Global Content Marketing: The Glue that Holds It Together

We abhor meetings in business. Our time is much too valuable to spend time listening to a manager drone on about the happenings at corporate or hear a case study from a cross functional task force. According to Psychology Today, 70 percent of professionals suggest that regular business meetings do not help them get their work done. While you may be tempted to jump on the “No Meeting (Insert Day of the Week)” bandwagon, I hope you’ll re-think your meeting allegiances if you oversee global content marketing for your company.

More than 20 members of the #ContentHackers Meetup Group recently met specifically to discuss the most important elements of a global content marketing strategy. While we discussed audience research, content production and distribution, internal communications stood out for the group as the make-or-break element with global content marketing.

JB King, Global Head of Content Marketing for Marsh and McLennan companies

If you refrain from utilizing regular sync meetings for your global marketing efforts, you may find that your content marketing efforts fail to scale to the degree you thought they would scale. Yes, persona research is important for global content marketing. So is a distribution plan that accounts for the best channels in local markets. But without effective communications between headquarters and local markets and between local markets, you’ll end up with siloed local content marketing programs instead of a cohesive global program.

Yes, I’ve said it. The key to global content marketing lies within a meeting. All hail meetings. Ok, it’s more than a meeting. It is a decision making body. I often refer to the collective group involved in these sync meetings as an Editorial Board. As a group, these Editorial Board members make the same decisions that publishers make during their editorial meetings. Here’s how to get local markets engaged in regular sync meetings and how to manage them.

Identify the Right Stakeholders for Global Content Marketing

It’s a pretty bad feeling to be listening on a conference call and wonder why you were invited in the first place. Those involved in the global/local sync meeting should all have decision making authority when it comes to putting a content idea into the content production process or distributing a piece of content. The recommended stakeholders include:

  • Headquarters Content Strategist
  • Headquarters Brand Manager
  • Headquarters Legal
  • Local Content Strategist
  • Local Brand Manager
  • Local Legal
  • Local Editor/Content Producer
  • Local Social Media Manager/SEO Manager
  • Local Paid Media Manager

Headquarters and each local market should have an Editorial Board. Pam Didner, author of the book Global Content Marketing, eloquently highlights the decisions about roles and responsibilities that need to be made once stakeholders have been identified. Please note that while I’ve read Pam’s book and love it, I’m also an affiliate partner and do get some shekels if you use my link to purchase the book.

“Who owns content creation? Very likely both the headquarters and regions will say that they own it. But that creates confusion over dual ownership. Then, the next question is who should lead? If the product or services are highly localized, it makes sense for regions or countries to lead the content creation effort, but have headquarters provide style guides and a creative playbook so that regions and countries can create content with a consistent look and feel.” – Pam Didner, author of Global Content Marketing

A Global Content Marketing Charter should be developed to outline the roles and responsibilities of the teams (global v. local) and the individuals within the teams. This document will help align the teams on the primary objectives that content marketing contributes to, which audiences the company is prioritizing and how content marketing programs are evaluated.

Put the Editorial Boards on a Cycle of Communications

The Editorial Boards should come together as a group during a sync meeting at least once a month. Subsequently, the Editorial Boards for each local market should meet to plan out their editorial calendar. You’ll learn to love these meetings. They will act as times of collaboration and learning.

The sync meetings should be utilized to highlight what content can be re-purposed by the local markets and to discuss what will be needed to make those localizations happen. In some cases, only translation will be needed. In other cases, the piece of content will need to be localized and translated.

The second agenda item on the sync meetings should be training. Content marketing is a fast evolving approach to, well, marketing. With that in mind, best practices need to be identified and circulated in a uniform manner. If you don’t think the team can handle making editorial decisions and training in a single meeting, you should rotate between the focus on editorial decisions and best practice training.

Learn About Your Audiences and Reduce Costs

I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that your audiences are more alike than you hypothesize and that you do not need to be creating as much content as you currently create. This of course is a broad generalization, but the point is that you should set out a process to determine how alike or different your audiences are across markets.

If a piece of content does well in one market, test it out in others and draw conclusions about the topics that are common interest points for local market audiences.

After you’ve identified which topics are of common interest and which are only of local interest, you can adapt your content strategy. Hopefully, you’ll find a number of topics that you no longer need to cover at the local level.

Your closer to your audiences and you’ve saved money – all because of a meeting.

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