Cath Vallence, content editor at Sensis, talks about business partnerships.
1. What are three of the biggest challenges with business partnerships?
If managed well, sourcing content through a business partnership can be an extremely efficient way to bolster a brand’s content marketing strategy.
Although there can be pitfalls if the relationship falters.
One of the key challenges is ensuring contacts on both client and supplier side work well together and are able to think laterally.
Working client side inherently means you’re exposed to all the nuances of the business. It’s critical that you can synthesise this and keep your content partner up to date on relevant information so that the content is on-message, aligned with your business objectives and adheres to your brand.
The most blatant risks to a business partnership include a lack of communication, perhaps one of you has changed your outlook or there is unresolved tension of some kind.
2. What are three of the biggest benefits to entering into business partnerships (as opposed to conducting certain projects in-house)?
As content marketing becomes more pervasive, the opportunities to tell a brand’s story have increased and are available in more ways than ever before. Having a content partner means you have access to a high volume of content that can be leveraged in more ways than if done in-house.
External partners are also invaluable in providing fresh perspectives on how to create content that helps consumers make informed purchasing decisions.
Lastly, business partnerships offer enviable opportunities for cross promotion. This could be through lead generation, social media networks, email marketing, content sharing or sharing ad space to find new audiences.
3. What are some of the elements that make a company great to partner with?
Obvious examples are responsiveness and reliability but a good working relationship between the editor of a content supplier and the content editor on the client side is critical.
There needs to be an honest and open rapport that can withstand critique because typically information is required quickly and turnaround times for content can vary within large organisations.
Having a similar background for these roles, whether it be marketing, journalism or brand strategy, can also help a smooth working relationship.
The ability to work well with the content supplier’s account manager is also paramount because they will be able to earmark opportunities that will enhance the business’ content marketing.
4. What do you recommend as the best method for a company to go about finding a partner?
You should begin by researching the market to find a business partner that is obviously non-competitive with other clients but has experience within your industry.
Doing a bit of homework on their website and previous client list will be useful and following them on social media platforms is a good idea also.
You’re entering a contract so you need to be aware of the risks and know what will happen if issues arise, perspectives change, costs are not clear, and what happens if outcomes are not met.
5. What have you learned through working with partners?
On the client side it helps to have a content editor or strategist who will be the one conduit and manage the external partnership so that there’s consistency with the strategy and overall execution.
This person should steer the editorial voice over time and be clear about the target audience so the content messaging is clear. Any insights such as branding nuances or sensitive areas need to be communicated to external teams so your partner can deliver appropriate content for your business.
Overall though, how you collaborate with your partner is critical and if you don’t have a solid working relationship it will be difficult to deliver on what should be successful content marketing.