Best Practice Toolkits
Does your company have a website? A blog? Send email messages to prospects and customers? If so, then your organization is already doing content marketing: creating and distributing digital assets for the purpose of achieving business results. But are you doing it well? While most marketers commit random acts of content daily, the intent (and true promise) of content marketing lies in having a defined content strategy that works hand in hand with the goals of your organization.
Let’s start with a loaded question. What is content? What ISN’T content is more like it. Digital content can be created in a wide array of formats from A-Z: articles, blog entries, contests, diagrams, e-books, free offers, games, how-tos , info graphics, jokes, knowledgebases, lists, music, news and opinion pieces, podcasts, quizzes, reviews, slide shows, toolkits, user-generated comments, videos, widgets, xml feeds, year-end overviews, and zany cartoons. They can all be part of content marketing.
So how do you build a strategy that ensures that you’re making the right decisions about content? In order to be effective, drive lead generation, and drive business, content needs:
- Context—Your work needs to be placed in the right venues for the right audiences. Organizations need to research their target customers and understand how and where they consume content. Often organizations will create personas based on their prospects’ demograpics. Each persona gets a name, age, role in organization, business needs, etc. You will need to ensure that all of the important constituencies in your organization buy into the personas, especially marketing and sales management. Once you have personas, you can start modeling their online behavior. Do they read blogs or trade journals? Do they trust analysts or their peers? Do they participate in social media? Which venues? By focusing on personas and modeling their online behaviors you can begin to narrow down the targeted venues and ensure that your content gets in front of the right eyes to drive lead generation.
- Timing—Potential customers want different kinds of content at different stages of their research and purchase process. Similarly, newly engaged clients need different content than those who are long familiar with your organization. Build a time-line for each of your personas and brainstorm what kinds of content they would need at each stage of their engagement with your company. What are the content items that will push them to the next level?
- Cost—Content marketing is expensive. It takes time and money to develop and manage. After you have modeled your personas and figured out what content they need at each stage of engagement with your organization, you need to set priorities based on your current business needs. If your organization is looking for brand new contacts to market to, maybe you should invest in “top of the funnel” online marketing venues like social media and a blog. If you need to focus on moving a small set of known prospects through the buying process, perhaps you will prioritize content that can be personalized to each prospect’s organization and business need. No matter what your current priorities, remember that you should have some amount of budget to keep new and existing content up to date going forward to maximize your content marketing and online marketing efforts.
- Creative—Your original content has to bring something new to the table in some way. Try to make it engaging and useful. Work hard to make it so enjoyable that your audience will share it with friends and colleagues.
Having a defined content marketing strategy ensures that your clients and prospects will get what they need to make informed buying decisions. Content marketing works hand-in-hand with marketing automation systems because as your prospects engage with your digital content, you gain insight from your customer’s digital body language. With this knowledge you can communicate with them (via email on the web) in a way that is aligned with their interests and business needs.
B2B Content Marketing is the best way to create top-of-the-funnel excitement that translates to revenue down the road.
Get the inside scoop on advertising on social media sites such asFacebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Foursquare.
Eloqua decodes the mysteries of Wikipedia.This short, info-packed guide to Wikipedia is meant to help marketers make the most of this important resource.
Discover why content is king online and how you can successfully leverage content to improve your marketing in this video.
Content Rules could be dubbed “the encyclopedia of content marketing,” that is, if encyclopedias were (a.) still relevant, and (b.) written by disorientingly upbeat people.
The Content Grid v2 Infographic shows how different kinds of marketing content map to different stages of the sales and marketing funnel.
Most marketers can come up with an idea for a clever e-book, quirky video or trippy infographic, but few invest the energy in actually producing any of those things.
This fun marketing cartoon is from Eloqua co-founder Steve Woods, recently nominated for the SLMA‘s “50 Most Influential Sales Lead Management Professionals” list.
The free vs. pay-wall debate taking place among the mainstream press mirrors a similar discussion among those adopting a content marketing strategy.