Season 1, Episode 4

Small Content Teams with Big Content Dreams

Mar 5, 2019 | 0 comments

Are you on a small content team living with big content dreams? We’re talking about small content teams and the roadblocks to big content dreams.

small content teams

We’re talking about the challenges facing small content marketing teams. We’ll chat about:

  • Dealing with executives who “don’t get it” — no support, no budget, no sanity.
  • Being overly ambitious. Everything’s important and huge!
  • Not being ambitious enough. “We’re too small. We’re too boring.”
  • Winging it. “I’ll figure out next week’s post . . . next week.”
  • Ignoring visuals/video–or worse,  doing it yourself when you don’t know what you’re doing!
  • Not promoting and distributing content.
  • Trying to do it all yourself..

Read the Transcript of Season 1, Episode 4
[00:00:00] Welcome to The Marketing Mix podcast with Alanna and Stacy. Each week, we’ll bring you ideas that you can Implement in your own marketing strategy. We’ll share what we know as well as advice from industry experts, some of whom will join us from time to time here on the show. Are you ready to mix it up?

[00:00:19] Let’s get started.

[00:00:22] Stacy Jackson: Hey guys, it’s Stacy Jackson.

[00:00:24] Alanna Jackson: And hello, hello. I am Alanna Jackson. We’re the co-founders of Jackson Marketing. We are also sisters, in case you didn’t know that already, and we are bringing you episode number four of The Marketing Mix. So, Stacy, tell me what today’s topic is going to be about.

[00:00:39] Stacy Jackson:  Today, we’re talking small content teams with big content dreams. Or in some cases, limited content dreams, but you know that threw off the rhyme so, you know, I just want to leave with that cool rhyme first. But we’re going to talk about small content teams with big and limited dreams and maybe some thoughts around how they can [00:01:00] address those.

[00:01:01] Alanna Jackson: Okay, so you and I previously worked together at a small to mid-sized company, a technology company. And you were over the marketing department in that company, so you have a very good insight into what small content teams kind of deal with on a regular basis and especially in the B2B world.

[00:01:26] So maybe this will be a really good conversation that we can dig into and find out some or talk through some things that would be helpful to others.

[00:01:34] Stacy Jackson:  Yeah. Definitely. My small content team consisted of three people. It was me. When I looked in the mirror it was myself. And then it was a third person, and sometimes we had help from other staff members on content creation and idea generation, but it was challenging.

[00:01:54] And we’ll will also, Alanna, both of us, be ever able to cover some ideas or some, [00:02:00] some struggles that we’ve seen smaller content teaching clients face, too.

[00:02:05] Alanna Jackson:  Yeah. Yeah, we do all that on a regular basis to so why don’t we take a quick break to hear about today’s sponsor and then get to chatting sounds good.

[00:02:19] Alanna Jackson: All right, and we’re back. So, Stacy, let’s talk through some of the things that small teams might face in the B2B world of content marketing.

[00:02:28] Stacy Jackson:  Okay, one of the first and foremost things that I think a lot of us face as content marketers on smaller teams is maybe we’re dealing with Executives who don’t necessarily get it when it comes to content marketing.

[00:02:42] So there’s no support or there’s no budget. And that leaves you with no sanity. I mean I’ve experienced some of that myself the executive team pretty much got it at the company I was at before. But you know some of those “no budget” things were reality there for me. And with clients we’ve seen those executives that don’t always get it, and that can be a struggle. And it can be frustrating for those marketing leaders who are in those smaller companies where maybe there’s not a vice president of marketing, and you’re a lower-level person reporting up to a VP of sales or the CEO.

[00:03:22] Alanna, what recommendations would you have based on some of the things we’ve heard or seen?

[00:03:27] Alanna Jackson: Well, I think that some of the things you have to be able to do is paint a picture for the executive team and to help them understand a little bit more of what’s needed because a lot of times if they aren’t familiar with what everything that marketing has to do, then they’ll just think well you can write a blog and it’s going to be on page one of Google or something simple like that. And they don’t understand maybe all of the different pieces that go into the content plan.

