roles you’re seeking. Take note of the specific skills the position demands. 

Many applicants skip this step entirely, but it’s imperative to understand what the hiring managers are seeking and what experience is most relevant to the career paths you’re targeting.

Recognizing that the best hiring managers can screen for potential and skill, you need to craft a compelling narrative for why you are positioned to succeed in a role. Does that mean you need to check every single box? Absolutely not, but you do need a compelling story for why you are uniquely suited to the position.

Far too many people send the same resume for multiple positions that require very different skills and experiences. 

To avoid this, my recommendation is to fill in the blanks of this sentence before you start on a resume or cover letter: “I would be a great (_______________) because I have _________, ________, and _______ skills as evidenced by my work with ___________ and _____________.” 

This may seem elementary, but when you’re in the thick of a job search it’s easy to get lazy and ship the same materials to everyone. Creating a clear, concise summary of why you are positioned to succeed in a given role is a great foundation for the materials you’ll create next before applying.

7. Craft compelling application materials that tell your story.

Far too many people treat creating their resume, cover letter, and any other necessary application materials as a chore to be completed or a checklist to be generated. In reality, recruiters and hiring managers scan through hundreds if not thousands of resumes on a weekly basis, so make their lives easier by creating a truly compelling narrative on your interest in the role. 

Telling a great story doesn’t mean filling every square inch of space on a page. In fact, the best resumes and cover letters use spacing, italics, and bold text to make the materials more readily digestible and enjoyable to read for the hiring manager.

When it comes to crafting your narrative for applications, don’t underestimate the role of activities outside of work: You don’t need a formal internship or summer job to show that you’re interested in and capable of blogging, or a seasoned job in sales to show that you’re passionate about engaging people.

Did you blog for your college admissions office to help recruit incoming students? You should include that experience if you’re applying for a marketing, recruiting, or human resources position.

Did you use iMovie to create videos for your university’s theater program? Learn enough code to launch a website for your parents’ restaurant? If you’re applying for any role in technical support, design, or engineering, incorporate it.

Far too many people underestimate the role activities outside the classroom can play in demonstrating your potential and drive, so don’t overlook these experiences when you’re crafting your story.

8. Google yourself.

Most hiring managers will run a quick Google search before reaching out to you for a phone screen, so Google yourself before you start applying for jobs and ask yourself what story your online presence tells. If it doesn’t align with the narrative you’re using in your job applications, invest the time and energy to change it. 

Your online presence should reflect your personal and professional interests, and with the proliferation of free publishing forums (from LinkedIn to Medium to About.me), you have no excuse not to put them to work on your behalf in the job search process.

For example, let’s say you are interested in applying to Wistia, an online video hosting platform and one of our neighboring companies here in Boston. How could you convey a passion for video if you’re not an editor, producer, or director? 

You could share remarkable videos you see online as a consumer, or blog about how video marketing can influence the sales process. You can also incorporate your previous experience with video on your LinkedIn profile, or tweet articles covering recent brand video launches, among other things.

Be honest about what your current digital footprint says about your candidacy, and then invest some time and energy to change it from a liability to an asset before you start sending your resume out.

9. Apply thoughtfully.

Before you hit submit, triple-check everything for spelling, syntax, and grammar. Everyone knows someone with a particularly good eye for catching mistakes — pay them in lunch or coffee to help you do a final check of your materials before you ship them. Don’t let a spelling or grammatical mistake be the reason you don’t land a job. 

Also, be sure that you have the right details in the right applications. Create separate folders on your computer for each company so that you don’t proudly state how excited you are to work at Company X when your application is for Company Y.

Once you hit submit, you’re not done yet. I recommend creating a Google spreadsheet with tabs for each of the job types you’re applying for, along with the name of the company you applied to, the date you applied, a link to the job on the careers site (so you can reference it easily if asked down the line), as well as the name of the hiring manager or recruiter if available.

This quick exercise makes follow-up a breeze. If you haven’t heard back within a week, sending an email to your contact to politely check in and ask if there is anything you can do to support your candidacy is a great way to show interest without being overbearing. 

