13 March 2024 |

How to build content programs that align your whole team

By Tracey Wallace

Every content marketing team is trying to do the same thing: create incredibly impactful content. And every content marketing team is often facing the same challenge: getting your internal team to care, to do something with what is created. 

This is a real issue. When your larger team doesn’t know what you are creating, they can’t use it––nor give feedback about why they aren’t using it other than, “I didn’t know it existed.”

You can email them. You can Slack them. You can create content libraries, and even site-wide search, and still, people are people. And they want what they want, when they want it, and memories are short. 

So, while people often don’t know what was published, they do know what they want. Content teams are often overloaded with requests, and this is where your solution lies. 

By collecting all of the requests, laying them out on the table, and figuring out how to rearrange them into holistic content programs and packages that align the team, you can bring together disparate needs across the org into cross-functional visibility that makes your work more impactful. 

In other words, when multiple teams use the content you create, you see multiples on your content return. 

A couple definitions:

  • A content package: A grouping of several different types of content assets stemming from the same research, tactic, interview, etc. For instance, if you do a consumer research report, the package will include the guide, the supporting article, and the webinar, for instance. 
  • A content program: A content program contains at least 2 content packages, typically related by theme and ideally targeting different parts of the funnel. 

Here’s an example of a way to put it all together:

Now, how do you actually do this? Here’s a way:

  • Meet with all content stakeholders. These include:
    • Product marketing
    • Sales 
    • Comms
    • Customer success 
    • Product 
    • HR / Internal comms 
  • Determine their goals for the quarter, and how content could help them hit those goals. 
  • Determine the narratives they want to tell, what products they want to highlight, and their general timelines. 
  • Record it all––I use Google Sheets, so it doesn’t need to be fancy. 
  • Then, analyze all the requests. Find commonalities among the needs, and determine an angle and content package that can hit the goals of all requesting parties. 
  • Ideally you end up with 3-5 primarily topics / themes for the quarter. These will become your programs, in which you begin to play a steady drumbeat throughout a quarter with new assets rotating in to move prospects (and customers if you sell more than one product) down the funnel. 
  • Organize the programs, packages and all individual assets on a content calendar, and build out briefs for each program, at the very least. Here is a content program template you can use. 

In this model, you spend a lot of time creating briefs because you need briefs for:

  • Each content program
  • Each content package
  • Each content asset 

Yuck, right? Not necessarily. A big part of a senior content marketer’s job is alignment with the larger team, because the more involved the larger team feels, the more they will use the content in all of their programs––and the more impact you and your team’s work will create. 

There are often too many cooks in content marketing kitchens, but pulling out of the weeds and building documents that help others see the forest while zooming into the trees wins you support, alignment, and ultimately distribution and promotion. 

It’s worth the work. And depending on your title, it might actually be the work.