February 20th 2013
There’s loads of, well, content out there on the rules for producing great content and marketing it. Here we’ll bypass the soul searching and head scratching and just give you the tools to get on with it. So let’s make it simple.
Content marketing has one aim: Lead generation.
One aim, achieved in three steps (we sometimes call these ‘pillars’, if we’re feeling grand):
Create, promote, convert
And that’s as complicated as it needs to be.
Create: The objective here is to develop a content marketing series which is effectively self-perpetuating. This is not about a rambling soliloquy or a single minded rant, it’s about producing a juicy piece of valuable insight that your customers and prospects will chomp at the bit to get hold of. Think of this piece as the ‘hero’ to your campaign (or the lead generation hook) and develop it with plenty of ‘spin-offs’ in mind (the bait piece content to draw your prospects in).
Let’s not sugar coat this – of the three steps this is the most arduous, but if scoped and written properly with the long game in mind, you’ll end up with a pre-packaged campaign that you can drip-feed with ease to your market over a number of months. Happy days!
Promote: Once you have your lovely shiny new content you need to get it into the hands of your prospects. So this step is all about using every relevant marketing communications tactic to do just that. You know your audiences, and as part of your customer profiling you no doubt also know the best ways to reach them.
Decisions need to be made on the most appropriate formats and channels, so take time to think about whether they’re more likely to switch on to video, a DM via snail mail or a conversation on LinkedIn.
Think about a test and learn project for your first campaign – put a little budget towards different tactics and see what works best. Trial some multivariate testing around your online campaign. Consider PR opportunities – both to your core audience and more lateral influencers. Think about external parties who might be persuaded to push your content out for you.
Above all, make sure everything you do drives traffic back to the hero piece. Because that’s where the exchange of value happens, enabling you to get that all important data in the net.
Convert: This is the critical bit. Otherwise you’re just producing ‘stuff’ without a clear goal in mind – and though it might appeal to your inner Chaucer, it’s not going to deliver on your content marketing objectives and get some leads in your pipeline.
Remember then with everything you produce and promote, all roads should lead to Rome (or your very nicely designed content landing page). Don’t give your audiences too many options. Don’t distract them with other messages. Don’t be tempted to cross sell or up-sell (the content itself can do this for you).
B2b buying cycles can be complicated things, but for the purposes of your content marketing campaign just define a simple conversion hierarchy and grade digital interactions with your hero piece and spin-off activity accordingly.
Content Marketing Cookbook Tip:
Looking for more detail on the concept of a prospect’s digital interactions?
Search for the phrase: ‘digital body language’. There is an excellent book on the matter by Steve Woods of Eloqua (marketing automation) fame.
For more info, and many more recipes for success, check out the B2B Content Marketing Cookbook