Logging everything (including return phone calls, informational screens, and rejection emails alike) in one document will also minimize embarrassing gaffes such as applying for multiple positions at the same company or missing a scheduled informational interview. Plus, having a centralized location means it’ll be much easier for you to react if something unexpected comes up, such as if a hiring manager calls you to discuss the role in depth.

10. Respect the process.

Treat every element of the entire candidate experience like a formal interview. A recruiter calling you to role-play what it’s like to work on our services team? That’s part of the job audition. The emails the hiring manager sends you with details on what to expect in the interview? Your response and timeliness are part of the interview process as well. 

If you’re taking a phone call from the company, find a quiet place to talk, answer the phone appropriately, and thank the hiring manager or recruiting coordinator for making the time to connect with you.

Part of respecting the process is really doing your homework. Here’s a checklist to consider when you’re doing your research:

  • Can you describe, clearly and concisely, what the company does to make money and the problem they are solving in the market?
  • Have you visited their leadership page to understand the backgrounds of people running the company and how the organization is organized?
  • Did you check out interview questions along with recent candidate experience reviews on Glassdoor to check out what people are saying about the company so you can ask better questions when you meet with current employees?
  • Can you reference any recent news the company announced on its company news page, investor relations site, or blog?
  • Have you followed the company on one or more social media channels so you can see how the organization positions itself in the market?
  • If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, have you checked out the LinkedIn profiles of everyone you’re meeting with so you know their role and tenure at the company?

It’s important to treat every interaction with the company and its hiring team with the highest degree of professionalism and consideration. Visiting a company’s website on the train en route to the interview does not constitute research. 

If you expect an organization to invest in you, invest two hours to properly understand its products, people, and value proposition so you can tailor your approach and responses accordingly.

11. Pass the receptionist test with flying colors.

No one wants to work with a jerk, and if you’re rude or dismissive of the person who greets you upon arrival for an interview, chances are you’re not the type of person I want to be in the trenches with on a daily basis. Plus, receptionists usually have the ear of top executives, so if you underestimate them, it could cost you.

Treat everyone you interact with at the company as though they are your interviewer. People don’t want to work with anyone who can’t make time for general pleasantries. 

In fact, when the co-founder of Warby Parker, Neil Blumenthal, appeared on The Growth Show, he said their entire organization screens heavily for empathy and humility in the hiring process. As Blumenthal correctly pointed out, you spend most of your waking life with coworkers, so hiring people who are jerks just creates “culture debt” — a huge price that your organization has to repay for years to come.

So be nice and gracious to everyone you meet: It will pay off for many years to come.

12. Know how to accept and negotiate an offer.

If you make it through the interview experience and are lucky enough to be offered a job, don’t botch your hard work at the one-yard line.

Instead, start off by thanking the company for the offer and asking clarifying questions to better understand the role you’re being offered, the team you’ll be joining, and the salary and benefits associated with the job. Typically, you’ll receive a call from a hiring manager or recruiter with this information, and then ask for the offer to be sent in writing. 

I generally recommend that people profusely thank their interviewer, then ask for a day to review the offer in detail and return with any questions you may have. Doing so ensures they know you are interested and gives you time to pour over the materials in depth to formulate good questions to ask of your potential employer.

For an entry-level position, you have to strike a balance between negotiating a fair deal and being a high-maintenance hire. I recommend formulating a list of your questions then reviewing the materials a second time to ensure that the answers aren’t contained in the information they sent for you. 

You want to ask questions that are thoughtful, insightful, and reflect what matters most to you. In other words, if your base salary is the most important factor in your job decision, invest most of your time on the phone asking clarifying questions — not on how much vacation time you will have.

There is no better time than the present to pursue the job and career track you love, but it’s not going to fall in your lap. Follow the guide above to narrow your search, target your prospects, and prepare yourself for the application and interview process. It’s an investment of time and energy well worth making — one that will pay dividends for your entire career. 

Apply for a job, keep track of important information, and prepare for an  interview with the help of this free job seekers kit.