[00:03:57] And I think that that’s where you have to really [00:04:00] paint a picture for them and maybe even bring some example case studies and things like that to help them have a better understanding of it.

[00:04:08] Stacy Jackson: I think, too, just thinking of a recent conversation with someone with an executive who didn’t necessarily get what content marketing is and what it can do . . .  This executive had talked to the marketing director about, “well, I heard on a podcast that inbound marketing or content marketing doesn’t work”

[00:04:31] What I said to the marketing director is say, “well, what is a podcast exactly?” You know? That is a piece of content, and you were influenced by it. Maybe help them see those, you know – parallels or. Oh, I, meaning me the executive. I’m interacting with content and didn’t even think about it.

[00:04:55] Alanna Jackson:  Right that’s a good point.

[00:04:56] Stacy Jackson:  So maybe these are things that do make sense for our company.

[00:04:59] Alanna Jackson: I think that it gets confusing to people outside of marketing to think about marketing is only a blog or social media, but marketing goes across the spectrum, like you said, with podcast, video with blogs, with ebooks with pillar pages, infographics all kinds of stuff.

[00:05:20] Stacy Jackson: Or another scenario where we were pitching to a potential customer and they didn’t get why they should care about their corporate Facebook page since they’re B2B. And you know, we pointed out, “hey, there’s some people making some complaints on the page. So, while maybe you don’t think it’s a route for marketing you got to be there to answer those people and their concerns and show prospective customers that you’re listening and interested when people have a problem.”

[00:05:48] Alanna Jackson: Right. It does make a difference and to make sure that your audience knows that you’re listening is key.

[00:05:53] So another thing that I’ve noticed a lot of smaller companies or smaller content teams facing is they’re [00:06:00] either overly ambitious. So, they’re not ambitious enough and when you’re overly ambitious sometimes everything is important. Everything is huge, and everything has to be done right now.

[00:06:09] And then, like we’ve talked about before, then nothing gets done in those cases. Then there’s the opposite where you’re not ambitious enough, and you get in the mindset of, “we’re too small or too boring. We can’t really do anything that is going to get anybody’s attention.”

[00:06:23] So in those situations, what’s the best way to kind of go about attacking those and getting those mindsets changed?

[00:06:30] Stacy Jackson: Well, this is really two sides of the same coin, but it’s two different problems when you think about how to approach it. The easier one might be starting with the “we’re too small or we’re too boring.”

[00:06:41] You’re never too small. The internet has made an equal playing field for everyone. But with that said, it is a crowded space for content marketers, and you’ve got to be smart about what you’re saying and where you’re saying it and how you’re promoting it.

[00:06:55] So you’re not too small, and you’re not too boring because if you have [00:07:00] customers that are willing to pay for your product, they’re obviously not bored by you.

[00:07:04] Alanna Jackson: Right.

[00:07:04] Stacy Jackson: They have problems that you solve for them, or they have questions that you answer them.

[00:07:10] Alanna Jackson: Yeah, somebody’s going to be interested.

[00:07:11] Stacy Jackson: So don’t count yourself short. You know, you have something of interest, and maybe it’d be boring to the Regular Joe or Jane off the street. But to that widget specialist, they really, really get jazzed about whatever new widget specs you’ve got, or, you know, knowledge you have about trends in the widget industry.

[00:07:32] Alanna Jackson: Right.

[00:07:32] Stacy Jackson: So, let’s go back to the everything’s important, everything’s huge, Alanna. What are some ways to help people, you know, get around that problem because we’ve seen it, we’ve even had that problem ourselves. Sometimes we get, you know, flustered and say, “Oh, this is important. This is important.” So what recommendations, because you’re usually the voice of reason, here about how to take a step back and really prioritize?

