While the first part of the interview with Territory CEO Sandra Harzer-Kux delved into the positioning of content marketing, today we jump into the hard facts: When does it make sense for companies to set up their own department, how can you recruit suitable staff and why content marketing is a long-term investment.
Businesses need agencies
Gerrit: If content marketing is such a complex topic that seems to be steered by the customer and their products, is it wise to outsource content marketing to agencies over the long term? After all, content marketing is indeed a sales activity and sales are usually conducted within the company.
Sandra: Actually, businesses now tend to insource content marketing. However, our experience is that sooner or later companies end up losing a very valuable external point of view. They focus on their company and their products, and certainly their target group doesn’t automatically do that. We have to focus on the market and the target audience and know what is relevant to them.
For us, the competition is just as important as the customer itself. After all, everyone competes with an incredible number of other noteworthy and relevant content, and in the end you have to find a way to stand out. One of the most important KPIs is called “Time spent with the brand”.
How can you get your foot in the door and attract attention over the long-term? How can you get people to deal with your product, your brand and your business? I think it’s unbelievably hard to do that on your own, because of course you’re looking inward – through structure and organization – so that you lose your sense and creativity. That’s exactly why company needs an agency.
Content Marketers are hybrids
Gerrit: An often discussed topic covers how content marketing is sold. But there must also be people who actually do the dirty work: the content marketing services. Let’s look at the skill set of a Content Marketer: what qualities does a good Content Marketer have?
Sandra: That is a very good question. A Content Marketer is a hybrid. We are first looking for people, for example, that have come from the classic forms of media, i.e. journalism or television, or come directly from the creation of classic advertising. We know that content marketing as a discipline has its own requirements, so beginners must be given time to develop.
I have to be able to deal with data, to understand something about digital channels and technology, enjoy innovation. Creativity and design also play roles: I have to have a sensitivity for the tonality of my target audience. This is of course the maximum and doesn’t cover one individual. That’s why we use mixed integrated teams. A certain basic understanding of the other disciplines, however, is always a prerequisite.
Gerrit: To summarize, are Content Marketers then creative engineers?
Sandra: Yes, in a way. They are creatives who are not afraid of technology and data – keyword “performance marketing” – but they then use these possibilities as a basis for their creativity.
Content Marketers are not generalists
Gerrit: Would you say then that Content Marketers are more generalists because they have such a wide field to “survey?”
Sandra: No, on the contrary, I believe that Content Marketers are specialists and specialization is necessary. We have all disciplines such as conception, production and distribution, or even media specialists that fall under one roof. Our world is complex, and really deep solutions and concepts need specialists.
Through practice comes success
Gerrit: At the moment, you can’t study content marketing as a true “discipline.” Suppose now that a candidate is sitting in front of you during an interview. Which subject of study would you base that on?
Sandra: We take applicants from all disciplines with the most diverse academic education and backgrounds. That’s what I meant when I said we’re actually looking for hybrids. These are people who are interested in other things that are not limited to one small area. There is not one university program or training course that makes you immediately ready for hire. The market is far too fast-moving for that.
We do what is urgently needed. We are constantly changing and we need people who like it that way, and who like to deal with different types of things on a daily basis that find this process exciting and yet still feel at home in it.
Content marketing needs a curriculum
Gerrit: Does that mean that people learn content marketing through hands on experience? Do you have a special curriculum that defines what a Content Marketer needs to learn in the next 12 months to deliver the required results?
Sandra: Yes, in a way. Especially in the video area, we have realized that we have to train our own people, because there we have a sort of traditional strong suit. What we need are good storytellers.
Neither those who are good at commercials, nor those who come from the television industry and have been trained to do just that will not help us. We have our own training program and train employees ourselves at Territory.
Our specialists train and educate the other colleagues internally and we try to transfer this know-how within the organization, or to integrate the specialists into the projects so that everyone learns and benefits from them.
Content marketing needs time to grow
Gerrit: Sandra, we have now reached the end of our interview. What would you say to the readers who are interested in content marketing?
Sandra: You have to be aware that content marketing is a strategic decision and it takes a good deal of patience. You can’t just go full throttle and then take it back. It is a sustainable form of communication that takes time. Only if you have tried it out before, have provided the necessary resources and have taken the whole thing seriously, can it truly work.
Gerrit: Fantastic! Thanks so much for the interview!
That was the second part of the interview with Territory CEO Sandra Harzer-Kux. In the first part, the discussion involved an explanation of the general set up, the commercial perspective, as well as the positioning of content marketing within a company.
>> Gerrit Grunert’s book “Methodical Content Marketing” (currently available only in German) includes this interview, as well as uncovers other essential secrets for successful content marketing. Click here to order it now!