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Five questions for our new CMO, Shafqat Islam

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Five questions for our new CMO, Shafqat Islam



Alex Atzberger: Now that you’ve stepped into the CMO role, what are you looking forward to?   

Shafqat Islam: It’s amazing to take on this role at both a category creator and leader. How many brands can be a leader in almost every category–think Experimentation and CMS–that we play in?  

And we have so much to look forward to and build on. We have an exceptional team of marketing leaders and practitioners. They are fiercely intelligent, optimistic, and care deeply about what our products can *do* for our customers. Not just for the people who will encounter the marketing, retail, and product experiences that we support, but for the people who build them. As somebody who has both built products and been deeply immersed in marketing, I love the perspective that our team has.  

Alex Atzberger: What makes Optimizely unique?   

Shafqat Islam: First off, we’re category creators in experimentation and content management, both CMS and CMP. Marketers know this, and analysts know it, as something like 7 major analyst reports will tell you.  

Martech is a crowded field, so it’s true that there are a lot of firms whose territory overlaps with some of ours. But show me another company that can handle the entire content lifecycle like we can. Or show me another company that can do both feature flagging and experimentation.  

We also have a legendary legacy in the martech world. Before I joined, I knew that A/B testing and Optimizely were synonymous, and that the company’s roots go all the way back to the origins of the practice. And that’s something that is like common folklore in marketing and technology.  

And more than anything, the 1500 people who work here are world-class. 

Alex Atzberger: Being a CMO talking to other CMOs and marketing leaders is an advantage. You know the customer. But you’ve also built tech products. How does that affect your work now?  

Shafqat Islam: I’ve spent the majority of my adult life building products for marketers. So I’ve been lucky to spend so much time talking to CMOs and marketers in almost every type of company all over the world. As the founder/CEO of Welcome, my approach was to solve marketer challenges by building products. But now as CMO, I get to use the products we build.  

We’re practitioners of all of our own solutions, so in addition to the natural empathy I have for marketers, I am also close to the job’s unique challenges every day. There’s nothing like that to keep you sharp and keep you close to the customer.  

As a product builder, I knew we must always speak to business outcomes. But as CMO, I love that we aren’t just talking about the solutions – we’re living them, too.  

Because I was an entrepreneur for so long, I also bring another unique view – my willingness to take smart risks. I love to try things, even if (especially if?) the results are sometimes surprising. When it comes to experimentation, there are no failures, only learnings. 

Alex Atzberger: What are the biggest challenges you’re hearing from our customers, current and future?  

Shafqat Islam: Growth, especially given how tough it is out there for so many industries. The stakes are very high when it comes to creating experiences that will win and retain customers. That’s what all of our customers–especially the retail heavyweights-are thinking about.  

And marketing and technology leaders need to do this with leaner budgets. Efficiency matters a lot right now, and that means not only reducing the costs you can see, like the price tag attached to software, but also the costs you can’t see right away, like how much time and money it takes to manage a set of solutions. With that said, in tough times, I think the strongest brands can not just survive but also thrive. I also think when others are fearful, that may be the time to invest aggressively. 

And in the background of all this, there is still the ever-expanding list of customer touchpoints. This is simultaneously an exciting challenge for marketers and an exciting opportunity. More data means more effective storytelling– if you can use it right.

I also hear marketers when they say there’s a need for a shared space for collaboration among us. The role of the marketer is expansive, and it’s only getting more complicated. Building a community where we can come together and appreciate our shared goals is difficult, but I’m optimistic that we’re moving in the right direction.  

Alex Atzberger: What is next in our space? What will marketing and technology leaders be talking about six months from now?  

Shafqat Islam: Looking around now, it’s clear that 2023 will be the year that AI-generated content goes mainstream. We’re just starting to see the uses and the consequences of this. There’s already buzz about ChatGPT and its capabilities, and platforms are already making space to integrate AI functionality into their offerings. It could be an exciting way for users to become better equipped to create and share high-quality content.  

