Collaborative Content Creation in a Virtual World

How does a firm accustomed to in-person marketing teams adjust to a remote workforce?

That’s been the question on many marketing leaders’ minds since the pandemic began and many teams went fully remote. Sure, some forms of content creation are easy to move to a remote setting. For example, a blog post can be written from basically anywhere with an internet connection. But content creators focused on other formats faced major roadblocks by not being in the office.

Take a video team, for example. Even if the behind-the-scenes crew isn’t as numerous as what you’d find in the credits of a Hollywood feature, most B2B video production still requires at least a handful of people to be in the office (or in the studio) at a shoot.

No doubt, being remote puts some limits on what’s possible from a content marketing perspective. That, however, doesn’t mean that the forms of content you have available at your working-from-home fingertips will be any less effective.

How can B2B firms maximize the value of virtually created content?

Agile content marketing teams must be open to experimenting with new formats, even if it means occasionally leaning on an outside vendor for assistance. This is an opportunity for the whole marketing department to get together and rethink how they use content within the broader context of their marketing strategy. Even if a company has gone back in person, modern firms should learn from 2020 and be resilient to the need for their workforce to go fully remote. Besides, who knows if further Covid related restrictions might come along.

To reach that end, companies should reexamine their Buyer’s Journey and Content Maps to find a solid, remote-ready substitute for each content format that requires in-person collaboration. For example, if you already have vendors lined up for event planning for in-person events, it could be worth building out your network and connecting with firms specializing in virtual events. That way, regardless of the format, you have something filling in the gaps for each need and tool within the Content Map.

Go-to content for a remote team

If creating a live-action video is out of the question, consider if a text/icon-heavy, lightly animated video could deliver a similar message. Again, the exact format isn’t always what’s important here; it’s the desired outcomes you’re driving toward.

On a similar note, virtual events can be an excellent substitute for those held in person. Though the objectives might be different – virtual events can often be more geared towards long-tail brand evangelization and thought leadership than an in-person conference, which can be focused on short term profitability from the conference itself (though this is not a hard and fast rule) – both formats offer a fantastic opportunity to showcase your product offerings and the content that’s developed in anticipation of the event.

As explained in a previous post that outlines the pros and cons of virtual events:

They allow attendees from any part of the world to join in on the action.
They’re much more affordable, possibly allowing something to take place that wouldn’t have been possible at a live price point.
They’re increasingly easier to pull off, supported by plenty of emerging technologies tailored specifically towards online events.

Even a podcast, which many may assume are often recorded in the same studio, can be recorded remotely from several disparate locations. A solution like Iris can help make the recording easy, no matter where each speaker is located while keeping the conversation in high fidelity.

The emerging trends allowing virtual content to thrive

Luckily, this age of content creation coincides perfectly with an upwelling of collaboration and production tools purpose-built for specific content formats. Take as an example of a video production solution perfect for a distributed workforce. Adobe’s acquisition of the company points to where Adobe sees their broader solution portfolio heading: Remote work always being top of mind, even in solutions previously thought to be exclusive to in-person collaboration.

As discussed earlier, one of the most notable shifts in the content landscape has been the move from in-person to virtual conferences. It’s hard to say what the staying power of virtual events will be when the option to go in-person is there. That’s especially true when many attendees of virtual events point out some of the obvious negatives: The power of in-person still rings true, and the long-held advantages of professional events have always included the ability to network, to put a face to a name, and to enjoy an upscale dinner on the company card. In other words, all the things that happened outside the keynotes, sessions, and workshops by virtue of sheer geography and togetherness.

That being said, the quantity of companies experimenting with virtual events over the past couple of years has provided a testing ground that confirmed remote conferences can provide real ROI – at least when executed properly.

Additionally, many Augmented Reality solutions are coming into the fold that give your conference a sense of space that’s otherwise lacking when you jump from zoom link to zoom link. Check out this interactive platform built by Aircards for Nutanix’s virtual conference as a great example of this. And as companies continue to invest in similar technology, virtual conferences may become increasingly viable over the long term.

In conclusion, the impact of content marketing doesn’t have to be diminished just because the format is changing. For example, if an animated video fills the same need as a live-action shoot within your Content Map, there’s no need to be partial to one or the other. Then, if the content must be created remotely, you’ll be well prepared to execute on the obvious choice.

You don’t even need to change out of your sweatpants to create content that delivers.