This is the first of six articles I’m writing from my recent content marketing experience. For those of you reading articles last year will know I love to draw parallels between content marketing and leaders communication.
For the second year in a row on 8 June I packed my bags and headed North across the boarder to Edinburgh for the Content Marketing Academy Content Marketing Event, known as CMA Live!
Parallels between Content Marketing and Leaders Communication
What has content marketing got to do with how organisations run and leadership?
Some of you reading this may think nothing!
For the second year in a row I’ve come back buzzing with ideas. I can’t fail to see the parallels between content marketing and leaders communication. Just me? We’ll see!
Can Leaders in Organisations Learn From Content Marketing?
Let me take you through some of the thoughts I took away from speaker talks at CMA Live 2017! This week I’m starting with Chris Ducker.
Chris of Youprenuer fame opened the conference. He talked about Video. Video in terms of immediacy, therefore, instant validation.
By 2020 90% of all content will be on video.
Chris talked about launching his Youprenuer channel as a TV show in everyone’s pocket, connecting people to people. The immediacy of person to person contact via video provided instantaneous feedback that allowed him to test strategies and campaigns prior to launch.
He describes relationship building via video as:
I took this in marketing terms to mean being consistently visible, creating content, information and answering questions in a way that people enjoy. Setting out to become a trusted source, and finally the audience love your content to a point that you become their favourite source. Chris sets his intention to create content that:
Educates, Inspires, Entertains
So Leadership? Organisation Development?
Last year on my return from CMA 2016 I wrote an article – Can Social Media Inform Organisation Communication? From that article I can see how fast paced social media is. I was talking SnapChat, Periscope and Blab – where are they now?
A year on I still believe I was on to something and not just going mad!
From Chris I took three key messages I feel are essential for leaders today:
- The need for immediate feedback or validation
- A need to be visible and consistent
- Educate, Inspire, Entertain
The need for immediate feedback or validation – a two way process. Staff need quality and constructive feedback in order to perform, develop and to feel confident in their relationship with the organisation and leadership team. Likewise good leaders take the temperature of their employees to gauge receptiveness to change plans, and when developing new initiatives.
Great leaders understand staff closest to processes and customers have unrivalled richness of operational business knowledge. They value and include the views of staff in organisation decision-making.
Wouldn’t it be great to create an internal channel to communicate with staff. Messages would be consistent. Change processes and decision-making would engage all staff and invite immediate feedback. Leaders considered inaccessible would be visible. Staff would get to know the leadership team as humans, trust and engagement would be developed.
A need to be visible and consistent – there’s an overlap with the first point here, but the importance is real. How many times have you heard:
Sitting in their ivory towers making decisions that don’t work in practice – they’re out of touch with reality!
Leaders need to be visible in order to gain trust. Being visible isn’t just in times of change, crisis or on a quarterly site visit. It’s leading from the front. Being authentic and delivering a consistent message that people buy into and trust. Trust comes with rapport building and depth of relationships.
Chris’ Like – Trust – Love for me can be reflected in leadership. If leaders and business owners used social media live platforms to keep staff up to date they present the real person – their authentic self. For those with shared values and business vision we’re connecting with staff to engage in our message (like what they hear), and building trust by being visible, consistent and sharing information. Now I’m not saying our staff need to fall in love with us – far from it – that would just cause chaos! But! they can fall in love with our message, vision and ultimately the organisation.
I love working here!
We create a culture that people love because they are clear about values, messages are consistent, they’re engaged and leaders are visible.
This doesn’t mean everyone will follow the Like – Trust – Love theory if leaders experiment with methods of communication and engagement. I’ve learnt from content marketing – it’s a differentiator. Find your voice, be authentically you and people will self select. This is true of organisation culture. If your vision, values and behaviours are consistent and clear people will self select. They’ll vote with their feet if it’s not for them,or won’t join you in the first place.
Educate, Inspire, Entertain – I don’t know about you but the best leaders [managers] I had taught me the most, inspired me to develop my career, make choices and take risks, and they were charismatic – memorable! Wouldn’t it be great to think people said behind your back:
(s)he is the best ….. I’ve known. I learnt so much, was inspired to stretch myself and work was fun!
This may sound like utopia! Maybe it is for some organisations. BUT …
Change won’t happen overnight! Go on be creative with communication and engagement. Lead to differentiate!
Next week I’ll be taking you to Goa! with Roger Edwards as I share my top take aways from his fabulous talk!