Why is getting info from your techies so hard? As marketers, we often don’t get the credit we deserve, so we must seek new approaches for content extraction. Danielle Gray, Content Marketing Strategist of DG Marketing Company, believes that identifying office personas and seeking their help in the right setting can yield dynamic content.
We’re all stalking that elusive hook that generates more leads for our company. We want the spin that makes our posts memorable, informed, and current. Danielle Gray knows that a fresh perspective is seeded in a team effort. But colleagues aren’t always forthcoming with the information we need. She’s developed a way to effectively communicate with her co-workers. While external marketing personas have been around for eons, Danielle’s book Office Personas Survival Kit flips this concept onto in-house personnel.
STEP 1: EXPLAIN THE WHY
Since marketing often doesn’t get its due, it’s up to us to make a case for campaigns. That can be challenging, since we aren’t always welcome in the board room when decisions are made. So, when approaching technical staff, it’s imperative to know what makes them tick. You not only need to uncover their personality, but figure out what motivates them.
STEP 2: THE FIVE PERSONAS WHO LIVE IN YOUR OFFICE
Let’s start with Timmy Too Busy, the business developer or technical manager who can’t spare you the time. He doesn’t want to attend meetings, but he wants to be promoted. He wants quick summaries without the details, please! The best place to catch this sprinter is when he’s on the run. Whenever he’s in a car, plane or train, he’s a captive audience. His motto is “Don’t Waste my Time.”
Sampson the Champion is there to help. He’s the caring CMO or Project Manager who wants to make a difference. With an eye on promotion, he wants to streamline office efficiency. He’ll take the time to listen to the details of your project and wants involvement in strategy. Sometimes, he hails from another company and wants to shake things up. He loves a copacetic atmosphere and can’t abide negativity. Progress drives him, so send him screen shots and emails that show steady advancement to our goals. He wants to know, “What can I do to help?”
Betty Too Ready may be in admin or has just come on-board. She wants a promotion, but she also wants to make a difference. She’s perky and helpful, but often gets ahead of herself. Her eager attitude is not always as constructive as she thinks. She’ll feel neglected if you don’t check in on her from time to time. She wants to tell you, “I’m here when you need me.”
Neil Knows it All is often in a leadership or technical position. This guy has to be right all the time. He puts his energy into cutting-edge techniques and technology. It’s hard for him to admit he doesn’t know something, or deign to admit you have a good idea. He loses interest when he’s pushed out of his purview. Step aside when you work with Neil, and swallow your ego. And never forget to give him credit for his contribution. His refrain is, “Of course.”
Kara Don’t Care can be in any department at any level. Sometimes, she’s on your own team. Kara really does look beyond her own desk and she’s out the door at 5 o’clock. If you need her, you might be able to motivate her by making her job easier. “Not my job” might be her motto in life, but she may answer you with a blank stare.
STEP 3: HOW TO DO IT
Okay, you know who’s who. Now, you have to figure to make your approach. Danielle outlines five techniques to pull content out of staff. But, before she sets her plan in motion, she asks three questions regarding the content:
- What? Zero in on the subject of this piece.
- So what? Who cares about this campaign? What target audience are we trying to reach?
- Now what? What is our next step and where will we go? What is our call to action?
Here are Danielle’s five content extraction strategies:
INTERVIEWS are simple to schedule and you can focus on a single piece of content. The downside is you might only get one side of the issue. Timmy Too Busy, Sampson the Champion and Neil Knows it All are the best candidates for one-on-one’s.
CONTENT CREATION MEETNGS are collaborative and you can cover several topics in one shot. You can easily get content for several months from one meeting. But with so many participants, Creation Meetings can often be difficult to schedule. Danielle recommends a moderator to help direct the conversation when the brainstorming starts to fly. Timmy Too Busy ain’t got time for this. Sampson the Champion would be on board. Neil Knows it All would come if he approves of the subject. There is one warning: this event may lead to too much fun and it’s easy to diverge off-topic. Betty Too Ready could keep everyone on-task in the role of the moderator. It’s helpful to bring examples of the types of content we’re seeking.
PROJECT PROPOSAL MEETINGS or Kick-Offs for a project can be a great place to start and are already scheduled. Since you’re might be a member of the proposal team, you may be invited as a participant. This is a good time to multitask and listen for content options. It’s also an optimal place to catch the Timmy Too Busy and Neil Knows it All in their element. Just remember, you’re not running this show, so you may walk away with nothing.
TRADE PUBLICATIONS help boost SEO clout. This media can build your cred in the world of web crawlers. This can be a real boost for Neil Knows it All, who seeks glory. It can also be a great starting point for tech conversations. Betty Too Ready could help write a draft or researching references. Sampson the Champion might want to be involved as well.
CONTENT WORKSHOPS are Danielle’s favorite venue and they must begin and end with food. Scheduling problems dissolve when she sets up a LUNCH AND LEARN. This collaborative event provides multiple perspectives that leads to a deeper understanding of issues. It’s not uncommon to collect enough content for an entire year. Every persona is invited to these events, and it’s a sneaky way to learn about the techie’s projects. The format is to invite 15 people and break them up into groups of 3-4. Listen to the Pain Points, then match marketing services to strategy.
There’s more than one way to approach your technical staff for new ideas. As crafty marketers, we know how to get things done. Operation Content Extraction is a breeze when you can id your office personas and set them in their best venue.
Danielle Gray is a Content Marketing Strategist with over seven years of industry experience composing proposals, writing content, running email campaigns, and generating leads online. She’s the owner of DG Marketing Company, a professional services marketing firm committed to contributing and creating genuine, humanized marketing.
Danielle@dgmarketingco.com (678) 232-0033 Twitter @dgmarketlingco
The ideas presented in this blog were created by a guest contributor. The views within this blog post do not necessarily reflect those of AMA Triangle.