More and more of us are spending our time at work and home online. An increase in the time we spend online has made us not only more connected, but also more cynical about what we see and read online. It has increased the pace in which we dismiss things.
All of this has created a challenge in content marketing for brands trying to get their message in front of potential consumers. How do you sell to people who are either too cynical to accept your message or too time-poor to understand it?
If this challenge sounds familiar, it’s because it is.
People starting out on their first project with Lean Six Sigma, or undertaking the first few steps in a business improvement implementation also face these same problems. Senior management can be closed-minded to approaches they have seen fail elsewhere.
Resource-limited departments make it difficult to put lessons into practice when you return. And line managers may not be able or willing to spare the time to provide support or champion your efforts.
So, let’s look at the six key lessons we can learn from how the content marketing industry has overcome its challenges.
Focus on quality, not quantity
A reader may enjoy a great graphic or gif, but a quality content marketing strategy is not complete without some interesting, educational or informative copy to support it. If your strategy consists of a high volume of low quality output, not only will your readership get bored pretty quickly, but it may even undermine your website performance and brand perception.
Similarly, with a new Lean Six Sigma implementation, the temptation can be to begin work on several different easy projects in order to show some quick results.
While a few quick wins will be beneficial to get initial doubters on board, you need to ensure your overall strategy is one of quality projects that address complex, systemic issues within the company. Fail to tackle the meaty problems head-on and your company will lose faith in the whole implementation, damaging your reputation and the credibility of business improvement as a whole within your company.
If it works, do it again
One of the key tools in a content marketer’s armoury is repurposing. That blog post secured loads of traffic to the website? Great, take the key figures and turn them into an infographic. Really successful video? Write up a supporting article.
In this way, content marketers get more bang for their buck. Taking something that has already proven itself and squeezing all of the extra possible traction you can get out of it saves time and resources.
This is something not done often enough in Lean Six Sigma implementations. Project replication (or rollover opportunities to use the correct term) is identifying other areas of the business where the success of your project can be replicated.
By looking for rollover opportunities, businesses are getting two, three or sometimes more successful projects while only using the time and resources for one. This steely focus on resources will instantly make directors stand up and pay attention.
Play the long-game
Content marketing is a powerful tool, but it takes months to deliver the benefits. Good content marketers know this and are prepared to play the game for long-term success rather than focus on clickbait that’ll deliver a flash in the pan but no enduring benefits (also see Quality vs Quantity above).
The same is true of Lean Six Sigma. While small quick win projects can deliver immediate savings, the overall goal has to be one of long-term, permanent improvement rather than a focus on short-term gains. Only by playing a long-game can you be sure that continuous improvement becomes part of the business culture. Wise Lean Six Sigma personnel will ensure their senior managers are aware of time it takes to create a successful Lean Six Sigma implementation from day one, so that expectations are carefully managed.
Tailor your message
So you’ve had a bit of success with Lean Six Sigma, and now you need to get in front of your leadership team to promote business improvement and ensure your fledgling implementation gets the support it needs to properly take hold.
Senior managers and directors are busy running the company, while online readers will dedicate seconds to an article before dismissing it if it doesn’t instantly grab their attention. Just as online marketers will tailor their content – ensuring that there is a ‘hook’ to tempt their key target audiences to keep reading – so too must Lean Six Sigma personnel tailor their approach if they are to keep the attention of the higher-ups.
The CFO will want to see concrete, credible figures; the HR department wants to see efficiency rather than increased demands on resources and the CEO wants to know how your project ties in with the company goals. Tailor your message to the interests of your audience if you want to gain support.
It’s all about promotion
As difficult as it is identifying and then running a project is, it’s not all that’s involved in a successful implementation. You need to make sure that everyone knows how successful you project.
This means getting hard facts and figures for how much you’ve saved, how much customer complaints have dropped, how much moral has increased, how many days lead time has been reduced by – whatever your headline figures are – and getting them in front of as many people as possible in order to convince them about the credibility of your efforts.
We see this all the time in content marketing. Writing a killer blog post is not enough, you need to promote it on all the channels you have available to you so that people actually read it. Otherwise you’re just shouting into a void.
Make it cultural
The best performing brands are those who deliver the same message from all platforms and have a great content marketing strategy that engages and excites the audience. This is usually built on creating a ‘culture of content’ within the organisation so everyone understands the marketing message and how the brand hopes to communicate with its target audiences.
A similar cultural strategy is necessary for Lean Six Sigma. Although you can see some great benefits from business improvement initiatives that are supported and carried out by small teams across a business, it is only when continuous improvement becomes embedded in the culture that you see really powerful change.
When everyone is involved they feel empowered to make the change that they want to see, rather than feeling dictated to and harangued. This creates on-going momentum for improvement and increases morale.
Lean Six Sigma and content marketing may not seem like they have much in common on the surface. But, by identifying the secrets marketers use to entertain, enlighten and persuade time-poor, cynical audiences you can influence and inform your time-poor, cynical management team.
Looking to get Green Belt training? Until the end of the year we’re offering a free online Yellow Belt with every classroom Green or Black Belt course booked, helping you develop a strong Business Improvement team from day one.