Tag Archive for: content marketing

If you’ve developed content at scale, you will appreciate this podcast, Making Your Marketing Agency Partnership Worth It, presented by the CMO Alliance. In this interview, Will Whitham, CMO Convo Podcast Host, and Zoe Zappa, CEO of Sharp Pen Media, discuss the pitfalls that can occur when senior content strategists and writing teams are excluded from top-level strategy.

3 primary talking points:

  • The difference between tactical and strategic agency partnerships.
  • How to identify the right agencies for your needs.
  • How to maintain an effective relationship to achieve success.

About Joe Zappa, CEO of Sharp Pen Media.

Joe Zappa is a content marketer, journalist, and academic. He has spearheaded content programs for dozens of businesses and served as Editor of the martech trade publication Street Fight from 2018 to 2023. Joe earned his BA from Brown University and his PhD in comparative literature from Cornell University.

If you want great content, give your development teams context and visibility into your end goals and key metrics.

Most content development professionals will resonate with this podcast and might experience a touch of PTSD as Joe surfaces some of the pitfalls and frustrations that can occur during the content development lifecycle.  Due to political and organizational hierarchies, a massive context gap often exists between portfolio-level vision and goals and what is shared with 3rd-party vendors and providers.

The information gap can create friction within the development teams. The strategist, writers, marketers, and technical experts often possess more insights into customer behavior, dashboard activity, first-party data, and overall marketing trends than the top-level executives. To avoid wasting resources and missing the mark, executive leadership teams should give the development team buy-in and visibility into the top-level goals, objectives, and end-user requirements.

Common problems with strategic and tactical misalignments.

  • Problem: In many cases, the time allotted for research does not align with the nature or requirements to deliver the type of work requested.
  • Reality: Writers and developers are not magicians or mind readers.
  • Solution: Bring marketing and writing strategists to the executive table and give them a buy-in, OR implement frameworks, set expectations, and provide paint-by-numbers instructions to help the development team bridge the gap between end-user requirements and senior-level vision.


  • Problem: Disjointed messages, improper funnel strategies, ineffective copy, low conversions.
  • Reality: Development teams need a strategic plan, roadmap, and end-level KPIs and OKRs. Asking content development teams to create content without a strategic blue blueprint is like asking craftsmen to build a house from your imagination. Imagine the frustration and wasted resources that would occur if you hired a team of highly skilled craftsmen but you were unsure of what you wanted to build or what the result would achieve. Your best workers would walk off the project, leaving you with providers willing to take your money but not necessarily the most qualified.
  • Solution: Give visibility and access to the following four things:
    • a) Visibility into the original intent of the highest-level strategy.
    • b) Comprehensive understanding of end-user requirements.
    • c) Access to subject matter experts, C-Suites, product owners – or whoever owns the primary voice of the content.
    • e) A breakout estimate of where you would like the writer to spend their time.

Strategic marketers and writers drive sales and pave the way for optimal customer experiences.

Marketing activities are often classified as a cost center fulfilled by technicians rather than a strategic force for driving customer acquisition, engagement, and conversion. It’s critical to outline project expectations from the onset to ensure all content and marketing tasks are aligned to achieve overarching company goals. A properly executed content plan and roadmap can help your team develop exceptional customer experiences. Here are a few benefits of a properly executed content marketing strategy:

How does a content marketing strategy help my business?

    • Attracts awareness.
    • Builds brand authority.
    • Engages, informs, and educates prospects.
    • Promotes conversion activity.
    • Supports service after the sale.
    • Helps with retention and online brand management.

This podcast discusses the difference between creating a strategy and executing a tactical list.

  • Tactics are assigned at the team level but must be aligned with portfolio-level strategic themes.
  • Executives should create the objective key results (OKRs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) they expect from content marketing, website development, or paid ad campaigns. The plan should define measurable outcomes and assign budget guardrails. Once the content team knows the objectives and budgets, it can help develop the roadmap and submit it to executive leadership for approval.
  • It’s best practice to use proven frameworks to define corporate vision, goals, and expected results and create roadmaps and budgets.
  • Give the content development team the big-picture goal of what the executive leaders expect to achieve through their corporate websites, content marketing, and paid advertising.
  • Set a regular cadence to check content status and ensure keywords, funnels, on-page copy, images, CTAs, triggers, and CRM segmentation lists are set for optimal conversion.
  • Benchmark, analyze, measure performance, and be prepared to tweak content and adjust plans to meet market demands.

4 Tips for capturing your voice to optimize your content marketing.

  • Watch out for the bait-and-switch! Agencies use their top sales talent to pitch and earn your retainer, often sourcing the work to junior fulfillment partners. It’s a good idea to ask for the team lineup before signing up with an agency or provider. The backend producers are the folks who will pull your analytics reports, watch your data trends, and ultimately write on your behalf.
  • Take ownership of your voice. Do the work, show up, help with keyword research ideas, know your competitors, and bring that info to the writing/strategy team. The more you drive the narrative, the more the content will reflect your unique knowledge and expertise.
  • Choose a content strategist/writing partner/writing team who will dig deep into your business to understand your unique value in the marketplace and will work to understand your customer’s needs and buying intent. Find someone to communicate your intent in marketable language to drive engagement and deliver maximum impact.

Would you like a strategic writing partner? Book a discovery call here.

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Tag Archive for: content marketing