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June, 2012

ISITE's Katie Del Angel: Five Steps to Changing Your Agency's Approach to Content Marketing



What comes first: the content, or the content strategy?

Few, if any, content strategists would recommend producing content without a strategy in place, but Katie Del Angel took a slightly different approach.

Del Angel is a marketing specialist at ISITE Design, a digital agency with outposts in Boston and Portland, Oregon. Prior to the first quarter of 2011, ISITE’s content marketing efforts, like many agencies’, consisted of showcasing client work and a few staffers blogging occasionally (when not bound by constraints of confidentiality) about that work.

Del Angel identified an opportunity to set ISITE apart from the competition by sharing the expertise of its talented staff. Such skills are what distinguish the good agencies from the great, but prospective clients and current customers often do not have a chance to tap into that knowledge unless agencies regularly maintain a platform for accessing it.

Del Angel knew that in order to make a case for more consistent and engaging content marketing she’d need to rally troops to her side and shift the culture toward sharing its hard-earned, institutional know-how with an external audience. That’s a serious, often defeating task for entrenched executives-and an ostensibly even greater challenge for a self-described “newbie” in an agency filled with sharp, experienced employees.

But De Angel is one of those millennials who disproves every negative media portrayal of her generation. She persistently funneled her enthusiasm and energy into an effort she dubbed Team Content, which has given rise to three distinct blog channels for ISITE and doubled the amount of internal contributors in just one year. And she did it by implementing content creation and strategy concurrently.

Today, De Angel acts as editor-in-chief of those channels/publications: The CMS MythDare to Delight, andBuilt With Sitecore. She’s also a content marketing evangelist who recently shared some insights into ISITE during Confab 2012 in a lightning-round talk called “The First 100 Days of Content Strategy.” I caught up with her at the cocktail party following the day’s activities, where she offered five key takeaways from her presentation.

Build a team

Lower the bar to entry, inviting everyone to participate, not just upper management, front-line account managers, etc.

Shift the focus

Write more about what you’re doing than who you’re doing it for.

Expand the possibilities

Allow small ideas to rise up.

Take a content-first approach

Wait until you’ve got enough content to inform the strategy. It may seem counterintuitive, but along with the shift in topical focus come new ways of thinking about strategy. Don’t get locked into a strategy without knowing and understanding what kinds of content your new team is capable of producing.

Meet regularly

Hold monthly editorial meetings to continue informing and implementing strategy along the way.

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