[00:07:57] Alanna Jackson: Yeah. So, for me, like you said, I am typically the one that’s more “project management” kind of a person. And I like to know what, what needs to be kind of outlined and focused on right now. What’s the most important and I only want to focus on this today.  I think that that’s one of the biggest things that you can do when you’re putting yourself in a position of “everything’s important” because then you feel like you have to get everything done, and you have to get it done now.

[00:08:26] You have to take a step back and say. “Okay. I’ve got to prioritize these items.” And maybe you need to go back to your executive team and say look you want all this done. What’s most important? You tell me what’s most important so that I can figure out what I need to do and I’m going to also tell you what I think is most important than let’s talk through what the right priority is for our company, but I think you’ve got to take a step back and prioritize. That’s the only way you’re going to get things done and get them done correctly.

[00:08:56] Stacy Jackson: I think another problem that we sometimes see with [00:09:00] the everything’s important or everything’s huge kind of customer. Is that sometimes there’s a person who’s been elevated through the ranks, and they were really good at things that they did on the production or more tactical side the content creation part and then I get in the leadership role. And they want to keep doing these things that they were really good at and not delegate them to someone else, which I totally get.

[00:09:27] I love to write. I would hate the idea of delegating all the writing for our company of someone else. But if you want to be the leader, sometimes you have to delegate, so I think that’s also a problem that some people have in these “everything’s important” kind of roles.

[00:09:42] When a team is starting to grow and you’ve been granted the ability to add a person or two, but you’re having a hard time giving up.

[00:09:50] Alanna Jackson: Yeah, and I could totally get that you want to be in there and doing it. And a lot of people get into the mindset, “I’m the leader. I should know everything and be able [00:10:00] to always jump in and do things like that.”

[00:10:02] But I think that you hurt yourself and your team when you can’t take a step back and you can’t get out of the weeds because then you’re not looking at the big picture for your team and you’re not giving your new team members that might be junior to you a chance to grow and learn right you all right, you gotta, you gotta be able to.

[00:10:21] Let others have it had the opportunity to excel.

[00:10:24] Stacy Jackson: Definitely. So as far as other things that small content team sometimes face . . .  I think it kind of goes along with being overly ambitious sometimes, but it can also go along with the “we’re too small work too boring,” is just winging it.

[00:10:40] “Oh, yeah, I’ll figure out next week’s post next week. Probably the morning it’s due. So, how . . . how do you think people can give themselves a kick in the pants on that winging it problem, Alanna?

[00:10:51] Alanna Jackson: Well, we have had a little bit of that problem in the past or just a problem where we don’t plan things [00:11:00] out and then things get pushed . . .

[00:11:02] Stacy Jackson: [00:11:02] But not for our clients.

[00:11:04] Right. Right. Sorry. For our business, not our clients. It’s it can be hard when you don’t have a plan put together and you don’t stick to that plan. And when you’re winging it, you don’t really have any direction that you’re going in. Your just willy-nilly doing it when, when it comes up and that’s not a strategy.

[00:11:27] You’re just kind of doing it, and you got to get out of that because it’s not doing you or your company any favors.

[00:11:32] Stacy Jackson: Yeah, you need to really . . . If you’re not clear, for whatever reason, on what the corporate goals are and the strategy for the year overall, go make an appointment with an executive or your direct manager and talk about those things and say, “Okay. I understand what the company is trying to accomplish and here’s what I’m proposing we do to support those goals. What do you think?”

[00:11:55] Maybe you don’t have a huge budget, but you should at least take a little time to plan out a content calendar [00:12:00] that will support whatever initiatives that the sales team and the company are trying to achieve in that next year, at least the next six months If you can plan out topics.

[00:12:09] You don’t have to plan out the exact titles because you want some wiggle room, you know, to address trends or news as it comes up, but you, you really have to make sure you’re doing what sales needs to help fill the funnel ,what the company needs to help build the brand. Otherwise, you know, winging it, you maybe winging your way out of that job.

