Connect with us


Want to Scale Your Content Strategy? Hiring Isn’t the Answer



Want to Scale Your Content Strategy? Hiring Isn't the Answer

If you ask an actor or screenwriter about their career goals, they’ll almost all say, “But what I really want to do is direct.” Or so goes the Hollywood trope.

Ironically, the director participates the least in the creative work. A director’s role isn’t to write, act, play music, edit, or even point a camera. The director’s job is to direct the individual artists’ contributions to the film product.

Yes, some directors do double duty by writing or acting in their films or shows. But the director’s function remains clear: Guide, enable, and manage a team of storytellers to efficiently produce powerfully engaging work.

Successful directors shape the work of hundreds of independent artists so effectively the resulting film sings with one clear voice. The words, pictures, actors, costumes, music, and editing mesh so completely that removing any of them would pull the entire piece apart.

Transcendent directors do this so successfully that their signature style shines through even when they use different individual contributors for each project.

This idea of the director role came to me as I talked with the head of content at a B2B technology company recently. She told me that her content studio had earned enough respect within the business that they’re considered the go-to team for getting something written or designed well.

But she’s frustrated that most people considered them just the team that produces “good words and pictures.” She wants the team to play a more important role. So, she asked me, “How do we become more strategic to the business without adding more head count? How can we take on more content?”

Without a doubt, scalability is the biggest challenge I see among businesses trying to succeed with content marketing. The ability to “create enough content” gets mentioned as one of the top challenges in our content marketing research year after year.

Somehow, adding more writers, designers, podcasters, and other skilled staff never seems to solve that challenge.

Here’s the thing: The ability to grow doesn’t lie in the capability to produce enough content.

To scale, a content strategy team must be more than the collection of skilled creators of “good words” or “good pictures.” The content team’s purpose must be more than to create great assets.

It must also enable every other part of the business to do the same. What you need is a team that really wants to direct.

Your #content team must have a purpose beyond creating great content assets to be truly strategic, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Why you’ll never create ‘enough’ content

One of the biggest strategy mistakes I see is to equate establishing a content strategy with building a content studio filled with talented writers, designers, and multimedia specialists.

Even when there’s one person who manages the team, many in the business consider it a collection of individual contributors whose roles are to produce assets as efficiently as possible.

Spoiler alert: This approach rarely works. Why? Because businesses can’t get ahead of the content need.

Call this Robert’s Law of Content: The need for content expands in direct proportion to the number of resources allotted to it.

The need for #content expands in direct proportion to the number of resources allotted, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

An intelligent content strategy in modern business isn’t about creating a siloed group of individual content contributors.

Instead, it’s about creating a team whose role is that of a director. Everyone on the team should be focused on helping create, guide, and enable the entire organization to tell a consistent story.

“Now wait just a doggone second,” you say. “How can a team of people all act as a director? Isn’t the director one person?”

Yes, that’s true. I mean that the function of a content strategy team is like that of the modern movie director.

The team isn’t there to provide any single content creation skill on demand. It exists to enable the broader organization to develop and integrate its messages into a common voice.

Like any seasoned director, the team also may do double duty as writers, editors, or designers. But that’s not their primary purpose.

They’re not simply providers of words that a sales professional copies and pastes, attaches to an email, or uploads to a website to create and deliver value to a customer, for example.

They should guide, shape, and develop the sales professional’s ability to deliver the best story regardless of who creates it. Occasionally, that might be someone on the content strategy team.

But an integrated, enterprise content strategy must work like a film project – it’s a director’s medium. The only way to truly scale is to shape, guide, and, yes, direct everyone in the business to do their part in telling the brand’s stories in one voice.

The only way to scale an enterprise #ContentStrategy is to direct everyone in the business to do their part in telling the brand’s stories, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

My advice to any content leader looking to scale a team and become more strategic is to buy every team member a shirt that says, “But what I really want to do is direct.”

Then, start coaching the team to stop acting as an internal content production studio and start directing all enterprise content regardless of who creates it.

5 strategic enterprise content strategy roles

To facilitate this evolution of a content strategy, you need a new team charter that defines the content strategy team’s roles, responsibilities, and functions.

I see five primary responsibilities for the team. Each balances individual contribution with skills to foster in the broader organization.

5 strategic enterprise content strategy roles: Planning and prioritization, creation and management, scheduling and distribution, insights and improvement, and publishing and promotion.

