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How to create collaborative content

The best content is collaborative content! Here's how to make the most of expertise from around your business.

Sophie Thompson
18th August 2021

The best content is collaborative content! We are such big fans of collaboration, we built a whole product around it - online collaboration tools are actually responsible for a 30% increase in productivity.

As much as it pains us content markers to admit it, there are actually many people in every business that can help you create amazing content - they may even have more expertise than you in certain areas!

Benefits of collaboration include

Save time - you don't have to think of all the ideas by yourself

Minimize risk of mistakes by utilizing expertise

Get more creative input, through different voices and appeal to a wider audience

Build better relationships across your business and get more buy-in for marketing

Teams great to collaborate with:

HR: work together on social media policies to ensure all employees know what's OK to post (related to the company) and where they should use caution

Engineers/Tech: first-hand expertise on building and managing your product or website - this makes great blog content

Design: tips on branding, UI design, aesthetics and templates for your social media posts and overall marketing content

CEO and Exec Team: communicate their journey in empowering blog posts or even let them takeover your social channels for the day (under your watchful eye of course). Senior leaders or other authoritative figures are great for building trust and personable relationships with your customers

Of course, collaborative content doesn't always have to be from inside your business, partners and customers make great contributors too!

Guest-blogs, partnered social posts, interviews, backlinks, and expert roundups can all enhance engagement.

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Here are some other examples of collaborative content to work on in and outside of your organization:

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Case Studies Case studies are mutually beneficial for you and your client base, they allow you to build stronger relationships with them and share their successes as much as yours - you can cross-promote their brand while demonstrating how good yours is! This case study can then be repurposed as a website quote, blog, or even a video.

Podcasts 50% of all US homes are podcast fans! As the industry becomes more saturated, one of the best ways to achieve success is to partner with an influencer or other authoritative figure from your industry on an episode - you're essentially doubling your reach for that episode, and will potentially get some new, long-term fans too.

Collaborative studies Original research is so powerful. It provides an opportunity to conduct studies that can be linked back to your brand and provide unrivalled detail about what your clients want, allowing you to tweak your offering, tone of voice, and entire online presence accordingly.

That being said, they can also be expensive to conduct. By collaborating with a partner on this project, you save time, resources, costs, and they will more than likely be experts in another area to you. You may even be able to double the breadth of the study, and of course, share its success when completed.

How to deal with difficult collaboration settings

We get it. Not everyone in your business will be as open to collaboration as you'd hope. But whether lack of time or not wanting to cross paths with other teams is the excuse, there's always a solution that will help in the long run.

Some of the challenges you may face include:

  • Getting other people to give you their time
  • Getting people to care about marketing
  • Getting people to see how what you're doing is benefitting them!
  • Getting people to agree with your feedback on projects you do collaborate on

Here are some ways to get around these tricky situations...

  • Keep communication open and honest and stay in touch with people about parts of the process that they may not be involved in - it's good to be kept in the loop and know someone was thinking of you!
  • Create a brief document for projects outlining everyone's roles and responsibilities
  • Tie the project you're working on back around to how it's going to benefit the person you're collaborating with. Will it help build their personal profile? Set them up with more leads?

How to keep your collaborative content process streamlined

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Using a collaboration-first tool such as ContentCal, you can brainstorm ideas, create content, get sign off, and publish all from one place, which is essential when multiple people are working on a project. Emails can quickly get lost in translation!

Let's go through each step:

Play to your team's strengths

Whether inside your business or outsourced, everyone you're working with on a project will have different skill sets. It's essential to make sure you're honing in on what people enjoy and what they're good at to get the best outcome!

Create a spreadsheet or other document with potential roles that may come up during the project, and allow people to assign them to themselves or express interest. That way, everyone is doing something they feel they can do well.

Brainstorming

There are multiple brainstorming methods you can use to come up with great ideas collaboratively. So whether a round-robin or stepladder-ing is your thing, you can bring everything together using ContentCal's Contributions feature.

Having everyone in the company on board and transparent about marketing launches, as well as giving them the opportunity to give their own ideas and feedback about projects is one of the main reasons we launched it!

Contributions is essentially a way of creating custom-made forms that can be sent either to clients or fellow team members to collect ideas or information. This allows you to easily curate content suggestions while maintaining control over the overall content plan.

The beauty of Contributions is that it can be used for things such as daily social media posts, right through to meaty marketing campaigns.

In fact, we’re so confident in the feature, we even used Contributions to market the launch of Contributions, encouraging colleagues from around ContentCal to submit their ideas of how we could raise awareness with our users.

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Creating your content - and getting feedback

Creating content is the easy part, but things can quickly get messy when feedback, edits, and final sign-off are involved.

That's why having transparency across your team is essential for keeping things on track. Some of ContentCal's other features including comments (for feedback), one-click sign-off, and being able to work collaboratively across content at the same time makes things so easy.

You should also set expectations from the start and assign roles, so that when feedback comes around, there's no tension or upset. It's just feedback!

Accountability

The most important aspect of teamwork is that if there's one broken link in the team, the rest of the tasks can quickly be taken down with it. It's essential that everyone is clear on their roles in creating content, and held somewhat responsible for anything not getting done. It's not necessarily about questioning someone's efforts, but more about empowering and helping each other to create the best content possible - because that's the main aim of collaboration isn't it?

Collaborating with your customers

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How can you encourage customers to collaborate with you too? Let's take a look...

  • Offer an incentive, such as a discount or prize - it's also a great opportunity to create a bank of UGC
  • Give them a chance to use their voice and share their experience by inviting them to host a workshop with you
  • Invite them to product feedback sessions and roundtables

You should also make sure you've got quick reply times, personalized emails, and tone of voice documents in place in order to build strong relationships with customers and make them more open to collaborating with you.

Make sure you've downloaded our giant communication plan template for a transparent and collaborative approach to your strategy, covering all bases - including crisis comms!


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