[00:12:28] Alanna Jackson: Exactly, and we’ve all heard the talk about, you know, sales and marketing alignment and everybody’s probably sick and tired of hearing about that. But it’s so true. You’ve got to get your sales and marketing aligned because the two go hand in hand. They work together.

[00:12:43] You need to know what sales goals are so that you can get your marketing plan aligned with what the sales goals are — because you want to be able to measure what’s happening and look back and say, “okay, these things worked; these things didn’t. Let’s move forward with doing the ones that worked well and [00:13:00] expand on those.”

[00:13:01] It gives you a plan and it gives you a goal and something to strive towards.

[00:13:05] All right, so I think we’ve beat that one to death. So, let’s move on to the next one. So, the next thing that I think a lot of smaller companies deal with the struggles of video and visuals and graphics — all those, all those things that maybe they think, “It’s just a one-man team,” or “We’re just two people,” or “We’re just a small team.  I don’t have a person on my team that can handle this.”

[00:13:27] And so they just kind of ignore it like it doesn’t even exist. We’re just going to do this. . .

[00:13:32] Stacy Jackson: Or worse. They design it all with word art and clip art in Word or PowerPoint.

[00:13:39] Alanna Jackson: Woo, let’s not even do that. Yeah, I . . . I mean using clip art and stuff like that might have been cool in the 80s or whenever it was that it first came out, but that is not what you want to do today If you want to get the notice of a prospective buyer’s attention.

[00:13:55] You know, that’s. . . . Most likely they will look at that and be like, “I think I’m gonna take off or I’m gonna go somewhere else. I’m going to check out your competitors,” especially if your technology company. If you’re a technology company, your brand that everyone is seeing . . .

[00:14:11] Stacy Jackson: Yes

[00:14:12] Alanna Jackson:  . . .needs to match the fact that your technology company.

[00:14:15] Stacy Jackson: And if your site or your visuals look like crap, then people are going to assume that your interface on your software whatever it is you’re developing is going to be crummy too.

[00:14:24] Alanna Jackson:  Exactly, so don’t ignore the visuals and the video and the things like that just because maybe you don’t have a graphic designer on your payroll because there are different companies out there that you can use that have subscriptions or just you can purchase things for one time or even using something simple like Canva to create some images to go along with your social posts and things like that to give . . . give some visuals and bring your content to life a little bit.

[00:14:53] Stacy Jackson: Definitely, and let’s just run through a few things because we don’t want people to suffer from bad graphics.

[00:14:59] So you could outsource some design work if you don’t have a huge budget to something like Design Pickle. Crazy name, but real company.

[00:15:07] You could, if you need to do it yourself, work in Canva like Alanna said or try a tool that we just discovered called RelayThat. It is awesome. It really does a lot of cool stuff for you.

[00:15:19] And then if you do have the budget, consider either hiring a designer or getting a freelancer you enjoy working with or hiring an agency that has design resources that you can use when you need it.

[00:15:32] Alanna Jackson: Yeah, exactly. You’re not stuck. There are different ways that you can get around using these. And maybe you just . . . maybe just do an infographic every quarter or something like that simple, and then you’re not constantly paying a subscription or something like that. Find ways to use these resources in a way that will catapult your brand.

[00:15:52] Stacy Jackson:  And as far as video goes, probably don’t want to try to do a homemade demo video.

[00:15:59] You want it to be slick, nice, and cool. So maybe spring for the videographer there, but as far as social video – get out that camera get on your webcam. Have a good time with you the people at your office do some video at trade shows. That’s something that most any company that has people with a modern smartphone or a great webcam can do.

[00:16:21] Alanna Jackson: Yeah, and back to what you were saying about a demo video. I have actually seen people do things where they take their phone and video. . .

