If you plan to go global with your content, you need people on the ground in your markets to implement your content marketing strategy. Managing teams all over the world requires a different method of management due to unique obstacles, and we’re not just talking about time zones. Here is a primer on how to prevent your content strategy planner from tearing their hair out over these obstacles.
How do you establish rapport with people scattered all over the globe? Priority one is creating ways where all of your teams can talk to one another and share content. There is no right or wrong way to do this so long as all teams are using the same tools. This may prove challenging in some countries due to restrictions on software, but it’s important. Teams that can’t communicate won’t be able to serve your content marketing strategy effectively.
Time zones are another barrier to overcome. There’s no getting around physical geography and world agreements on when to set our clocks. Depending on how far apart your teams are, you will need to have some flexibility in your schedule so you can meet with distant team members during times when they are awake (compos mentis) and productive. This usually means squeezing meetings in at the edge of work days to avoid having teams wake up at unsociable hours. Come to an agreement with your teams about acceptable meeting times and what to do in case of emergencies. A great way to achieve this is to have an agreed set of working procedures.
If you have the budget, you should also consider traveling to meet with your teams every so often so they can associate their work with a face from the head office. Video conferencing also helps in this regard, but people in other countries really appreciate the time and effort it takes to travel to distant lands.
if you haven’t had much experience working with foreign cultures, there can be many differences that you’ll find frustrating at first. The culture of work and social relationships can be very different from one country to the next. Here are some ways to overcome these.
First, learn about the differences and respect them. This will be a learning experience at first, but there are books such as the classic Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands that will help you through the fundamentals. You need to be able to see how your team views the world before you can start to change it toward a compromise that works for both of you. In nearly all cases, it’s possible to find a compromise solution.
Next, work with your teams to create a unified V2MOM statement. This funny acronym stands for Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures. Global companies like Salesforce apply this in their marketing and sales teams.
Creating one of these with your teams will ensure that everyone stays on the same page and understands what the goals of the team are. From this foundation, specific systems and frameworks can then be developed to handle the day-to-day operations and expectations of team members and management.
By working together with your content marketing team on these, you’ll establish a good rapport with your members and demonstrate leadership. Dictating things from on high will only cause alienation, especially if what you demand conflicts with a cultural or religious practice.
Finally, stick with the statements you agreed upon and live those values. Creating the V2MOM is a little like creating a new hybrid culture where both you and the Overseas team agree to operate within to avoid conflict. If you start going against what you’ve created together then you’re not going to produce a good result from your collaboration.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to avoid many of the problems that come from starting new global content marketing teams. When you overcome physical, communication, and cultural obstacles, you’ll be able to use each team’s diverse strengths to achieve your content strategy goals.