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If You Aren’t Doing Content Marketing, You’re Missing The Boat

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

The Content Marketing Institute together with Marketing Profs and Curata released an essential study recently.

You need to read it.

Why? Because it found that 75% of companies are increasing their investment in content marketing, and 43% are increasing staff levels. Content marketing works, and I’ll show you how and why in the next 3 minutes.

Chief marketing officers have repeatedly recognized the need for a core content marketing team. And this team doesn’t need to be led by a CCO — chief content officer — a role which is being retired at many companies. Instead the successful content leader typically has a marketing operations manager or writer/editor title. Their job is to develop and orchestrate a content strategy across the company.

What’s Your Marketing Mix? Credit: Bluewire Media http://www.bluewiremedia.com.au/web-strategy-planning-template

Content Marketing Works

Content marketing is all about non-egocentric (i.e., end-user-focused rather than product- or company-focused) content that helps buyers with their jobs and careers. This content adds value—that’s why it works. Yes, you can include a smidge of product content woven in with the value-based message. Also be sure to publish via multiple content channels. As a result you will speed up the process of providing the necessary nine to twelve high value touches, which is a rough standard for B2B conversions for marketing efforts.

Four Keys To Successful Content

1. Use SBM (safety, belonging, mattering) in your messaging

2. Use meta-programs: when you have a blend of different meta-programs you need to use them all, since the brain deletes information not relevant to it. The good news is that this actually works!

4. Have three or more of the five curve elements:

C for Curiosity: does the content make the recipient curious?

U for Urgency: does the content make the recipient want to take action?

R for Relevance: is the content relevant to the recipient’s situation or context?

V for Value: does the content reflect the recipient’s values and/or is it valuable to the recipient?

E for Emotion: does the content evoke emotions in the recipient? Is it funny, fascinating, surprising…?

In addition to multiple channels you’ll also want to repurpose your content to ensure your reach is to the greatest potential relevant audience. As we know, if you only post one type of content in one specific way, you are only reaching a small percentage of your entire audience and potential prospective customer base. Let’s look at some examples of content marketing that worked.

Blogs

According to Content Marketing Institute, 80% of B2B marketers include blogging in their marketing and 53% of B2B practitioners say they are achieving greater success now than in previous years. They attribute that increase to spending more time on content marketing, which includes blogs. The trend from “snackable content” to “sumptuous feasts” is rising. Consumers want to trust their information sources and are expecting that content be researched, accurate and worthy of their time and attention.

After many years of blogging, I have found that posting value-added blogs, on a regular basis, continues to deeply resonate with my audience. Based on views and comments, I am able to determine which blog content resonates the most and repurpose this information so that it can be shared on different channels and in different ways (infographic, SlideShare etc.) to reach a larger audience. When you create content that works well, reuse it in at least six different ways (including webinar, podcast, guest blog, video, etc).

Infographics

One of my clients posted their first infographic on LinkedIn. It had 3,674 views in the first 72 hours, which resulted in 22 leads. Conversations are now in process and we’ll see how many of those convert. Next, they emailed the infographic out to their list and had open rates 83% higher than usual.

Emails

One of my company’s clients held a reception after a conference and had a goal of setting up meetings with those that attended. He sought my help in crafting an email that would compel the recipients to agree to a meeting. After we edited the message, using a blend of different meta-programs, this email received a 20% response rate—meaning 20% of the recipients agreed to the call to action (CTA), which was a meeting with our client. This was a new record for the company!

LinkedIn

We created a case study that celebrated the success of one of our clients. We used a combination of channels to distribute this information. First, we posted the case study to LinkedIn with a CTA that took the recipient to a LeadPage. The LeadPage had a CTA asking them to opt-in to our list to receive one of the resources that was mentioned in the successful case study of our client. The conversion of the LeadPage was 68.5%. The automated email that we sent out to those that opted in (which contained the value added resource promised) had a 92.9% open rate and 82.1% click rate. These numbers, combined with the feedback from those that received the resource, showed us that our content, which combined safety/belonging/mattering, meta-programs and high-value, resonated with our audience.