Customers also have gotten very used to personalization. Every screen they see daily is personalized, whether it’s their Netflix account or social feeds. So, when I see a site that isn’t personalized, I kind of scratch my head and wonder, why? With personalization now the norm, expectations for digital creators are sky-high.

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What to Consider When Choosing a Brand Ambassador for Your Social Media Campaign

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What to Consider When Choosing a Brand Ambassador for Your Social Media Campaign

Want to maximize the potential of your social media campaign? Then you must ensure to choose the right brand ambassador for the job. Having a good ambassador will increase your social media reach and boost sales. But, selecting the best ambassador can be tricky.

This guide will show you the key steps to consider when selecting the perfect brand ambassador for your social media campaign. From assessing their influence to ensuring their content matches your brand’s mission. This guide will give you the insights you need to make the right decision.

Understanding the role of a brand ambassador

A brand ambassador acts as a company representative, promoting the brand’s products to a specific audience. They are selected for their influence and ability to communicate the brand’s message. Their primary goal is to increase brand awareness and engagement with the audience.

To achieve this, an ambassador shares the brand’s message and builds connections with the target audience. They help to establish trust and credibility for the brand by personally endorsing it through their own experiences. Also, they provide valuable feedback to the company, allowing for product improvements.

Tips for choosing the right ambassador for your social media campaign

1) Assess the credibility and influence of potential ambassadors.

One of the first steps is to ensure they have a very active social media presence. Make sure they have many followers and a high engagement rate. Check the number of followers they have and the type of posts they share. This will give you a good idea of the content they generate and let you know if they are a good fit for your campaign.

Make sure their posts are relevant and appropriate for your brand. If their content is not a good fit, you may want to reconsider hiring them for your campaign. This is important if your brand has a particular message you wish to convey to your audience. If their content is not in line with your brand’s values, it could have a negative effect on your brand’s image.

2) Analyze the compatibility between the ambassador’s content and your brand’s mission.

It’s common to think that a famous ambassador would be a good fit for your campaign. But if their content is not in line with your brand, they are not an option. You may want to go further and check the interaction between their posts and followers. If the interaction is very high and followers actively participate, this is a good indicator of the quality of the ambassador. This will show how much impact the ambassador has among their followers. The interaction of the followers with the ambassador’s posts is important, as it is a good way for them to get to know your brand better.

3) Make sure the ambassador is present on the right social networks.

If your brand uses more than one type of social media, you should ensure the ambassador is present on them. You can choose an ambassador who is active on most of the major social networks. But, you must ensure they have an appropriate presence on each platform.

For example, it may not be a good idea to select an ambassador who is primarily active on Instagram for a Facebook-centric campaign. Remember that followers on each platform are different, and it’s important to reach your desired audience. If the ambassador you choose is present on the right social media platform, it will be easier for them to reach your audience.

4) Set expectations and establish the terms of the partnership.

Once you have selected an ambassador and they have agreed to collaborate with your brand, set the terms of the collaboration. Set clear expectations and tell the ambassador precisely what you want them to do. This includes specifying the type of content that should be posted. It is also important to outline the kind of connection that should be fostered between their followers and your company.

Also, be sure to establish payment terms and any other essential partnership details. For example, if you want the ambassador to promote your brand at a specific event, let them know so they can prepare.

5) Consider brand ambassadors who have experience participating in events.

A brand ambassador with experience working at events and comfortable interacting with customers can be a valuable asset to your campaign. They will be able to promote your brand and products at events and help to build a positive image for your company.

Find a brand ambassador who is professional and comfortable in a high-energy environment. This will ensure they can effectively represent your brand and engage with customers at events. Hire an event staffing agency to ensure the event runs smoothly and let brand ambassadors focus on promoting the brand and connecting with the audience.

6) Complete the selection and onboarding process

Make sure you select an available ambassador with the right skills for your campaign. Verify that the ambassador’s availability matches your campaign schedule.

It’s a good idea to start interacting with the ambassador on social media. It will help you establish a strong relationship, making promoting your brand more accessible. Show the audience that they have rallied behind your brand and thank them for their support.

