Content marketing seems to be in every conversation these days, and our Kansas City Roundtable Discussion was no exception. Our members held a lively conversation at their first-ever local CMO Club Roundtable Discussion. John Hall, CEO of Influence & Co. was the leader and guest speaker, guiding a conversation about challenges in content marketing and how best to connect with your CEO.

Content is turning the marketing world on it’s head – like sticking the clearly compartmentalized departments of paid advertising, public relations, brand ambassadors, consumer feedback and corporate offices in a blender and pressing the ‘smoothie’ function.

In order to survive this blend of transparency and mixed media, brands need to make sure that all of their messages have the same flavor and lend to the overall tone of the company. Our CMOs know that personal communications are more public than ever, consumer content is the new advertisement and interns have the same (if not more) influence as CEOs on social media.

So how do we manage a cohesive brand message with so many moving parts?

Making Sure Everyone Knows They Play A Part In Brand Reputation

When you work in a small company or organization, it’s simple to hold a meeting and mention messaging to your team, sending everyone off to spread the word, confident in a unified team plan.

But what happens when your organization has several hundred employees? When they begin to franchise and create their own local teams? Or, what if you have a remote team?

One CMO mentioned this particular issue of keeping all teams united with a single message. Corporate offices need to make sure specific branding materials are supplied to each franchise, partner or brand advocate. This is crucial to keeping a large organization on-track. Otherwise, franchisees that aren’t given branded content may create their own materials, at the risk of becoming off-brand.

While it is impossible to maintain complete control of each branch (and what CMO would want that level of micro-managing to deal with?), it is possible to provide your teams with the right tools for success.

A quick marketing one-pager that re-iterates the company objectives and purpose, with content guidelines is a pro-active approach for creating branded content. It prevents a lot of time and money spent fixing misaligned messaging after it has already been posted.

CMOs should include guidelines on creating content, sharing corporate content, posting to social media and any other issues that may come up as the marketing team amplifies the brand message.

But what if the challenge isn’t creating a cohesive content marketing plan for all of your teams, but rather explaining the value of content? How do you express the ROI of content marketing to Executive teams looking for short-term gains?

Communicating Content Marketing ROI To Your Executive Team

In an article previously written by John Hall for Forbes, he explains 6 effective ways to describe the benefits of content marketing to your company – and why brands need to adopt a content marketing strategy ASAP.

Among these tactics two things stand out – anticipating CEO concerns and data. Knowing how your CEO will react is important for knowing which key benefits to highlight in your pitch. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools to help a CMO address even the trickiest of questions.

For CEOs interested in qualified lead generation, use traceable links to show where newsletter or email opt-ins are coming from. To provide information on sales, record how many contracts are signed from leads who download content online and ask how often new accounts bring up content to your sales team.

If the numbers and data don’t hit a homerun, bring up how the competition is doing in the way of content marketing. If they are cranking out quality content at the speed of light, your CEO won’t want to waste any time catching up – and surpassing – their efforts so that it’s YOUR brand that controls the conversation in your industry.

From CEO to franchisee, everyone wants to create marketing efforts that result in sales and a loyal customer base. A CMO’s task is to properly educate their team about the value and process of quality content creation, providing the tools for each member to act on.