How to find the Optimal Balance Between Central and Local Content Teams

This post has originally been published on NewsCred’s Insights content hub. This is my original version. It includes content and references that had to  be removed from the company’s blog. 

One of the most critical aspects of going global with a content marketing strategy in a large and complex enterprise is finding the right balance between central and local organisations. In fact, just deploying a content marketing model across multiple regions – even if it has been tested successfully in one country – will simply not work. You need to plan, find the right global to local balance, pilot and then scale at global level. In most regions, like Asia or Europe for example – with dozens of different countries and languages, – it is unrealistic to make content work for each individual market. Continue reading “How to find the Optimal Balance Between Central and Local Content Teams”

Global Content Marketing: How to Find the Right Balance Between Central and Local Teams

For a global content marketing strategy to be effective in a large and complex enterprise, central and local teams must find the right balance.

Just deploying a content marketing model across multiple regions will simply not work – even if you’ve successfully tested it in one country. In most regions, like Asia or Europe, for example, where there are dozens of countries and languages, it is unrealistic to expect that global and local teams will work together seamlessly from the beginning. It takes time for them to plan, pilot, iterate, and find the right global to local balance.

In this post, published by NewsCred’s Insight, I’ll discuss how you can find that balance.

How Editorial Boards empower Content Marketing Strategy

Content Editorial Boards

Editorial boards are an old tradition at media and newspapers. In today’s digital marketing world, brands’ content editorial boards aren’t quite as influential but still serve a critical role in content marketing strategy. This post will explain why and how to set up central and local editorial boards and is a subset of the Strategy Collection.

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It should not come as a surprise that the content marketing strategy has to stand side by side with an internal organizational transformation. In fact, today’s marketing organizations are barely designed to properly support a content marketing strategy. The content editorial board is the core of your transformation. The board has to handle all content-related requests and issues, has to define the distribution/amplification strategy and content measurement framework. In large organizations the editorial board has the key role of alignment and coordination between several division and content sources. Finally it has the task to finalize an internal content communication and distribution plan.

The board has to manage the so called content ecosystem: the combination of internal writers, internal and guest bloggers, agencies and freelances that will support your editorial efforts. External sources have to be educated and in some large firms certified, in order to be part of your ecosystem.

Without a plan, an editorial board and editorial calendar, nothing will happen.

The choice of content editorial board members depends on the central marketing organization, which can be complex or lean. In general, I suggest the following macro-areas of expertise:

  • content & persona owners: they are responsible for content and personas. Functionally, the domain could be represented by strategic marketing reps, product managers or technology leads;
  • channel/content distribution owners: they are expert of content and content distribution via different channels – email, social media, SEO, paid promotion, etc.
  • geographies: it’s always interesting to invite one of more geographies to the content meetings. Advantage is two fold: getting early inputs from geos and learning about new content created at local level which might be “elevated” at global level

The editorial calendar is the tool of the content editorial board. It is much more than just a calendar with content assigned to dates. A good editorial calendar maps content production to the audience persona and the phases of the buyer journey. Ultimately, the editorial calendar is your most powerful tool as a content marketer. Without a plan, an editorial board and editorial calendar, nothing will happen.

Fact is, there should be two calendars in place: the (content) production and the distribution calendar. Here is where software like Content Marketing Platforms (CMPs) can make the difference and increase the board’s effectiveness. In absence of a proper CMP, production and distribution could be unified under the same spreadsheet.

While the central editorial team will lead content strategy at a global level, a local editorial board should be in place in each major country or geography to manage proper local content planning and distribution. The choice of editorial board members depends one more time on the local marketing organization. In general, I suggest the following members:

  • A field marketer responsible for operations in that specific country;
  • A digital marketing lead (or individual channel distribution leads – social media, web, newsletter, SEO – in larger organizations);
  • A content lead (assuming that the country has a content lead);
  • A strategic marketing lead (or a local product marketer)
  • Members of the local content agency – if an agency is supporting local operations

The local editorial board will agree with the central team on target personas, lead the decision for adopting content created centrally, contract with local vendors, and engage members of the central team to secure a strong, continuous dialogue.

