I’ve written before about how to effectively manage content across an organization. That’s because I want to stress that while it can seem daunting at first, it’s actually doable.
But what about when you’re trying to manage content on a regional or even global scale? This is a challenge, especially for global enterprises or companies with offices in different countries.
Well, I always encourage my clients to focus on baby steps regardless of task size. Once you get the ball rolling, everything becomes much, much easier.
Here are a few examples of some actionable baby steps:
- Start by reaching out to others who are doing a similar job to try and understand what they are creating
- Compare notes on messaging and story framework with other content creators
- Determine business and marketing objectives and decide if the content you’re creating ties to corporate objectives genuinely
Additionally, it can be incredibly useful to set up a cross-company editorial committee to make sure everyone is on the same page. That way, you’ll be able to create a more consistent and integrated content approach.
This doesn’t have to be an overly formal operation, it just needs to facilitate communication. It’s about herding the cats.
You can also take the initiative to share what you’re personally working on, as well as offer support to others. By taking this first step, you will likely be seen as a doer and a helper, and that should boost people’s willingness to work with you moving forward.
Remember to keep your expectations realistic. Because content management is a marathon and not a race, initial enthusiasm can be quickly abandoned.
In order not to lose steam, it can help to utilize a content management system (CMS) to keep everyone in the loop and on track. It’s also helpful to establish face-to-face meetings on a regular basis (whether in-office or over Zoom), even if they’re informal, to hold everyone accountable.
The clear signal of your grass-roots effort gaining momentum is when the organization or senior management assigns an editor, a content strategist, or a content lead.
If senior management is willing to utilize one headcount or half a headcount to lead, coordinate, and monitor content efforts, it means that either the existing content is such a mess that someone needs to clean it up or that your content is so important that it requires dedicated leadership.
Either way, this is great news. Especially if you want to scale content across different countries and coordinate between headquarters and regions.
Cross-regional content planning requires leadership
In general, most content production initiatives tend to start in an organic way with headquarters and local working in parallel.
Here’s one possible scenario for how to get things started: the corporate office starts creating product-related content to educate customers. Product-related content can turn into useful features and tips content for customers. Then it can evolve into how-to guides, product comparisons, or even predictions and trends to showcase the company’s thought leadership and expertise.
Eventually, content can be created to educate customers at all of the various stages of the purchase cycle and facilitate the sales process. Since headquarters has likely produced content already, it makes sense to leverage that content for other regions to boost efficiency.
It’s essential to keep in mind that not all content translates or localizes well to other languages or cultures.
In this sense, it’s crucial to utilize your team at the local level and incorporate their input up-front to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Of course, the collaboration process can be lengthy when content creation becomes a consensus approach. This may impact the quality of results.
Sometimes, you may need to reject some local requests in order to maintain a certain standard of content quality. Or, the local team may reject corporate assets and completely create their own content.
In addition, not all countries’ content is created equally. If your company plans to penetrate specific countries’ audiences, you need to factor that in as part of the content creation process, which should be addressed in the global content planning process.
I have noticed that headquarters teams from many companies continue to create content without much input from their local teams – they just share the result of their efforts with them.
This approach may work if local teams have the resources and skills to take the produced content list and then determine which content would be most effective to localize and translate.
The model also works when the products are highly localized, and the local team generates quite a lot of original content themselves. However, this may not be very efficient.
There is always a trade-off between cost and efficiency for cross-regional content production.
The bottom line
Regardless of the size of a company, content planning and coordination between different divisions or across countries can be challenging.
Bottom-up and organic collaboration and planning can only take you so far. A top-down approach with explicit commitment from management is essential to be able to sustain effective content planning and coordination between divisions and across regions.
It may take some time, but once you’ve struck the right balance, you should have a much easier time staying the course as you plan and produce high-quality content.