1. Strategy: Planning and prioritization

This piece is missing in most content strategies where the team is seen as individual contributors. “Random acts of content” happen when no team accepts the role of leading the planning and prioritizing for which content will be produced and when.

A great director provides a consistent storyboard, shot calendar, timeline, and plan so everybody knows what gets created and when. Likewise, a content team must help the business with setting content objectives, distributing resources, and balancing priorities and business needs.

2. Content creation and management

This step is the most misunderstood because it’s the one most people think they understand. (“It’s just creating the assets as they’re needed, right?” No, it isn’t.)

Once you have prioritization, scheduling, and resource planning under control, the process becomes less linear yet more efficient.

Does that seem confusing? Think of it this way: A movie director might send one team off to shoot what’s called b-roll. (Think establishing shots, crowd shots, or filler shots that establish context).

This kind of filming can happen any time (not just as needed) because everything is planned out. The director describes what’s required but doesn’t have to provide it or even be present when these scenes are filmed.

Likewise, a great content manager might lead (but not create) content captured by someone in account services. The assets the account services staff captures can be remixed into case studies, marketing pieces, advertising, thought leadership, and so on. The person in account services knows what to produce because the content team member provided a complete “shot list,” set of interview questions, etc.

3. Merchandising: Internal scheduling and distribution

Merchandising is another area missing from many content strategies. Most companies conflate the idea of content assets and digital assets. They think, “We’ve created X e-books, web pages, and emails, so we’ve created X content assets.”

So much time ends up wasted by having to “undo” digital assets to retrieve content for repurposing.

One of the most critical roles on a film set is the production asset manager. That person ensures every asset (film, audio, video, photos, and so on) gets tagged and routed to the artists who need to create content with it.

Likewise, a great content strategy team ensures that both raw content and the resulting digital assets are easily findable, routed correctly, and available ready for reuse, repurposing, and activation.


4. Activation: Publishing and promotion

The responsibility here is not just completing the asset and saying, “Here it is.”

Equally important is the broad communication that it’s available and the plan for distributing it. While film producers (studios) typically promote a film, directors often have creative input into the marketing, trailer, and sometimes distribution.

A strategic content team also should ensure assets get launched appropriately.

5. Measurement: Insight and improvement

This final responsibility may seem, at first, to be the furthest from the director metaphor. Certainly, business content should be evaluated based on how well it was activated, promoted, and used. That usually means the responsibility should lie within whichever function of the business was responsible for distributing and using the content created.

You may be surprised to learn how much technology, data, and measurement processes are used on film productions to create more efficient scheduling, creation, and post-production efforts.

Likewise, the content team should, at the very least, be squarely focused on an efficient and effective lifecycle of content creation, management, production, and distribution.

Content strategy as artful, efficient production

These five responsibilities form the core of a content strategy. In addition to being a creative engine for artful experiences, a functional content strategy guides the entire process of content.

The team sets standards, develops playbooks, molds the scripts, chooses the lenses, fosters the talent, guides the process, and helps structure the output.

Like a movie, television, or stage director, your content team may sometimes, but not always, serve as the storyteller. But it should always, not just sometimes, enable everyone in the company to tell the business’s stories.

Once your team accepts its role as the “director” of enterprise content, it can start influencing vision, words, story, and experience to deliver on a business strategy poised for box office success.


Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news (in just three minutes)

Want to learn how to balance, manage, and scale great content experiences across all your essential platforms and channels? Join us at ContentTECH Summit this March in San Diego. Browse the schedule or register today. Use code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address


The benefits of extending Optimizely into a B2B app



Evaluating a new A/B testing vendor: Timeline

Paper order forms, faxes and even old-fashioned phone calls still tend to dominate the wholesale sales process. While B2B is way behind B2C, the move to digital commerce is underway and accelerating. This is precisely why ecommerce platforms that specialize in delivering B2B tools, features and functionality (like Optimizely) are seeing such rapid growth.

A recent Gartner report examines the rapid move toward B2B digital enablement and a key finding is that buying decisions and the actual purchases are no longer being driven by sales reps, as online ordering surges. In fact, at the time of the study, only 17% of the wholesale purchase journey was attributed to sales rep interactions and, among millennials, fully 44% said they prefer no sales rep interaction at all when making buying decisions.

