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Coming together: The voices of content collaboration

By Microsoft in Business Team on November 29, 2017

Filed under Microsoft in Business

Collaboration is a cornerstone of the digital workplace. Mobile applications, always-on content, refined productivity solutions—many modern innovations are designed to break down barriers and unite organizations across desks and departments, and for good reason. We may be fine on our own, but organizations and individuals really start to thrive when they work together. That’s equally true for your content marketing campaign.

Collaboration reinforces your campaign, whether that’s by providing a second writer to shoulder the workload, or by introducing design or interactive skills that may be outside your initial capabilities. Today, we’re going to explore why collaboration is important for your content marketing campaign, a few alternative collaboration options, and the tools we use to keep everyone on the same page.

Why collaboration is important

The initial benefit to a collaborative content marketing campaign is fairly straightforward—it spreads out the workload. Working together within your team shares the weight of content creation across multiple writers, designers, and strategists, rather than expecting a lone creator to shoulder the responsibility. But, that distribution also works to play to the strengths of your colleagues. Visual artists can champion your design, creative writers can enhance your blogs, and strategists can paint a more vivid picture of your ideal audience and how to reach them. Establishing a content team pairs your writers and strategists with editors, and even researchers and designers to help improve the overall quality of your content.

A fresh perspective

Beyond task distribution, collaborating on your content campaign creates the opportunity to bring new perspectives into your creation. We all bring our beliefs into how we create. Folding additional colleagues into your creation process expands those voices in many positive ways. A coworker might have a fresh take on a topic you might have exhausted, or a unique perspective about one of your services that could make for a great blog piece. Additional voices also help widen the scope of your campaign by challenging your own assumptions. Maybe you’ve always thought your brand voice ought to be assertive and technical, but other team members see the brand thriving in a more casual and relaxed space. Each creator brings their own experiences to the team, and together your collaboration experience helps to enforce, expand, and improve your content.

Thinking outside the office

Part of what makes content marketing such a compelling tool is its ability to create a dialogue with your audience. Social media exchanges, blog comments, and video responses present an opportunity for back and forth between creators and their audience that traditional marketing solutions could hardly imagine. This level of brand accessibility helps build a sense of community within your audience, but, even further, that back and forth presents new options for collaboration directly with your audience. Whether it’s creating case studies and success stories, or further exploring a positive customer review for a rich human interest piece, your audience is a valuable resource for content.

This mindset is the entire premise for our Real Stories of Digital Transformation campaign. Since Fall 2016, we’ve reached out to our customers and partners to hear their experience with Microsoft products, and have discovered great innovations and insights from their journeys. Together, this campaign equips us to celebrate our customers and their vision, while promoting the capabilities of Microsoft’s latest products and services.

That content community also extends to other thought leaders and innovators within your industry. Finding someone your audience trusts and giving them a feature on your campaign legitimizes your claims with an outside voice. This also helps expand that creator’s audience and exposes your content to the guest’s existing community. Like with building your internal content team, looking outside your workspace for content simplifies the creation process, leverages new strengths, and expands your perspectives and opportunities.

Tools for collaboration

Often, the challenge with collaboration is keeping everyone on the same page. Maintaining deadlines, portraying a consistent voice, even just understanding the overall goals and ambitions of the campaign become more and more difficult with each addition to your team. There are dozens of project management resources out there with varying capabilities and price points, but here’s what our content teams rely on to help keep everyone on track:

Office Online

The browser-based version of the standard Office suite (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), Office Online operates similarly to your desktop suite to help you create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. The benefit of the Online experience is the added option for multiple creators to work within the same document at the same time. Creators can share access and manage user permissions between “View-only,” “Suggested edits,” and “Full access” options. Users can collaborate in real time, and jump between documents from any device with internet access. Office Online works with the user’s Office 365 subscription, and hosts each document within our next collaboration tool: OneDrive.

OneDrive

OneDrive is a cloud-based storage solution that links every member of your team to a single server. By hosting content in the cloud, your team has always-on access to the documents, apps, and resources they need, from nearly anywhere in the world. Users can create projects within OneDrive, upload them from their desktop, or download them to a variety of devices. This global access means your team isn’t limited by who’s in the office that day, and creates a centralized location where working and finished projects can live.

Microsoft Teams

The latest addition to Office 365, Microsoft Teams offers your content team a place for real time communication and work flow management. By combining intuitive chat features, and file sharing resources with calendar and meeting planning tools, your organization can maintain constant and clear communication across different groups, while providing them with the resources they need to thrive.

By uniting your team, audience, and tools, the collaboration helps create more engaging content in efficient and manageable ways. We’ll explore some of these points further in the future, including building community content and audience engagement. Until then, check out our latest feature, Deciphering the mystery of the successful blog post.

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