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Content marketers are only as good as their ability to distribute content and deliver great user experiences to their audiences — and those experiences, online anyway, generally require some support from your tech team/IT department. After spending three days last week at the Intelligent Content Conference and presenting with my colleague and partner in content success, Senior Director of Content Engineering, Matt Bakaitis, I'm truly struck by how many content marketers don't have a closer relationship with their tech teams.
five years and how we've been able to As a content marketer, I'm obsessed with creating amazing, inspiring, interesting content that keeps my audiences coming back for more. But as I look back over the last continuously excite our audiences, there is absolutely nothing my team has done that would've been possible without Matt's support. Here are a few things I recommend to help improve your relationship with content engineering/IT/technology partners:
- Talk to them. Everyday. Matt and I sit right next to each other and are known to yell through cube walls to each other. When we have a new idea for something on our blog or website, we cannot create it without understanding the technology implications, limitations or further needs we need to explore or consider. Matt and I grab lunch regularly to talk through what's going on in our respective worlds. Understanding the demands on each other's teams helps us manage expectations and timelines. Communication is absolutely the most important thing. Make the time. DO IT.
- Don't buy any tool or software without having both of you at the table. Before Matt was involved in our work, I used to base purchase decisions on agency recommendations or just cool tools that were pitched to me by vendors that I liked. Well, none of those people really knew or understood our internal IT policies, limitations or structures. And I didn't either. I'm not really a "tech person." Ha! I just want things to magically happen! Matt's team is typically the magic. Things run much more smoothly when Matt and I review tools and tech together. How much work will it be to implement? Will it work with our policies? And on the flip side, Matt better understands the problems we might be trying to solve with this potential tool and often has better solutions or opportunities for us.
- Make sure your tech team knows your content creators and how they work. When things are happening in our enterprise technology space, it helps tremendously that when Matt's in those meetings/conversations he can advocate and speak on our behalf. He can proactively think about the impact on our teams and ensure we're part of the dialogue. In large enterprises, there are often software implementations or system changes that can have a dramatic impact on content development if not carefully considered.
- Build your roadmap together. We've been doing intensive content marketing for about five years at Cleveland Clinic, and we have big plans for the future. We have one goal: content world domination. Just kidding, not really, but our vision and goals for becoming the leading, trusted source for health content is only achieved if our content is globally accessible and people have a seamless experience when they come to any part of our site. While I'm focused on what that content looks and sounds like, Matt is focused on how to technically make it happen. Brainstorm those things together. Future projects and the prioritization of channels and implementations must be a true partnership between content marketers and content engineers.
- If you outsource any part of this process for any project, select vendors together.Involve each other in your RFP processes or vendor reviews. This has been a crucial factor in our success. We absolutely use agency partners for different things, but Matt's partners know me and my partners know him. There are no projects related to our sites that don't involve both content and tech considerations. Working together lets you be smarter in your vendor selections, avoid big hiccups along the way or catch each other off guard with demands or timelines you didn't see coming.
The bottom line is this: Content creators need tech partners and tech teams generally have no work to do without content. You need each other to be successful. Invest in the building the relationship — your teams will be much more successful and your users will have better experiences because of it.