This quote from the report struck me as particularly important. “As baby boomers retire, and millennials mature into key decision-making positions, a digital-first buying posture will become the norm. Further, we expect the acute spike in digital buying during the COVID-19 pandemic to have sustained influence on customer comfort with digital learning and buying.”

Covid-fueled retail ecommerce has exploded and B2B is finally starting to catch up. Smart B2B businesses are starting to adopt a “digital-first” stance and considering an app as a logical extension of their online wholesale ordering platforms.

The reason apps play such a big role in B2B is utility. B2B buying is very complex and ecommerce platforms are usually tied into an ERP and CRM. Tools for account-based custom pricing and order list management are typically folded in.

The B2B path to purchase can be a winding one and an app can straighten this road by personalizing the online buying experience and delivering it in an always-on manner, literally in the pocket of buyers. Reducing customer service time/expense and data entry error is often cited as a primary goal of wholesalers considering an app.

After all, all wholesale buyers are consumers themselves and covid-driven retail app adoption and use has skyrocketed in the last two years. Mobile app usage was up 40% during covid. Another factor is that, increasingly, wholesale customers expect an app to make ordering easier and more personalized.

Ask yourself when was the last time you logged into the Amazon mobile browser? Odds are, you never have, since the instantly-personalized experience of the app is far-superior. With an app, there’s no need to enter payment information, no need to type in your address and order history is called up instantly. Page load times are nearly instantaneous and you get the app-only option of using push messaging to drive deeper engagement with wholesale accounts.

Chef’s Warehouse is one of our biggest B2B customers they recently re-platformed to Optimizely. We built their B2B app out to leverage and extend new Optimizely B2B features and functionality and the results have been fantastic. Their reps can easily access customer order history and account-specific pricing, etc. The app consistently delivers a conversion rate that is three times that of the mobile website and the majority of buyers/chefs now use the app for wholesale ordering.

Apps were once thought of as “nice to haves” but this is changing fast, as buyers demand tools to make complex wholesale ordering processes easier. As more and more wholesale businesses move online and the business starts to catch up to retail, the leaders in the space will be first to market with an app, so they can learn and iterate and phase in new features.

According to Digital Commerce 360, in 2021, online B2B sales grew 17.8% to $1.63 trillion from $1.39 trillion in 2020. In fact, B2B ecommerce sales grew faster than all other manufacturing and distributor sales in the U.S.  

Gartner calls the successful delivery of digital, online tools to help smooth the path the purchase “Buyer Enablement” and concludes the research with the following: “Customers are migrating decisively from in-person channels to digital alternatives…new digital channels must be purpose-built to drive sales performance, justified by a simple truth: customers learn and buy digitally.” 

Apps are all we do, we make the process easy, and the ROI is typically rapid. Orders placed on the app “pour into” your current Optimizely operations and data is seamlessly synched between the app and Optimizely.

If you are interested in a custom app to meet your specific needs, please consider visiting our page on the Optimizely solution marketplace. We work with Optimizely customers like Chef’s Warehouse and Binny’s Beverage Depot and can customize an app project specifically designed to meet your unique requirements.

Got app? If not, you should be considering the potential benefits to your wholesale business.  

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


The Future of Invoice Payment: Emerging Trends and Technologies



The Future of Invoice Payment: Emerging Trends and Technologies

As technology evolves at an unprecedented rate, it is fairly obvious that companies must adapt in order to remain competitive. This is especially true regarding invoicing, which is an essential element of any service-based business.

Pandemic challenges have also accelerated the implementation of certain technologies, such as mobile payments and eInvoicing. Companies that are the first to adapt to these recent developments will sustain and resolve new business challenges in the coming years. However, let us quickly review what an invoice is and what it is used for.

What Is An Invoice?

An invoice is a document containing a description of goods or services provided by one party to another and a statement of the amount owed for those goods or services. In other words, it is a bill sent out to require a payout after work has been completed successfully.

An accounting system for a small business relies heavily on invoices. It informs your client of the amount they owe you, the payment date, and the services you supply.

What Is an Invoice Used for?

Invoices serve as a starting point for business accounting. Invoices are useful for recording all sales transactions that a company has with its customers. Businesses use invoices for a wide range of reasons, such as:

  • To demand prompt payment from clients;
  • Keeping track of sales;
  • Inventory tracking for businesses that sell products;
  • Using historical information to estimate future sales;
  • To keep track of business profits for tax purposes.