Before You “Go Global”: the Role of Pilot Programs in Global Content Marketing

Pilot Programs Content Marketing

I cannot remember a time in my life where I was not travelling. In a way, it has been a constant whether I was doing it for business or pleasure. Citing Imogen Hall, Lonely Planet’s writer: “Travel is a force for good: it broadens our mind, develops cultural empathy and gives us a better understanding of the world” And so I thought I knew the world; but when you have to develop content for different geographies, well, it feels like you never stepped outside of your front door.

If I look back at my first global content marketing journey, started in mid-2015 in Schneider Electric with the definition of the content strategy for one of the Division of the energy firm, and the process that would sustain that strategy, we spent one full year with central execution as a required preparation for the global launch. The way we prepared ourselves for the global launch was through multiple pilot programs. Learning from our own experience – and, also, from our mistakes.

Content Marketing takes time, especially if the plan is to rollout the program across different geographies. This is even more true for large enterprises where traditional marketing models might prevent the need for change to be understood in time.

Continue reading “Before You “Go Global”: the Role of Pilot Programs in Global Content Marketing”

The Ultimate Guide to Global Content Marketing for Large Enterprises

Global Content Marketing

I wrote this post less than one year ago. It was November 2016, exactly twelve months after launching a global content marketing program for the IT Business Unit of Schneider Electric.

The same month I presented my experience at NewsCred’s ThinkContent 2016 Conference in London. Today, less than one year later, I have revised and updated the original post, with examples and experiences coming from other companies where I contributed to implement global content marketing programs. I added three paragraphs too (“Definitions”, “Localisation” and “Metrics”), to touch relevant topics that in my view were not properly covered on the original post. The original post was mainly focused on B2B best practices – which is natural if you come, as I did, from 15 years of experience in B2B enterprises. This time it includes B2C examples and considerations. Also, this post partially reflects what I presented at CMWorld 2017, the largest global Content Marketing Conference.

Since last year, my passion for traveling has not changed. In fact, I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not travelling. In a way, it has been a constant whether I was on the road for business or pleasure. My travels have given me a better understanding of the world. But I never knew how much I had to learn until I was tasked to launch a brand new global content marketing program for Schneider Electric. In short: I thought I knew the world, but when you have to develop content for different geographies, well, it feels like you never stepped outside your front door.

My first global content marketing journey started in three years ago, when my team and I began defining Schneider Electric IT Division’s content strategy and the processes that would sustain it. Our goals were twofold: increase leads and marketing opportunities, which were flat and stagnating at that time (marketing opportunities had to count at least for 20% of overall opportunities), and increase brand awareness. After defining our strategy, we spent one full year preparing for the global launch through multiple pilots. We learned an incredible amount from our successes and mistakes. One year later I replicated the same model with global clients once I moved to NewsCred at the beginning of 2017.

What follows is a series of valuable considerations from all these experiences, which should prove helpful to other marketers who are establishing and launching their own global content marketing strategy.

Continue reading “The Ultimate Guide to Global Content Marketing for Large Enterprises”

Why Mobike’s global content strategy will fail (if they won’t change model)

I was at the Linate airport in Milan, yesterday. Back to London. Getting prepared for Easyjet’s boarding process (Easyjet starts boarding two hours before the scheduled time; then they let you endlessly wait somewhere in a line between the gate and the airplane). I was looking at my Twitter timeline. A tweet promoted by Mobike caught my attention. The tweet was about the new public dockless bike service Mobile is launching in Italy, specifically in Milan and Florence. I believe they are running similar pilots in the UK. London and Manchester.

Cool idea, good business model. Green stuff. Approved by hipsters.

But something was wrong.

Continue reading “Why Mobike’s global content strategy will fail (if they won’t change model)”