7) Follow-up and evaluation of the ambassador’s success

Once the campaign is over, follow up with the ambassador to test its success. Ask the ambassador if your promotion has been effective and get their feedback on the campaign. This is an excellent way to improve your campaign the next time you run it. It will also help you identify areas where you can improve your social media strategy.

You can test the success of your social media campaign by looking at three main factors: reach, engagement, and conversions. By considering these factors, you can determine the success of your social media campaign. Also, you can identify any areas that need improvement.

Conclusion

Brands use brand ambassadors to increase engagement and sales of their products. An ambassador has a large following and regularly interacts with your audience. When selecting an ambassador, consider factors such as their social media presence and the ability to communicate your brand’s message. Taking the time to choose the proper brand ambassador will ensure the success of your social media campaign.

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Content Operations Framework: How To Build One

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Content Operations Framework: How To Build One

More and more marketers of all ilk – inbound, outbound, social, digital, content, brand – are asked to add content operations to their list of responsibilities.

You must get your arms around:

  • Who is involved (and, I mean, every who) in content creation
  • How content is created
  • What content is created by whom
  • Where content is conceived, created, and stored
  • When and how long it takes for content to happen
  • Why content is created (the driving forces behind content creation)
  • What kinds of content does the audience want
  • How to build a framework to bring order and structure to all of this

The evolving expectations mean content marketers can no longer focus only on the output of their efforts. They must now also consider, construct, implement, and administer the framework for content operations within their organizations.

#Content marketers can no longer focus solely on the output. It’s time to add content ops to the mix, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

What exactly are content operations?

Content operations are the big-picture view of everything content-related within your organization, from strategy to creation, governance to effectiveness measurement, and ideation to content management. All too frequently at the companies – large and small – we consult with at The Content Advisory, content operations are left to evolve/happen in an organic fashion.

Teams say formal content operations aren’t necessary because “things are working just fine.”

Translation: Nobody wants the task of getting everyone aligned. No one wants to deal with multiple teams’ rationale for why the way they do things is the right/best/only way to do it. So, content teams just go on saying everything is fine.

News flash – it’s not.

It’s not just about who does what when with content.

Done right, content operations enable efficacy and efficiency of processes, people, technologies, and cost. Content ops are essential for strategic planning, creation, management, and analysis for all content types across all channels (paid, earned, owned) and across the enterprise from ideation to archive.

A formal, documented, enforced content operation framework powers and empowers a brand’s ability to deliver the best possible customer experiences throughout the audiences’ journeys.

A documented, enforced #ContentOperations framework powers a brand’s ability to deliver the best possible experiences, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

It doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds.

What holds many content, administrative, and marketing teams back from embracing a formal content operations strategy and framework is one of the biggest, most challenging questions for anything new: “Where do we start?”

Here’s some help in high-level, easy-to-follow steps.

1. Articulate the purpose of content

Purpose is why the team does what it does. It’s the raison d’etre and inspiration for everything that follows. In terms of content, it drives all content efforts and should be the first question asked every time content is created or updated. Think of it as the guiding star for all content efforts.

In Start With Why, author Simon Sinek says it succinctly: “All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.”

All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year, says @SimonSinek via @CathyMcKnight and @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

2. Define the content mission

Once the purpose of the teams’ content efforts is clear (and approved), it’s time to define your content mission. Is your content’s mission to attract recruits? Build brand advocacy? Deepen relationships with customers? Do you have buy-in from the organization, particularly the C-suite? This is not about identifying what assets will be created.

Can you talk about your mission with clarity? Have you created a unique voice or value proposition? Does it align with or directly support a higher, corporate-level objective and/or message? Hint: It should.

Answering all those questions solidifies your content mission.


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3. Set and monitor a few core objectives and key results

Once your content mission is in place, it is time to set out how to determine success.

Content assets are called assets for a reason; they possess real value and contribute to the profitability of your business. Accordingly, you need to measure their efficacy. One of the best ways is to set OKRs – objectives and key results. OKRs are an effective goal-setting and leadership tool for communicating objectives and milestones to achieve them.