Emerging Trends and Technologies in Invoicing

1680050261 997 The Future of Invoice Payment Emerging Trends and Technologies

Let’s look at some of the developing trends and technologies available to businesses that would like to deal with the ever-changing world of invoicing.

Automation of the invoicing process

Businesses no longer need to track their financial transactions because the invoicing process has been automated. Most businesses no longer use paper bills in the United States. Even businesses that have not fully automated their billing process prefer to use blank invoice templates for service providers.

The automation of invoice management allows organizations to receive notifications for due dates and payments. It has also aided the country’s businesses to stay on track with their billing and payment schedules.

Business owners and employees can focus on other critical tasks by automating the manual tasks of generating and sending out payment reminders. Businesses may also save money since these responsibilities do not necessitate the hiring of additional personnel.


Blockchain technology may have the ability to make invoicing safer and more straightforward. Many businesses have turned to blockchain technology to help them optimize their billing and invoicing procedures. One potential advantage of using blockchain for invoicing is the ability to create a permanent record of all financial transactions.

This can help to reduce fraud and establish confidence among businesses and their customers. Furthermore, because blockchain eliminates the need for intermediaries and third-party vendors such as banks, it can help speed up payments.

Blockchain technology has improved not only financial management but also the entire invoicing process. The technology eliminates the risk of fraudulent activities by preventing any deception or unintended deletion of invoices after they have been recorded and sent to the client.

AI and Machine Learning

1680050262 423 The Future of Invoice Payment Emerging Trends and Technologies

Advances in AI and machine learning have facilitated the automation of receiving payments online. Most software providers can provide a comprehensive solution that goes far beyond the basic invoicing cycle.

AI and machine learning intervention unlocked previously unimaginable software capabilities. Companies can process large numbers of invoices in a short period of time while also processing a great deal of accounting data.

Identifying and verifying previous transactions is also much easier, giving businesses greater control over their costs and supply chain. AI and machine learning can also detect anomalies and mistakes with minimal human intervention.

Cloud invoicing

1680050262 877 The Future of Invoice Payment Emerging Trends and Technologies

Most billing technologies now operate from the cloud, thanks to the increased use of the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. They enable companies to view financial records and data from any Internet-connected device in the world.

People can also receive real-time business updated information and take appropriate action using cloud-based invoicing. To protect their company’s reputation, managers can address any emergency payment issues in real-time. Digital wallets are already a part of cloud invoicing.


E-invoicing, or electronic invoicing, simplifies invoice management and the interaction of invoices and compliance documents. It minimizes the potential of invoice errors and exceptions by digitizing invoice records and comparing them against contracts, purchase orders, service entry sheets, and product receipts.

E-invoices can be confirmed automatically before posting for payment when they are transmitted over a digital business network and programmed with related document data and business rules.


1680050262 878 The Future of Invoice Payment Emerging Trends and Technologies

There is no denying that the invoice automation process using electronic invoicing is environmentally friendly. However, it is still typical to stumble upon an office with bundles of paper invoices stacked up on desks and filing cabinets stuffed with more than ten years’ worth of unnecessary invoices.

These offices do not require a larger filing cabinet but rather educate on how accounts payable digitization can help them save money and improve productivity. In the future, e-invoicing solutions will help eliminate more than 80% of paper from many accounting departments while significantly lowering an organization’s carbon footprint.

Mobile-friendly experience

Did you know that in 2021, mobile phone users outnumbered desktop users? According to Hootsuite research, mobile phone users generated 54% of all web traffic in 2021. This means that their first interaction with a company’s bill or payment notification came via their mobile phones.

As a result, many businesses will need to incorporate a reliable system that allows for a fully integrated mobile payment process. Developing their company requires capitalizing on this emerging trend. This trend was accelerated by the popularity of mobile wallets, which presented customers with convenience when making in-store purchases.

In Conclusion

Personalization in invoices allows businesses to utilize customer information to enhance customer relationships. Keeping an eye on recent technologies and recognizing their influence on businesses worldwide is one way to gain an edge over competitors and achieve business objectives.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


12 of the Best WordPress Popup Plugins in 2023



12 of the Best WordPress Popup Plugins in 2023

Despite their overwhelmingly bad reputation, popups are a useful tool, but high conversion potential is not worth sacrificing user experience. Luckily, with the right WordPress popup plugins, you can leverage the high-conversion potential of popups without driving users away.)


Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading