Why Not Be The CMO of Everyone?

Much of my work with big companies and start-ups these days is focused on how to make brands more engaging, and on strategies for activating audiences. Central to these strategies is a commitment to very regular connections with a key audience. 

While most marketing leaders get the idea that they must commit to being producers of their own content -- blog posts or newsletters or videos or Facebook Page programming or Twitter feeds -- they're consistently bedeviled by how best to get it done given constrained resources. 

Marketing organizations have produced press releases and white papers and every sort of ad for every sort of channel since forever.  But, for some reason, producing conversational, authentic content at the same rate as the daily news media seems to be one hurdle too many for many marketing leaders.

As a way of getting over such hurdles, I often coach CMOs at larger brands about the need to think of every single person in an extended enterprise as a member of their department.  The truth is, most people in most companies are already on Facebook; most have LinkedIn profiles and networks; a subset will actively tweet regularly on Twitter; and some blog regularly.  And there's almost always at least a few people who produce and publish videos. 

In fact, one of my favorite things to do is to audit a company to see which of their team members are the most active and socially networked online, and to see the degree to which those folks could be considered influencers. In very large conglomerate organizations, it is often a revelation to uncover the treasure trove of content being produced in every nook and cranny of the company.

As CMOs and their organizations work to figure out how to create engaging, constantly updated, changing, and thriving websites -- sites that ultimately lead to awesome SEO -- they often overlook the hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of people already at work in their organizations whose content production goes underutilized or completely unnoticed. 

A few weeks back I wrote about content assembly lines and what they mean for search results and SEO in general.  A couple of my Search Insider colleagues added their own terrific insights to the discussion last week (here and here).  While some brands will hire third-party writers (or video producers) who work to genuinely represent the values of the company through thoughtful and well-conceived copy or videos for a site, others turn to low-cost mills that essentially stuff a bunch of keywords into poorly researched, poorly written content that may provide short-term gains, but typically lead to poor audience engagement in the long run.  

Meanwhile, every person in an enterprise is potentially an authentic, invested content producer, networker or influencer. Very often, employees in large enterprises are actively evangelizing their brands or products and no one in the home office even realizes it.

While turning to proven professionals outside your organization to help you with needed content for a website is a perfectly good strategy, why not first turn to resources already at work in your organization?  For CMOs who come to realize that their department really includes everyone from the CEO to the receptionists, they quickly learn that they need only activate, focus and curate content by folks in every corner of the enterprise to create a rich, inexhaustible vein of authentic, first-person SEO juice. 

Moreover, as an increasing number of technology providers enable the efficient tracking, aggregation, and publishing of content from throughout large enterprises, marketing organizations are able to more effectively leverage the daily output of the people they work with. 

Do an audit of your organization and find out who's already producing content, aggregating third-party stuff and networking among colleagues, peers and friends.  Next, start thinking of yourself as the CMO of everyone.  You may love the results.

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