Marketers as Content Instigators

We hear it all the time. From clients, from fellow marketers, from our peers: Content creation is great, and there are so many people in our organizations and institutions who have a great story to tell, and want to tell it. The challenge is getting those people to sit down and contribute content in a meaningful and timely manner.

This is understandable. A discussion sprang up this week about why we don’t see more college presidents twittering. My first reaction? They’re already insanely busy, what college president has TIME for that? The same has happened time and again… the CEO of one of our clients wants to blog, and he’d be great at it, but we can never get him to sit down and write.

As marketers, this has become an interesting new challenge. We used to play the role of content creator ourselves. But with blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube established as important communications channels, we’ve taken on a larger role of content aggregator and distributor, and even more important, content instigator.

I may be going down the road of coining yet another term for something someone has already named, but I think this is an important distinction to make. In order to get the right content in the right place with the right voice at the right time, we’ve got to have authenticity. And authenticity comes from having the actual person write, record, perform etc. Or as close to that as possible. We spend a lot of time worrying about what we’re going to create (a video, a podcast, a blog post, a newsletter article??)  and where we’re going to put it (on the website, on the blog, on youtube, on twitter, on facebook, everywhere??)

But how much time do we spend chasing down the content itself? I would argue that many marketers would respond — A LOT! A major role that gets lost in the shuffle of our many varied new marketing responsibilities is that of content instigator.

Instigator might be too nice. Nag, badger, bait, heckle, hound, cajole, bribe, beg! I’m sure most marketers have been reduced to some or all of these methods when attempting to get individuals to contribute to content marketing efforts. We’re learning every day what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to trying to get the content creation process to go smoothly and work for all the different parties involved.

In a future post I’ll talk about some ways we’ve been successful in doing so, but my point here is that it’s something we don’t often talk about but that is crucial in many marketing efforts today. We hope you’ll share some of your experiences with content instigation issues, and we’ll continue to talk about it in new ways.

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