Most discussions about the value of content marketing focus on what you can accomplish by consistently creating compelling content for people outside the organization.
- Content marketing pulls the target audience in with valuable, relevant information and insights instead of bombarding them with sales pitches.
- Content marketing invites your audience to engage in meaningful conversations about important topics.
- Content marketing allows you to answer common questions, address pain points, and overcome obstacles and misconceptions.
- Content marketing positions you as an expert in your field.
- Content marketing allows you to share real-world client success stories in a natural, authentic way.
- Content marketing provides a window into who you are and the values you represent.
- Content marketing creates what is essentially a searchable database of knowledge that lives on your website and can generate leads for years.
These are all extremely valuable attributes because they help you build the trust and confidence that form the foundation of any successful business relationship.
As authors become thought leaders, they often receive invitations for speaking engagements, panel discussions, interviews, and other opportunities to reinforce that thought leadership.
One of the earliest definitions of content marketing from the Content Marketing Institute also focuses on external value and objectives.
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
All good stuff. But what about the internal value of content marketing?
I work with CEOs in several industries, from healthcare to accounting to commercial surveying, to develop thought leadership articles on a regular basis as part of their marketing plans.
While the primary goal is typically to cultivate external relationships and support business development, every executive has emphasized what they want these articles to help them accomplish internally.
They want their team to know what kind of culture they have or are trying to build.
They want their team to know their vision for the company.
They want their team to understand what their leaders stand for.
They want their team to represent the organization and service clients in a certain way.
They want to rally support for all of the above.
And they want to make sure each team member’s priorities are aligned with organizational priorities.
In fact, the leaders I’ve worked with aren’t afraid to ruffle the feathers of their own teams.
They’re happy to send a message that basically says, “If you don’t support what we do, why we do it, and what we’re trying to achieve as an organization, it might be best for all parties involved if you move on.”
This is especially important for companies undergoing a shift in culture and vision, as well as those that may have lost sight of their purpose and need to refocus.
Honestly, I hadn’t given much thought to the internal value of content marketing until these CEOs opened my eyes.
They showed me that content marketing can have both an internal and external audience. Although the audiences are very different, the same message can connect with both and deliver value to the organization in different ways.
Whether you view internal culture and vision alignment as a primary goal or secondary benefit, consider an important audience that’s often ignored when developing a content marketing strategy – your team.
It’s just one more way to increase the return on an already worthwhile investment.
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