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Bleeding a Stone and Business Blogging1211

lunar_ranger private msg quote post Address this user
<== This proud, resistant, and rather obstinate guy must admit that he has hit a wall. This week, I have had the duties of a content marketing manager thrust upon me due to the departure of a colleague and the lack of cogent departmental continuity. It falls on me now (one of many disparate marketing dept. responsibilities I have assumed) to manage our content creation and content calendar (not without resistance/interference from higher, lack of interest from those who were originally motivated but over time became less motivated to write)and a handful of unimaginative themes we are compelled to discuss in our often self-promotional malaise we call content.

What do you write about when you're completely unmoved about the thematic material you're "supposed to write about" due to SEO and promotion? I feel that even though I have the given the responsibilities to manage our content marketing efforts I am not given the power or influence to improve upon the content we're writing about. It seems every content piece aligns with a product or service and written with the hope of targeting brands (quality is all over the place, generic, non-memorable) or allowing us to rank for industry headterms. Take a look at what we have produced- http://www.sproutloud.com/resources/blog - this content we push through paid e-mail lists (I am having a hard time generating any interest through social).

I need help and feel that this is an excellent to ask for it. Change comes painfully slow here, I have a few ideas of how I want to change the order of things here- any ideas of how to motivate swifter more comprehensive changes?
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@lunar_ranger

I am heading into a video-conference call.

After that ... a date with a 7-year old.

I hear you. I will come back to this thread. Give me some time, plz.
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Rev private msg quote post Address this user
@lunar_ranger

It is just now 11 a.m. in Kansas. For reasons I've gone into elsewhere I generally don't do mornings so this is "early" for me. I've just taken my first sip of coffee and your post was first on my "here's what's happenin'" list that was waiting to greet me. Good morning to you too! ;o)

Let me take a boo at your site, get a little more cafine in my system, clean up a few URGENTs that I know will be among that "happeninings" and, like @Belew, I'll come back to you...

In the mean time, grab a coffee of your own and think about all that extra money they will be paying you. ;o)
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Extra money? lol, nothing but the assurance of a steady paycheck by taking on the "interim" duties of a Content Management Manager.

I see the power, reward, and risk of being being an entrepreneur. This is the reason I started my own business on the side. I found myself needing an outlet I could passionately get behind and devote myself to.
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@lunar_ranger

Re: struggle to consistently produce good content.

Came upon this a few minutes ago.


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@lunar_ranger

Back in the 70s (I'm starting to sound like my grandfather! ...and this is going to be one of those long "grandfather" type stories that may or may not have a moral buried in it somewhere, too.) I had a young family and things were tough. Gasoline prices were through the roof, interest rates were in double digits -- not just for credit cards! -- and job security was a great idea; just an idea. I'd lost a home and things weren't looking good.

I was offered, and accepted, a position with a struggling company, #3 in its market, to manage and expand it, and target new areas of business. In under a year the company was breaking all earlier records, was clearly #2 and pushing hard on #1, and had an entirely new division that was already showing some success. I was making more money than the owner and that meant changing my deal, scaling back the commission portion significantly. The owner's wife, who was not officially part of the company, also micro-managed, and changed, many of my implemented policies. I didn't like that. I left without any other prospects.

The newspaper had an ad for a sales rep at a GM dealership. I had never sold cars (other than a couple of my own) but, hey, how hard could it be? I'm a Ford guy, but that's a choice, not an obligation. So I got the position selling shiny new Pontiacs, Buicks, and GMC trucks. Selling myself into the position, considering my background, proved I could sell.

By the sixth month I was the #1 salesman. OK, to be honest, the month before I was #2 and the month after I was #2 and I was either #2 or #3 in a team of about a dozen reps for the rest of my stay, but that month the #1 guy -- who was REALLY good -- took 2 weeks vacation and, as a result I out-sold him. I did reasonably well. And my picture was on the leader board for that month. It probably still is.

I was there for about a year and a helf. Six months before the end a young woman, a new real estate agent, came to me by referral, looking for a car that would suit her needs. I had never been a real estate agent but I had already bought and sold a half dozen or so properties in my young life so I had an idea about the process. And I had already learned that the first step in any sale is to determine the available budget. I quickly learned that our dealership, an up-scale Buick shop, had nothing suitable, or in her price range, sitting on the lot. I could order something but she needed the car right away.

