Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

What lean content marketing should actually be – especially in large organizations 

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Some so-called content marketing experts have shared their own definitions of what lean content marketing is and isn’t. Here are my steps on how lean content marketing can actually be most helpful – especially the larger an organization gets.

The model of “lean (insert industry)” stems from lean manufacturing, as Charles Duhigg shares in his book “Smarter, Faster, Better – The Secrets to being Productive in Life and Business.”

Toyota revolutionized this model by pushing day-to-day decision making – all of it – to the most front-line staff employee. Assembly row workers could stop the production line without manager approval, for example, if a problem existed or if they had run out of time to fix a problem. Yup, it cost Toyota money by the minute when the line stopped but it ultimately made them all more money and build a community around a shared goal: To produce the best product.

In content marketing, lean content marketing can happen the same way. Whoever is closest to a problem or a situation gets to make the decision and move forward. Right now. In the moment. There’s no waiting for days because some manager has to approve it.

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Many organizations still approve blog posts, social media updates and responses by committee nowadays. Sometimes that makes stories better, but not usually. How many meals gets cooked by committee? Ha.

Lean content marketing looks like this: 

  • Leaders and teams set the strategy. Make sure this is written down and fits on 1-3 pages. Anything longer will likely never be referred back to.
  • Define roles and responsibilities. One person is in charge of editorial planning. Another of responding to social media responses and scheduling. Etc.
  • Establish an informal way to communicate. A group instant messaging chat can help. The more informal, the more likely communication is and that helps team members learn from each other.
  • Go and inplement.
  • Continuous review of metrics. (But be aware that when you are first getting started there will be a ramp-up period.)
  • Occasional team check-ins to see what is and isn’t working. Make sure team members know not to wait to share relevant in-the-moment information until then.

Running a lean content marketing program – which should be part of your overall digital and offline marketing strategy – can help with a number of things:

  • You’ll be more efficient
  • You’ll stand out positively with your target audiences
  • Your employees will feel empowered and valued. The culture will be a recruiting advantage.

Lean content marketing can help organizations be better and more relevant longterm.

And as Duhigg reminds us in his book, people work smarter and harder when they have decision-making power. Of course, bosses will need to support those decisions to make it work.

Contact me here if you need help getting started.


Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph ctrappe@christophtrappe.com 319-389-9853

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