Recently, I decided to take a new role as a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Bluecore, an email marketing automation startup. Bluecore had been doing content marketing for some time, but was looking for someone who could bring a new perspective and strategy to the program.
Today, I’m six weeks into the role and needless to say, it has been a whirlwind. While the first few days were certainly overwhelming, my consultative experience helped me attack the challenge pragmatically. Looking back on my first few weeks in this role, here are the top nine things I would recommend any content marketer to prioritize in his or her first 30 days:
Within my first week on the job, our marketing team was releasing a whitepaper, having a kick off call for planning an upcoming webinar, and preparing to migrate over to a new website design. In hindsight, sometimes it’s better to just jump in rather than have the time to psych yourself out and second guess your decisions! Understanding what was already scheduled and happening whether I was going to be prepared for it or not helped me prioritize what I needed to learn and plan around my other responsibilities and editorial calendar.
A content marketing manager role is one that uniquely impacts almost every aspect of a business. It helps with brand awareness, brand perception, conversions, customer retention, hiring initiatives and so much more. Because your role will impact so many departments, its imperative to sit down with that stakeholder and understand their challenges and needs. For a sales leader, you may ask them about frequently asked questions they hear and how your company is differentiated in the marketplace. For a customer success leader, you may ask them about retention issues or best practices they wished customers knew about. Not only does this help you better understand the state of your business, but it also gives you an opportunity to build a relationship with that stakeholder and establish a relationship for content.
To be honest, I lucked out with this one since our product marketing manager happened to be in the process of conducting customer interviews for a buyer persona exercise. However, reading her transcripts was incredibly valuable and gave me insight into the minds and challenges of our customers. It helped me grasp what every type of audience member is looking to us for and how we can proactively answer their questions. For these types of interviews, ask them tactical questions, such as what they need more of, what their day-to-day is like, what industry publications they read and what is their biggest challenge. You should also ask bigger picture questions, such as where they want to be in 5 years. A customer who wants to be a CEO and an industry thought leader can be a great resource for you to leverage for speaking engagements and contributing content.
This step is an example of some complexity I had drastically underestimated. From my experience at Salesforce, I had received decent exposure to different types of technologies and considered myself pretty savvy, but organizing and tracking down all the different logins and permissions and digging into the existing data was a very daunting task. For my role at Bluecore, I have different systems for project management, editorial planning, SEO, social media scheduling and management, email nurture, content publishing and website analytics (there are probably others I’m forgetting as well). Given that list, however, I’m sure I’m not unique in having a stack of systems to jump in and out of throughout the day. After a month of working in all of these systems, it isn’t so scary anymore.