OKRs typically identify the objective – an overall business goal to achieve – and three to five key quantifiable, objective, measurable outcomes. Finally, establish checkpoints to ensure the ultimate objective is reached.

Let’s say you set an objective to implement an enterprise content calendar and collaboration tool. Key results to track might include:

  • Documenting user and technical requirements
  • Researching, demonstrating, and selecting a tool
  • Implementing and rolling out the tool.

You would keep tabs on elements/initiatives, such as securing budget and approvals, defining requirements, working through procurement, and so on.

One more thing: Make sure OKRs are verifiable by defining the source and metric that will provide the quantifiable, measurable result.

Make sure objectives and key results are verifiable by defining source and metric, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

4. Organize your content operations team

With the OKRs set, you need people to get the work done. What does the structure look like? Who reports to whom?

Will you use a centralized command-and-control approach, a decentralized but-supported structure, or something in between? The team structure and organization must work within the construct and culture of the larger organization.

Here’s a sample organizational chart we at TCA developed for a Fortune 50 firm. At the top is the content function before it diverges into two paths – one for brand communications and one for a content center of excellence.

Under brand communications is each brand or line of business followed by these jointly connected teams: content – marcom, social/digital content development and management, center of excellence content – creative leader, center of excellence PR/media relations, customer relationship management, and social advertising.

Under the content center of excellence is the director of content strategy, manager of content traffic, projects, and planning, digital asset operations manager, audience manager, social channel and content specialist, creative manager, content performance and agility specialist, and program specialist.

Click to enlarge

5. Formalize a governance model

No matter how the operational framework is built, you need a governance model. Governance ensures your content operations follow agreed-upon goals, objectives, and standards.

Get a senior-management advocate – ideally someone from the C-suite – to preside over setting up your governance structure. That’s the only way to get recognition and budget.

To stay connected to the organization and its content needs, you should have an editorial advisory group – also called an editorial board, content committee, or keeper of the content keys. This group should include representatives from all the functional groups in the business that use the content as well as those intricately involved in delivering the content. The group should provide input and oversight and act as touchpoints to the rest of the organization.

Pointing to Simon Sinek again for wisdom here: “Passion alone can’t cut it. For passion to survive, it needs structure. A why without how has little probability of success.”

6. Create efficient processes and workflows

Adherence to the governance model requires a line of sight into all content processes.

How is content generated from start to finish? You may find 27 ways of doing it today. Ideally, your goal would be to have the majority (70% or more) of your content – infographic, advertisement, speech for the CEO, etc. – created the same or in a similar way.

You may need to do some leg work to understand how many ways content is created and published today, including:

  • Who is involved (internal and external resources)
  • How progress is tracked
  • Who the doers and approvers are
  • What happens to the content after it’s completed

Once documented, you can streamline and align these processes into a core workflow, with allowances for outlier and ad-hoc content needs and requests.

This example of a simple approval process for social content (developed for a global, multi-brand CPG company) includes three tiers. The first tier covers the process for a social content request. Tier two shows the process for producing and scheduling the content, and tier three shows the storage and success measurement for that content:

Click to enlarge

7. Deploy the best-fit technology stack

How many tools are you using? Many organizations grow through acquisitions, so they inherit duplicate or overlapping functionality within their content stacks. There might be two or three content management systems (CMS) and several marketing automation platforms.

Do a technology audit, eliminate redundancies, and simplify where possible. Use the inherent capabilities within the content stack to automate where you can. For example, if you run a campaign on the first Monday of every month, deploy technology to automate that process.

The technology to support your content operations framework doesn’t have to be fancy. An Excel spreadsheet is an acceptable starting place and can be one of your most important tools.

The goal is to simplify how content happens. What that looks like can vary greatly between organizations or even between teams within an organization.

Adopting a robust content operations framework requires cultural, technological, and organizational changes. It requires sponsorship from the very top of the organization and adherence to corporate goals at all levels of the organization.

None of it is easy – but the payoff is more than worth it.

Updated from a November 2021 post.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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