iMPACT Has Created A Big Problem For Us. Is anyone else feeling the pain?

Posted March 11, 2021 in
Leaders Leaders
If you haven't experienced this problem, you will, and it's coming. Hopefully, you can prepare for it. I wasn't and I am dealing with it now. Or maybe you've gone through it and you can provide me some additional consult. 

Let me explain. 

We started our relationship with Marcus over 3 1/2 years ago and have continued strengthening our content strategy with the rest of the iMPACT team the last few years. We have been so successful at what we've been taught. When I say successful, I mean we are seeing the results that all of you have been seeing if you've implemented what you've been taught. Yes, we have seen our traffic explode with our content ranking, more qualified leads coming in, building a better relationship with our sales team by developing content that they need, want and can use. That's all great. 

The downside of all of this is that we have created a much bigger problem. When starting with a small team (content writer, videographer, HubSpot specialist/web designer), I never planned for what's happening now. Our organization is now starting to get it. We have every customer-facing department (sales, service, customer support, and finance), all requesting written or video content to solve a host of problems with a common goal of improving the overall customer experience. 

Now some of you may say this is a great problem to have. Yes, I can see that, but as an executive, I see my team sinking into content "quicksand" where their content request lists are getting longer than what they can, organize, strategize, and produce. I need to do something about it or it's going to create a morale problem or I am going to burn them out. I can already see it's affecting my team's effectiveness, output, and work product.

Do you see it now? For me to solve this issue it's costs, resources, prioritization, and a management issue. One of the biggest challenges we all face with becoming a content-led organization, is managing the perception of our organization of what we've become and pony up the resources to continue this vision. 

I have a number of ideas on how to solve this problem. Some of them include:

1) Start by doing a better job of measuring and communicating our ROI.
2) Providing content as a service to our thousands of customers. By taking a few of them on at a time, I can internally grow our content teams and grow this through sales and revenue.
3) Take a realistic approach to this and manage with what we have by lowering our and our customer's expectations (not a really good solution).

No matter what this is going to fuel some interesting discussions at the executive team level that we're becoming a media and content company and we are going to have to dedicate more resources and a budget, or not. 

I am interested to hear what others think that have already gone through this and others that have not.

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Liz Moorehead

Hey, Keven Ellison

Here are my initial thoughts, and I also have a question for you (in the video). I hope this is helpful for you, because this is a genuine challenge I have experienced many, many times throught my career as a content management professional. 
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Keven Ellison
Liz Moorehead I agree we can get better at this. You gave me a lot to think about. We have left the focus of a single content person, because Marissa Olson  is needed for scripting, web content, communications, etc., etc., etc. At the same time, we launched content at this organization we created a marketing department (this organization went 15+ years without one).  While our content was growing, so were all of our marketing deliverables that included content (written + video). Then throw assignment selling on top of that and now we have a resource-strapped marketing team. Let me percolate on your thoughts some more and I will get back to you. 
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Keven Ellison
Liz Moorehead hey there. I am grouping you in the same boat as Marcus. I caught your keynote this morning. You nailed it, but now you just created more problems for my content manager. We need to reconstruct our content on our website. Thanks for piling more on ;)

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Bob Ruffolo
Yo yo yo!

First, this problem beats the alternative, right? But as my friend Ari Weinzeig says, "Success means you get better problems." (link)

Okay - so here are some ideas you may want to consider...

1. With a giant backlog of content needs, can you start with a "backlog grooming" session where you do a "Keep, combine, kill" activity? This was introduced in the book Traction and how a management team is supposed to prioritize their issues list. Maybe you can combine a few topics into fewer content pieces, maybe that gets your list down 30-40%, and maybe there are some topics that you say "okay, that's a nice to have and not a need to have" so you kill it.

2. Expand the team - Marissa is awesome and is killing it. Maybe it's time to bring on a second writer, an entry-level journalist, to work with Marissa. Freelancers are another option but I'm not sure you'll be happy with the end result.
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Keven Ellison
Thanks Bob Ruffolo . Yes, doing most of that already and the cup still spilleth over! ;)

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Jolie Higazi
So glad you shared you experience on this, Keven Ellison . It definitely seems like there's a mix of a resource issue (with Marissa Olson only being 30% in the content manager seat) and an opportunity for better prioritization with content ideas that'll make the biggest bang off the bat (which requires team alignment and the right systems in place to track content ROI/sales metrics).

This is really where there's multiple things that are at play, it's not a one-answer/quick-fix solution. 

Some of this may call for additional resources or reallocation of resources so Marissa can fully be in the content manager role, better alignment with the sales team, and better systems set up in Hubspot to track which content is actually making the biggest impact so you can learn from it and apply going forward.
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Keven Ellison
Jolie Higazi yes. Everything is on the table right now and I am looking for ideas that haven't even made it to the table yet. As marketing leaders in a business, we have to constantly justify our means, when successfully meeting our goals, be ready to justify more resources by forecasting what we can do with even more. It's a constant, and real struggle. 
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Greg DeVore
Keven Ellison it sounds like you are getting requests for a variety of types of content. I will obviously leave the Sales/Marketing content suggestions to Impact - but you also mentioned customer support/service.

Here are some tips to creating support content in a maintainable manner:
  1.  DON'T use video for step-by-step guides. These will get out of date very quickly. Use video to communicate principles or a high-level overview of a process
  2. DO use a lot of screenshots for step-by-step guides. They are visual, make things much easier to follow and are much easier to maintain
  3. Empower your front-line support team to create content by providing them with rapid authoring tools

    Video can be fantastic, but if you overuse it for support resources, you will end up in a content maintenance nightmare.
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Keven Ellison
Greg, thank you for your input! We have found that "step-by-step guides" and "how-to" videos may originate internally through customer support, and we repurpose them on YouTube. Many of them have received tens of thousands of views. The data supports and we have found that if our customers are asking for these then others are looking for the same solutions online. A great way to promote our company and brand by making us discoverable. I see this as giving customers and prospects what they demand. Yes, this has to be maintained, but screenshots just don't provide the same user experience. I agree that we should be giving our front-line authoring tools, to develop content on their own, and this also takes some supervision to stay within our quality and brand guidelines. 
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