I happened to know that Ford had just the car she needed. I knew this because I had bought one two years earlier and I knew they were running a spectacular sale on them because I'd seen that ads and it bugged me that I'd paid more for mine. They would have plenty of available inventory on their lot. I wrote the name of a sales rep at the local Ford dealership on the back of my card and told her to tell him I'd sent her (networking!) and he would look after her. He did. She came by two days later driving her shiny new Grenada, thanking me profusely.

Six months later word about that transaction somehow found its way to my sales manager and I was fired. Simple. Clean. No recourse. Something about loyalty. What my manager didn't know was that I made three significant sales, one a multi-vehicle deal, to others as a direct result of referrals from that very happy young real estate agent. And those were just the ones I knew about. People selling houses come in contact with people who will also be looking to buy new cars.

So I left car sales. I started building the foundation for the launch of yet another new business; this one would belong to me. I had learned the truth about the "assurance of a steady paycheck" and I vowed to never be fired again. And I never was. I've had a great boss ever since.
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@Belew

Excellent. A little like a visual restating of the Quality Triangle...


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@lunar_ranger

Despite writing that epistle, I have taken a bit of time to poke through your site. If you are drinking the proverbial Kool-ade, and you believe what you are selling to your prospective clients, then your work is really done for you. Read. Follow. Repeat.

If not, then that opens a bigger can of worms.
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@Rev Put nicely its rehashed, recycled, generic, inconsistent, unimaginative, and often irrelevant (to most of the people) content for those who end up reading it. There are many things I want to change, but my influence here only goes as far as my willingness to drink our watered down, orange flavored Kool-ade. The safe option is the one always taken, and as such is producing the same lack of results. Our lead/sales times can take years and its extremely difficult to measure if our content has created any impact whatsoever.

I believe that our product is one of the best options available(from the very few existing products catering to our clienteles unique needs and pain points).

We have a bit of an old school sales guy (one hell of one- tactically and experientially)currently leading up the marketing department and there seems to be a strong dissonance.

How big is our can of worms Rev?
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@lunar_ranger

Ignore your bosses. Do the right thing. Get results. And let them ask you, "How did you do that?"

It' easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

If they don't know what's going on, they won't know when you aren't following marching orders. No?
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@Belew Fantastic advice that I try to live by and has done me well. I am currently responsible for editing content, unfortunately there is another editorial level- where the defacto/interim dept head reviews all content being published on-site. This is where good content goes to die - in an effort to needlessly retarget it and apply the "SL touch". My thought-leadership ends with safe and nauseatingly industry aligned safe topics, lives on in no ones memory. My responsibility is to get it just the way he likes it- which historically works for very few other people. How can I influence his willingness to take risks and have decent, instantly consumable content be published?
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@lunar_ranger Buy him tickets to a local ball game. And while he is gone, publish things while he isn't looking.

If you want to break the rules and do things differently, then you'll have to break some rules.

Next step... find some very solid case studies that your boss can relate to in an instant. Buy him lunch and show him the results.

If that doesn't work... you might need to find a new boss.
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Rev private msg quote post Address this user
What @Belew said but, if you need to cushion it a little (that paycheck does come in handy every now and then) bring it up at a department meeting...

"Ya know, we could speed up this whole process considerably and get more done in less time. What if I just publish content directly to the site and {manager name here} can edit it live, too. That will save a lot of back-and-forth double and triple handling. Probably reduce costs, as well. Help out with the department budget... ::trails off into a thoughtful half-sigh::"

If your manager guy fights it he looks like he is counter productive and not interested in cost savings -- not good in his manager's eyes -- and if it gets accepted, my guess is your manager guy doesn't follow through with editing (too much work) and so you get the last say in content.

It could be a win.
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He is the President and Managing partner and his fingers are all over the editing he tasks us (me) to do. My department currently consists of just me and him. When he edits it- he either guts it or he puts something in that which gives it an awkwardly fitting angle that doesn't seem to add much to the conversation. Once a marketing director comes in I think we (I) might be able to act more autonomously, in the best interests of our audience.
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@lunar_ranger

Sounds like something I went through when I was in the Navy.

I was the communications officer...but nothing I wrote ever went out the way I wrote it.

Kind of like that whisper in your ear game. The story changes completely by the time you get to the nth person.
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