Slideshare

We started using SlideShare 90 days ago. We have posted two presentations that contained content that was repurposed from popular blog posts, and have had a total of 2,672 views. Our one presentation had over 300 views over the course of two days. We now know that SlideShare is a social media channel that resonates with our audience and will continue to post on a more frequent basis and test different CTAs to determine what resonates the most with our audience and what is compelling them to convert.

4 Content Marketing Mistakes That Will Wreck Your ROI

Here’s what we do know: content marketing is a massively effective method of increasing ROI and overall customer engagement.

Here’s what we don’t know: content marketing is not as easy as whipping up some content and tossing it into the oven of the Internet. Careful consideration and strategy is required, and sometimes, even with the best intentions, major mistakes can be made right from the get-go.

Are you happy with your content marketing results?

If not you may be making one of these crucial mistakes.

Recently I sat down with super brain Amanda Milligan at Fractl (an online marketing agency specializing in engaging and emotional web content on the web). Here’s her advice:

Mistake #1: Content That’s Too Branded.

Content that looks like a traditional ad will be responded to like a traditional ad — like you’re just trying to sell and not engage. If your content is presented in a more natural, organic way, people will be more likely to receive it well and not merely consider it an endorsement of your company’s credo.

Fast Fix: 

  • Form ideas around the overall values and objectives of your company, not the brand itself. For example, if you’re a car insurance company, create content about safe driving, not about how to find the best insurance out there.
  • Place your logo on content once in a noticeable but not eye-catching area. The bottom of an infographic or a single link in an article work well.
  • Use subtle methods of incorporating branding, like fonts or colors, that don’t immediately call attention to the company but are reminiscent of the brand.

Mistake #2: Not Getting Your Involved.

If you’re using outdated approaches to content creation, like anticipating the communication stream only going one-way, you’re in for sub-par results. Consider every content strategy to be a conversation, and be sure to facilitate that back-and-forth. It’ll open doors for new customers.

Fast Fix:

  • Comments and other means of feedback can allow your potential customers to interact with your content and thus feel more connected to it. Create channels to facilitate the building of relationships, either through comments or social media.
  • Craft content that’s interactive — allow the audience to click, explore, and participate. You can do this with interactive graphics, quizzes, maps, and other multimedia.
  • Listen to what your audience is saying. They could be telling you exactly what they want to see and learn, but if you’re not paying attention, you’re missing countless valuable opportunities.

Mistake #3: Conveying Facts But Missing Emotion.

Content isn’t all about teaching and informing; it’s about connecting and experiencing. All you have to do is tap into humanity. Tap into what brings us together in real life — the emotions that ignite empathy — and you’ll have content that’s both memorable and impactful.

Fast Fix:

  • Don’t think of content as an article or instructographic — think of it as a story. Ask yourself: What does this information actually mean to the person reading it, and how can I illustrate this? That’s when the story comes in.
  • Read your own content. Write down three words about how it made you feel, being as specific as possible. If none of these words are an emotion or they’re too vague (and are instead “informative” and “interesting” rather than say “surprising” and “inspiring,”) start from scratch.
  • Consider incorporating the emotions that often lead to virality in order to give your content an edge right from the beginning.

Mistake #4: Overthinking Content And Missing Context.

Sure, content can speak for itself. But think about it this way: You can write an incredible book and leave free copies all over town, but virtually no one will read it. Why? With so much content available, everything is about curation, meaning getting your content published in the right place can mean everything.

Fast Fix:

  • Don’t just think about what sites get the most views — make sure to carefully consider where your potential customers are and target the sites they visit.
  • Create a team of media relations specialists who can build relationships with publishers. This team should be at least equal in size to your content development team.
  • Study how to send out pitch emails. Make sure the headline is eye-catching and to-the-point, and make sure the body of the email succinctly explains:
  1. What the content is about
  2. Why you’re pitching it to this publisher
  3. Why the audience will enjoy it

If you’re making any of the above mistakes, now is the time to improve your process. Once you’ve identified your pain points and you’re creating the right content in the right place for the right audience, you’ll see big changes in your ROI.

How is your content strategy working?