Before you get onto the nuts and bolts of creating a content marketing campaign, you may like to consider a few guiding principles. These are some of the ‘fluffier’ but necessary factors to bear in mind for success with content marketing:
(The following is included, alongside many more recipes for success, within the B2B Content Marketing Cookbook:
1. Think like a publisher
Inform, educate and entertain.
Publishers know how to create and promote content. They do this stuff for a living.
For ideas on the title for your next content marketing piece, don’t search the resource library of your competitor’s website. Instead, go to your local newsagent and see how the publishing industry works to proven formulas to sell content.
You will see clearly signposted emotional benefits, blended with tangible figures that create a perception of easily digestible information:
- Seven ways to get a better figure this summer…
- Five new recipes to make your next dinner party something special…
- Become a better guitarist in 24 hours…
- The six guiding principles of content marketing…
2. Tell stories
What’s the most popular business video on YouTube? Steve Jobs’ Stanford University address. It begins with a simple line:
I am just here today to tell three stories.
People can relate more to the human experience. The best content marketing strategies exploit this. It’s not always possible to create drama and heroes from your recent network installation case study. But please give it a try – people have been using stories to sell ideas since the dawn of time.
3. Give IP away freely
A common challenge presented in editorial decisions around content is just how much IP to give away. A fear of giving the baby away with the bath water, so to speak. Content marketing operates on a proven formula – that there is typically a huge payback for giving the market valuable information that can help solve its problems. The inherent positioning created as a trusted problem solver, rather than vendor, has huge implications for the volume and quality of leads generated.
Price negotiations down the line take on a whole new dynamic. If your prospect finds you through your high value content, then where does the negotiation power lie?
Yes, competitors may gain a bit more of an edge on how you think. But aren’t you saying something very important to them?
“If we are prepared to give this amount of good stuff away for free, then imagine how much we’re holding back!”
4. Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose.
Repurpose is one of the most used buzzwords in content marketing. But it is a buzzword worth remembering for two key reasons
1. Repurposing makes your content sweat harder for you.Multiple formats mean multiple exposure opportunities. You are just repackaging, not repeating.
Ok, so you are repeating. But the prospect who finds you through the SlideShare presentation synopsis of your whitepaper won’t care, as they still found you!
Just don’t repeat the same content on the same platform. A ‘follow’ is likely to lead quickly to an ‘unfollow’ if flogging a dead horse is the way you choose to promote your wares.
2. People absorb information in different ways.
Let’s not get all NLP, but people are different. For every visual person who can only take on board an idea through a one minute video, there is another who much prefers long and detailed text. Different strokes for different folks – your content marketing strategy should reflect life’s rich diversity.
5. Honesty is always the best policy
If you’re struggling to come up with valuable market insights, then you are probably clutching at straws. People can sniff out filler content immediately from the real stuff. Just be honest and move onto your next potential theme.
Also, be honest in how you outline potential solutions in the subject area you are covering – even if you don’t like them. It will gain you a lot more credibility to actually note other approaches to solving the problem that may not include your own end solution. People are going to look at other options anyway. Why don’t you save them some of the hassle in your content marketing piece?
And be honest when you’re selling. The lion’s share of your content will be real meat, not thinly veiled brochure copy. However, don’t fear putting in place signposts and calls to action that point people on the path to purchase. Just make them clear and obvious. Prospects know you are not producing content as a public service.
6. Common sense rules
Your objective is to get your treasured content into the hands of your prospects. If you have a very niche proposition and know pretty much who the addressable market actually is, then contact them directly.
You could take the hard path and engage with them in a 2.0 community of interest. Or you could get your content in their hands directly through good old-fashioned DM and email. You don’t get any extra bonus points for the level of difficulty involved in generating a lead!
For more info and even more ideas for the perfect content marketing recipes, request a free limited edition copy of the B2B Content Marketing Cookbook, or download the eBook now here.