I like to spend 30-45 minutes every Sunday trying to get myself organized for the work week ahead.
I think being at an early stage, pre-launch company is one of the best career experiences that I’ve ever gone through. It requires the ability to do more with less, being ok with failing a lot, and identifying ways to learn from it to produce great results for your audience the next time.
The hardest part about working for a pre-launch company with a lot of priorities is zooming out and not getting lost in all of the blocking and tackling. That’s why I don’t mind taking a small chunk of time after my pancakes on Sunday to make sure that I am setting myself up for success each week.
One of the topics that I always try to think about is what do I want to create that’s new from a content perspective. This can be topics for articles, the newsletter, or outreach to new guests on the podcast. The more I thought about topics for the week the more I continued to go back to content facilitation.
What is content facilitation?
You can listen to what Margaret Kelsey, Senior Director of Marketing at OpenView thinks about it.
You can listen to our CEO, Jonathan’s thoughts in the Monday episode of the 3C Podcast.
Content facilitation is the single most important marketing strategy that I believe can help propel content marketers and their companies forward in 2021.
Simply put, content facilitation is how some of the most successful content teams in the B2B marketing industry are leveling up their brands.
It’s a content marketing strategy where the marketer pulls the throttle back on solo production and allocates that time towards collaboration and quarterbacking the process.
It’s understanding the story that you want to share.
It’s deciding what topics matter most to your audience.
It’s researching who in your industry are the subject matter experts.
It’s doing the outreach to get subject matter experts into your process.
It’s creating the content
It’s distributing the content.
OMAHA! OMAHA! It’s my chance to call out content audibles on the fly and act like my favorite athlete of all-time, Peyton Manning.
It's getting everyone involved on the same page and running that play that converts to a touchdown for your audience.
Because this is the foundation for how we are going to market at The Juice I wanted to share my process and the reasons why I think you should be thinking about content facilitation for your brand.
How to Launch a Winning Content Facilitation Program in B2B Marketing
Create a show
I wrote an article back in March about Creating a Show with Great Guests in B2B Marketing. When I wrote the post I couldn’t help but think that B2B marketers should be operating more like Jimmy Fallon and less like the B2B marketer running the playbook from 5 years ago.
I still think this and I'd like to double down on it.
We live in a world where content is curated for us and is delivered in an episodic format.
We listen to podcasts to get educated on topics to make us better at our jobs.
We watch (*cough* binge *cough*) entire series of our favorite shows over a lazy weekend.
Having a show and being streamable is table stakes for getting noticed and creating an audience in 2021.
When I joined The Juice I made the decision that we needed to have a show and that we were going to start with a podcast.
Enter the birth of the 3C Podcast and the framework that allows for content facilitation to even be possible at The Juice.
Select a premise that elicits rants
When I started the 3C podcast I knew that I wanted it to be an opportunity to curate content creators. I knew this was important because:
- Our existing audience was made up of content marketers
- Content marketers seemed like an underserved population in B2B marketing and had so much passion to learn
- I had several introductory calls with content marketers and realized they had a ton to say
I viewed the podcast as an opportunity to network, do a recording, and help streamline The Juice’s content at an early stage. I didn’t really get caught up in exactly what the show was about until I began to ask a simple question when I met potential guests:
Why do you think B2B marketing sucks?
I learned to ask the question and get out of the way. Guests were giving me everything and the kitchen sink on these calls.
I knew I was on to something when I could feel the passion on the other end.
This is when I knew content facilitation was a strategy that was going to help push us forward.
It was going to help us meet future partners, grow our audience, and begin to associate brands that we aspired to be.
This has proven true so far.
Great content facilitation is creating a show that is frictionless for the guest to participate with a topic that gets them to stand on their soapbox and let it out.
I began to realize that participating in our podcast was therapeutic for both me and the guests that were coming on.
We were on to something.
Master the outreach process
One of the most overlooked pieces of the content facilitation process is mastering outreach.
No one has time for batch and blast podcast requests. This is where you need to put on your prospecting cap and lean into personalization.
We operate in an era where information, content, and data exists on anyone who we’d want to have on our shows.
First impressions are everything during the content facilitation process. Your guests want to feel important and the value up front.
Taking the time to personalize your outreach will lead to more success.
A big reason why content facilitation works is because it is combined of several different pieces that do not scale.
Taking time to research my guest targets and craft a message that I would respond to has increased my conversion rate.
Do the work. Build the process. Learn. Rinse. Repeat.
Make your guests show up like industry thought leaders
What’s better than good outreach?
Getting an email back from your future guest telling you that they are interested in learning more.
This is where having a process in place comes in handy. We are on episode 33 of the 3C Podcast and here’s the process that has worked best for us so far.
- Have an introductory call: This call is about doing discovery and taking notes.
- Schedule recording: I do this before we hang up the intro call
- Email a week out: Synthesize your notes into 4 or 5 bullets that you think would make for a great episode. This is an opportunity to make sure you are aligned before the call
- Have a conversation not an interview: Humanize your podcast by making it sound like people sitting at a table talking about topics that matter to your audience. Refrain from being rigid.
- Follow up: Make sure that you let your guests know when the episode goes live and make them a part of the process
The key ingredient for successful content facilitation is making sure your guests look like the thought leaders on the topic that you covered in the episode.
You can help do this with good editing (Outsource Post-Production - that's what Fiver is for).
You can do this with a great promotional plan.
You can do this with collaboration from the guest as the episode goes live.
Any progressive company and marketing team wants their people to be in front of a microphone sharing perspective on topics that matter to their audience.
This is your opportunity to get your guests companies to help with cross promotion.
This is your opportunity to get your show in front of new eyes.
This is why content facilitation is so powerful.
Content marketing will always be about creating content that is beneficial for your audience. Creating content with your audience is the next level of content marketing that not only helps amplify your brand, but layers in a strong foundation of social proof for your future customers who are researching your product who might be unknown amongst your audience. 🧃