Marketing has evolved from a way to get the word out to potential customers into a powerful resource capable of guiding brands through a change process to improve content operations at every level. Why? They’re the true architects of pulling together the right technology, tools, and trend insights to naturally build trust in customer facing offerings.

This combination of skills puts marketers in a unique position to help brand leaders rethink and guide changes within content operations in realistic, impactful ways. These are ways that build trust internally while improving the clarity and efficiency of the content creation process from start to finish.

Updating how content is created, managed, and shared internally and online creates a competitive edge that leads to more strategic and meaningful personalized content to effectively pre-qualify sales leads. In other words, this content generates a sales funnel that’s highly tuned. And what brand would turn down the opportunity to craft a content operation that’s efficient, targeted, and eliminates the constant content creation hamster wheel?

The invitation ahead for brands is to commit to mapping the way through a change process by pulling in one very important ingredient: transparency. Transparency creates room for teams to build trust among each other and with leaders in the organization, and it serves as a solid foundation for open communication about the best tools and mindset to build a better company-wide content operation.

So, let’s get started on the how!

5 Simple, Clear Steps Towards Change

As a brand, you’re responsible for crafting the culture that enables teams to thrive. Most team members struggle with implementing change when they feel unable to share ideas or opinions throughout the process or don’t have a clear way to voice concerns about the fidelity of the change process. Surprises or educational gaps can also arise and throw off momentum.

So, start by outlining important basics for communication and deliverables.

1. Process Clarity from Leadership

The change process in and of itself is unique in that it needs to have structure but also be flexible enough to flow with what emerges along the way.

Executive leadership has a huge initial role in outlining and explaining the why and how behind the change process and the ways it ties to desired outcomes.

Assign qualified leaders at the team level to manage the day-to-day execution and deliverables and to act as a sounding board, managing any confusion or morale challenges. The presence of such a leader goes a long way to keep the process nimble and in alignment with bigger goals.

2. Set the Foundation First

Putting the foundation first helps with team confidence and clarity, sets clear expectations and crucial milestones, and provides a healthy environment to build trust to successfully complete shared work.

Clearly outline policies around team communication and specifics about deadlines to keep efforts productive and moving forward. Have management and key stakeholders share the main goals and provide specific tools to reduce stress and confusion during a content management transition.

3. Instate Accountability and Integrity

With any change process, it’s essential for each person to pull their weight. It’s equally important to feel safe to speak up when a coworker is not meeting deadlines or commitments—or not updating the core systems used to track team progress on shared tasks.

To help team members stay on the same page during a change process—and take ownership for their part in it—set up regular mandatory check-in meetings and provide a specific space to host shared deliverables.

Encourage team members to speak up when deliverable deadlines are impacted and explain why. Urge them to be equally transparent when they’re unable to meet deadlines as planned.

Use keywords to tag documents, making them easy to find and track. If more specs or requirements are needed, create a documented space for open communication among team members, and make it available in a shared online space.

4. Keep Open Communication

An ongoing sore spot for large brands is to work through “silo challenges” where information gets hung up within one team or a team does not clearly communicate with others in the organization. These challenges become even more obvious in a change process, as old habits and patterns are revealed and required to shift.

Be open with teams to outline exactly how they can communicate better internally and offer ways to settle sticking points with a neutral third party. In the long run, it will invite clear open communication as the new standard and contribute to fostering trust.

5. Define Success

Nothing is more satisfying than reaching a long-term goal as a group, but there’s a difference between completion and success.

Paint the big picture for what a successful change process looks and feels like—and what it means down the road. The vision for a brand should be sharper and more targeted after moving through a change, especially when it comes to being a more efficient content operation.

Hidden Power of the Trust Factor

Despite all good intentions, a plan is just a plan. Trust is what’s most essential for a positive change process follow-through because it builds team communication skills and creates integrated forward momentum in the long term.

When in the heat of change, it’s important to remember a few things:

Maximize Change Energy

Trust in the process is most visible when unexpected changes arise.

For example, SCIEX, a global leader in life science and analytical technologies, was able to rapidly adopt account-based marketing (ABM) tools and strategies because their content was organized, tagged, and visible within a single repository. This approach to content management and indexing is becoming more common as industry marketing tactics change, and content needs to keep pace.

Present a United Front 

Trust is most critical in stressful moments.

Part of being a dynamic brand is being able to take the show on the road, so to speak, via tradeshows and networking events. It’s also when trust is the most essential to create a united brand front.

CA Technologies needed to streamline content production for CA World, their largest annual event, using a fine-tuned content operation. With so many factors to consider, it was essential for various teams to combine forces and execute one united expression.

Aligning across an entire team takes more than wishful thinking: it requires visibility into everything around the event. That means the swag, internal guides, collateral, agendas, and so on. For CA World, they created a campaign within their content marketing platform to ensure everyone could see the content they needed at any given time.

Leverage Full Tech Benefits

Trust is essential to reap future technology benefits.

Analog-based industries are in the midst of a content operation change process, too, including journalism, manufacturing, and more. As they explore ways to improve content operations to get leaner and more Agile, the change can put old systems into question and create stress.

At the same time, technology can be a positive tool when fear is taken out of the picture and users trust the change will be helpful. When we can see technology changes as part of business growth moving forward in all industries, teams can be more open to seeing fresh possibilities. A little short-term change can open up a whole new way of creating, or new career opportunities, while reducing the slog that’s become part of the regular workday.

Trust is an essential part of the change process and has a specific role in helping teams blend vision with efficiency.

Taking stock of what’s working and what needs more support and including education and feedback at every level, are the elements that make efficient change possible.

And trust makes it doable.

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Katrina Pfannkuch

About Katrina Pfannkuch

Katrina Pfannkuch is a creativity consultant specializing in writing, editing, strategy & coaching. She's a bit of a data nerd & loves seeing how pieces of the informational puzzle come together to paint a creative picture. Catch Katrina & her insights on kick-starting creativity at @creativekatrina on Twitter.