When SalesLoft started, I wrote every single blog post. I was the Founder, CEO, salesperson, product manager, head of the company that was focused on sales development. The posts came natural because I was executing, solving problems, and interacting with others every day all around sales development. We also didn’t have any employees, revenue, customers, or all those other issues that come with running a company and get in the way of writing.
Eventually a company has got to grow up. It’s the founders responsibility to develop the next generation of content leaders. In our case, these bright young minds haven’t been in sales their whole life. They don’t have a background of prospecting or a level of day-to-day involvement we have as founders.
So how do we take this team to a point where they can write better than what I used to write?
We’ve run into some challenges as we’ve made this transition. Here are a few:
- The writing team doesn’t have the same domain experience.
- They’re not living sales development on a day-to-day basis.
- The team isn’t interacting as much with other departments or leaders.
- Create a mastermind group. The charter for the content team is to create a group of 4-5 experts on their specific area of content. For us, it’s top of the funnel prospecting and selling. Some of these influencers are internal to our company and some are external (heads of other companies, speakers, writers, consultants). The goal is to spend 30 minutes with each of them 2x / month and get quotes, questions, ideas that can go into multiple blog posts.
- Consume the best niche content on a daily basis. Content marketers should be following the best writers for their topics. They should read AT LEAST one blog per day and reflect on it. The important part here is drowning out the noise and finding the essential authors on the web.
- Ask better smart questions. Knowing how to ask poignant questions that will make sense to the person you’re asking is crucial in order to gather great content ideas.
- Instill a milestone based content process with editorial checks and balances. We’ve found a lot of value instilling benchmarks in the editorial process. No longer are drafts reviewed in their final stages — we’ve instilled a a milestone based process of checks and balances from inception to publish. For example: our writers will create a grouping of headlines and get buy-in on the concept before they start writing. Then they’ll form a thesis with 4-6 supporting sub headlines before they write out the draft. Then they’ll get feedback on text breakup, images, etc. Once they’re experienced going through the process, they can run full speed ahead.
When migrating from founder produced content to team produced content, education is key. Content creators need to produce stronger content than the founding team. They can do it. Forming a mastermind group, consuming the best content, prioritizing great questions, and running a milestone-based production process will help them accomplish their mission.