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At Content Marketing World, Joe Pulizzi kicked things off with a fabulous talk about committing to content marketing and either doing it 100% or not at all. I couldn’t agree more. Personally, I have a hard time doing anything halfway, but I can see the temptation to just go through the motions and check the box of content marketing. It is a lot of work and takes time to generate tangible business results.

From start to finish, Content Marketing World, was incredible this year. Joe’s message really resonated with me. Our team at Cleveland Clinic is seriously committed to being the best content marketers we can possibly be, and our desire for constant excellence is what propels our continued success.

I also agree with Joe because those that are only half-assing it make it harder for those of us that are rocking it. They give our discipline a bad reputation. We cannot just keep throwing up more content and expect to get better. “Halfway” isn’t good for any brand, but most C-level executives don’t understand the difference or what it really takes to be committed to the art and science of content marketing. We as content marketers must understand it and communicate this message up. That said, I thought I’d share a few things I think it takes to be fully committed to content marketing and truly be “all in.”

1.      Time. Content marketing is not an overnight solution to driving more sales and revenue. It is a long game with many moving parts that makes a great impact on your business over TIME. It’s resource-intensive, and it is not enough to just create content. You must create GREAT content that stands out and gets noticed, and that takes time.Your creative teams need time to create. Your distribution team needs time to strategize, plan and execute on every channel.

2.      Team. Content marketing is not a one-person job. If your company is expecting one person to do this – and do it well – you are definitely not committed to success. Content marketing requires a wide range of talent and expertise to be effective. Strategy. Writing. Design. Social media. Email. Nobody can be an expert at all of those things. The necessary size and scale of your team really depends on how big you want your content marketing program to be, but the reality is you need a TEAM. Collaborating, brainstorming, sharing insights and learning together makes every content marketing effort that much more successful.

3.      Relentless dedication to your audience. Content marketing is not sales collateral. It is creating content that provides value to your audience and helps solve their problems. That means content marketers must relentlessly advocate for their audiences and commit to creating content that is useful, helpful and relevant to them. Fight the fights with those asking you to do content this completely self-serving and off-strategy. Commit to your content strategy. Say no. Develop ideas that are truly customer-driven.

4.      Data. Not just month-end reporting, but real-time optimization. Embracing the data available to you and understanding how to use it to create better content. Commitment to content marketing means commitment to your audience (see #3) and data helps you understand your audience. Data helps you understand where, when and how people want to engage with your content. Data pushes you to do better, be better. It fuels creativity and helps guide the best distribution strategies. Data is important to every step of content marketing programs. Embrace it. Leverage it.

5.      Bold leadership. Great content marketing requires risk-taking and strong advocacy within your organization. The most committed content marketers step up and make bold choices on behalf of their teams and audiences. In most newer content marketing programs, there is still a lot of justifying and explaining to C-level executives about why these efforts are worth the resources. To win continued support, you need a leader willing to stick their neck out every day and share the successes and failures with those executives. Leadership in content marketing means commitment to learning, growing and developing your own skills as well as those of your team members.

6.      Passion. To me, this is absolutely the most important. Don’t just be passionate about content marketing. Be passionate about AMAZING content marketing. Commit to doing it well. Commit to best practices. Be passionate about your work – every aspect of it. Every piece of content matters. Every touch point with your audience matters.Slow down. Do it right. Be thoughtful and creative. Don’t just check the box and get it done. Find a way to make it great.

Is this all it takes? What would you add to my list? What makes a truly committed content marketer?

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