[00:16:31] Stacy Jackson: Oh no

[00:16:32] Alanna Jackson:  . . . their computer. Don’t do something like that. Don’t do that, please. Okay, just please – don’t do that. Get something like Camtasia where you can screen capture your screen, or Snagit has a video recorder. Just find a tool that works.

[00:16:51] Just don’t use your cell phone to video your screen.

[00:16:53] Stacy Jackson: Don’t just rely on the footage you get from Camtasia or Snagit, get someone with some [00:17:00] expertise to help you if you’re not sure how to do it.

[00:17:03] Hire somebody to do a voiceover for it. Find some royalty free music clips that you can add in for some audio interests. Add some different graphics to layer it.

[00:17:14] Just make it look slick. It doesn’t have to be, you know, like George Lucas or somebody did it for you. But make it look good and if you can’t do it yourself, think really hard about budgeting for that videographer or animator.

[00:17:29] Alanna Jackson: Right, and then once you get those things put together, you’ve got your, your visuals and things like that, you want to promote them.

[00:17:37] And a lot of the time a smaller company – and I get it, the time it takes to do promotion and do your . . . create your content and do your paid advertising and all these things. If you’re a small team, you kind of feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything and so a lot of times your social and [00:18:00] your distribution of your content gets kind of neglected.

[00:18:03] That sucks, really, because you’re not getting your information out there for your audience to see, for your prospective clients to see. And so, you are missing out on so many opportunities for the right person to see your content. So . . .go ahead.

[00:18:23] Stacy Jackson: Creating content alone is not enough anymore. In fact, you should probably spend more time creating really awesome pieces of content but fewer pieces and the lion’s share of your time promoting those awesome pieces or breaking it up using Curata’s content marketing pyramid format or the big rock content format.

[00:18:45] Take that really high value, high energy content and repurpose it and promote the devil out of it. Promote it, promote it, promote it.

[00:18:56] Alanna Jackson: Yeah, and don’t just phone it in where you have it just [00:19:00] [an]automated process where it just does it for you, and it just does a single . . . the title of whatever it is that you’re sharing.

[00:19:07] I mean, that’s okay sometimes, but for the most part, on your company brand you want to not sound like a robot and not sound like it’s completely automated. You want it to sound like somebody is actually taking the time to put these things out there and that. .  . that will give your, your prospective buyers the idea that, ” oh, well, you . . .you actually care about what you’re giving me on here, so I’m going to expect the same thing when I come and work with you.”

[00:19:37] Stacy Jackson: And when it comes to promoting, there might be different skill sets promoting in distributing your content. Maybe you don’t have the skills set on staff for social media marketing to do it effectively. Outsourced it. Well, maybe you don’t have the skill set to do appropriate SEO. Outsource it.

[00:20:00] There’s no reason that you have to know how to do everything, and it’s kind of ridiculous for anybody to expect one person to know how to do every single digital marketing thing well because digital marketing is changing so much that just relying on some specialists when you need to. To help you get the word out.

[00:20:21] Alanna Jackson: Yeah. So just remember that you don’t have to do it all on your own if you’re a one-man team. Like Stacy was saying, you can outsource. Get some freelancers. Get a company that offers different services, and partner with them. You’ve got all different kinds of opportunities so that you can be successful even if you’re small.

[00:20:52] All right guys, that’s what we have for you today. Don’t forget you can always connect with us on Twitter. You can follow Stacy at @Stacy_Jax. You can follow me at @Alanna_Jax, or you can look us up on LinkedIn and connect with us there. Or you can even leave us a voicemail on [via the smartphone app].

[00:21:29] Alright, that’s it for today folks will see you next week.

[00:21:32] Stacy Jackson:  Bye

[00:21:34] Alanna Jackson: The marketing makes this hosted by Stacey Jackson and Elena Jackson of you guessed it Jackson marketing if you need help with your inbound marketing efforts visit us at Jackson marketing


Hosts & Guests

Stacy Jackson

Alanna Jackson

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