Backbone Media B2B Marketing Blog
Recent data indicates many marketers are dissatisfied with content marketing. In my first post in this series, I presented data that suggests content marketing is over hyped and not working for most. Then I posted a list if seven reasons for this ineffectiveness. In this post, I’ll detail seven ways to improve your content marketing’s effectiveness.
A Typical Content Marketing Workflow
I am defining a content marketing workflow as follows:
Plan Content Strategy > Capture Content Ideas > Produce Content Assets > Promote Content Assets > Analyze Content Performance
In short, by boosting your content marketing capabilities at every stage of this content marketing workflow you can maximize effectiveness. This is what I call MegaContent Marketing. Think of it like super-sizing your fast-food order, but with only healthy after effects. This means your team will be substantially more strategic, productive, promotional and analytical at relatively the same content marketing budget. The key? Utilize previously dormant company resources to help capture and promote more and higher quality content. Here’s how:
7 Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing’s Effectiveness
1) Make your content strategy more realistic.
If Rand Fishkin is correct, your target audience needs to familiarize themselves with your brand’s content up to seven times before converting. So why not accelerate the path to these seven quality touches. This means developing a strategy that maximizes touch points rather than maximize conversions. This is accomplished by producing much more quality content and promoting it across the Internet, not just in your silo-shaped social channels. Notice I said “quality” content. Without a focus on quality, you’re producing MalContent.
2) Develop a documented content strategy that emphasizes high quality.
Your first step towards higher quality is basic documentation. Did you know 59% of the B2B technology marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy feel they are effective? Next, you must realize that with so much sub-par content saturating the Internet, content is no longer king. The customer must become king and you should be producing content aligned with your consumer’s journey. This means understanding your customer’s every need and interest by building detailed personas, psycho-demographics and more personalized content. In terms of content context, it means telling the right story, to the right person at the right time. And finally, it means telling stories that make your customer the hero, not your brand, product or service. Become so damn relevant throughout your audiences buying journey that they can’t help but engage.
3) Make your content capture more efficient.
The increasing need for high quality content is putting a major stress on overwhelmed and under resourced marketing departments. Marketers can not and should not be creating content alone. It’s highly inefficient and costly. An efficient alternative is tapping into your company thought leaders as a content source. In fact, according to Laura Ramos in a recent Forrester Research report, thought leadership is the next wave of differentiation in B2B marketing. Increased thought leadership visibility yields increased market credibility and trust. And people buy from people they trust. For this reason, we believe a company’s thought leaders are the most valuable marketing resource. However company thought leaders remain a relatively untapped marketing resource as they don’t have time to write or edit content.
4) Simplify your content capture techniques.
To get the cooperation of thought leaders in your company, you cannot ask them to write or edit a blog post. It won’t happen. The solution? Marketing departments need to better leverage their thought leader’s most accessible skill, talking. For example Backbone Media just completed a successful thought leader marketing initiative where we spoke with thought leaders for ten minutes. Their overall feedback to me? “You make it easy!” The program is currently a 2015 MITX Award Finalist for Best Use of Online Video for a B2B. My takeaway? Make it so simple on content contributors that they want to do it again and again. Just have them talk!
5) Fully leverage your content production.
To be effective, you must separate out the content capture from the content production. So for every piece of content captured (hopefully via a thought leader’s recorded call), you should be producing mega formats of that piece of content. For example, given a ten-minute audio from a thought leader, a content production team could create the following:
- A video on Youtube (it’s really an audio / visual, see example here)
- A video on your Facebook page
- An iTunes episode
- A video iTunes episode
- A video on your website
- A Slideshare
- A Social Image (see example here)
- A blog post
- A post on Linkedin
- A post on Medium
- A G+ post
- Multiple Tweets
- A Pinterest Pin
Listen to Jay Baer’s take on how your marketing production team could be better leveraged.
6) Make your content promotion heavyweight.
Your brand’s own social media channels are becoming less effective over time. One reason is it seems everybody is doing it. Another is the social vendors have prioritized paid social over organic social. According to Chad Politt, that trend will continue. For these reasons you need to boost your content promotion capabilities from this lightweight brand-focused social channels to the heavyweight. This means along with considering adding these promotional capabilities below:
- Employee Advocacy
- Social Ads
- Retargeting Campaigns
- Content Distribution Networks
- Publicity Tools
- Byline Article Placement
- Guest Blogging
- Content Distribution
7) Focus your content analysis on more insightful data.
According The CMO Survey, spending on marketing analytics is expected to increase 73% in three years. Why? Marketing departments need to justify their investments. In today’s evolving marketing landscape where the buyer’s journey goes through a maze of online and offline channels, analyzing the contribution of these touch points has become essential. Content analysis that can expose the effectiveness and value of touch points across channels and across devices has become essential. Attribution technology that can expose the effectiveness and value of touch points across channels and across devices is considered digital marketing’s Holy Grail.
Here is a visual representation of the suggested workflow improvements above. I call it MegaContent Marketing since it’s focus is on super-sizing all stages of the content production workflow.
In the end, content marketing is constantly evolving and marketers who don’t adapt quickly will become malcontent. Those who do adapt should seriously consider MegaContent Marketing as a way to improve content volume, quality, reach and ultimately it’s effectiveness.