I’ve become a student of latest ideas on “content marketing” in the past several months, and it seems to be you can boil it down to a few key learnings and tips:
- Be credible: the most credible content these days have to deliver good value to the information consumer – which is why white papers, case studies and webinars (some) seem to top the list of many surveys I have seen on effective content. More and more, B2B audience have great BS detectors and quickly ignore marketing blah blah blah. If you are still doing this type of buzzword-laden content….shame on you!
- Know your audience: developing personas will help you attack the problem with scalpel like precision vs. a shotgun approach in terms of content format and substance. You should also be good at understanding the likely attention span of your audience. C-level execs – 2-5 minutes for an infographic or video. Technical influencers / architect types – 15 minutes for a white paper.
- You can’t do it all yourself: unless you’re a super-genius, don’t need sleep and can write like Shakespeare and Carl Sagan combined, you simply cannot generate all this great content yourself. You need to become a content “Producer” or “Director” and not the “Script Writer” in a theatrical sense. If you do like to write, indulge yourself with an occasional blog or case study. Personally, I have learned to leverage a strong team of external designers and writers and I set up a very successful Content Factory on our corporate intranet (based on wiki-tool Confluence). More on this in a future blog.
- Provide a positive feedback loop to content contributors: I give out a quarterly award to best content contributor for the quarter. Your best staff are naturally competitive, so once you starting naming quarterly winners, your best contributors will natural want to outdo each other. Amazing how a $50 Amazon gift certificate gets competitive juices flowing. I also make a point to give by-line credit to the authors and to use their photo thumbnails for articles and blog posts.
- Executive support is key: the content factory can only be successful if you get contributors. And you will only get contributors if you get management support. At my company, it’s part of the quarterly MBOs of product management, sales engineers, and professional services staff. Though it’s a bit ironic that my CTO is one of the toughest guys to nail down for a blog post or article ;-)
There are some other tips like “repurpose content”, etc., but my last bit of advice is: THIS WILL TAKE TIME. But once the content factory gets going, it will delivery great material to supercharge your lead gen and it will make your life much easier so you can work on that Great American Novel in your spare time.