Today’s marketing environment celebrates in-house content as a must-have for any business trying to grow and retain an audience. Here Shweiki Media Printing Company teams up with Joe Pulizzi, founder of The Content Marketing Institute and author of Epic Content Marketing, to present a must-watch webinar educating viewers on five elements to consider for quality content marketing.
Nine out of ten businesses use content marketing in some way. Unfortunately, just 40 percent believe that their content marketing is effective. How many businesses have a content marketing strategy? Less than 30 percent. Content marketing is the idea that one is going to create valuable, compelling and relevant content, on a consistent basis, in order to attract and retain customers and create some kind of a behavior change. Consistency is key. The reason most content marketing programs fail because they stop, or they are inconsistent. Instead of looking at the traditional media model where one creates content in order to monetize their audience through advertising or paid content, one should create an audience to generate trust and credibility and be able to sell more products or services down the line. There’s no direct sales information in the content marketing. That’s the key.
Element 1: Sales, Savings, or Sunshine
There are only three reasons why one would induce any kind of content program: to create sales, to replace another initiative in order to save money or for sunshine–aka doing things to create happy and loyal customers, retain customers and encourage customers to buy more.
If one has ever been to Copyblogger, it will look something like this:
If one looks at the website itself, one might think that the blog is a media site for copywriting. But after taking a closer look, one will realize that Copyblogger is not a media company but a software technology company—one that generates the majority of their revenue from their 200,000+ subscribers. Copyblogger goes out and creates ongoing and amazing content. They then get viewers to opt in to their email newsletter or blog, and then down the road—after they have developed a relationship with their audience—they end up selling products to them.
Jykse Bank out of Denmark wanted to get their name out to Denmark football fans and engage in some sponsorship, which would traditionally cost them millions of dollars. So instead of paying to piggyback space on someone else’s content, they decided to create Jyske Bank TV, a television station run directly out of Jyske Bank headquarters. Jyske actually thinks of themselves as a media company, and they have a state-of-the-art studio, they have developed an audience, and they are generating an extra tens of thousands of people to their site. In the end, those same football organizers who had required that Jyske Bank pay millions for sponsorships are now asking them to provide media coverage for free, all because they have a new developed audience.
The Furrow by John Deere is a great example of what we would call sunshine. It started in 1895, and today John Deere is publishing content to 40 countries, in 14 different languages, with a 1.5 million in distribution. That is the largest media operation in the farming industry, and they’re not even a media company. This exemplifies the value in becoming a leading expert in one’s industry—no matter what the industry is
Many companies do not know why they are on social media, such as Facebook. Before a company can properly engage in social media they must first ask themselves: “Why are we doing this in the first place?” It is important to create a “why” for each social media channel that is created for a company. Make sure to list all the ways a company is distributing and articulating content through social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, blogs, webinar series, etc. Why do companies use this particular social media? I have found that after doing this exercise not one company has been able to successfully articulate the “why” for their social media channels they are using. It is very important that companies are on the right channel at the right time with the right message.
Element 2: Create a Content Marketing Mission Statement
The first thing a company must do when launching a content marketing strategy is to create an editorial mission statement. This is something that brands never do. If people want to do a content marketing strategy in any way they must get a strategy set before starting anything else.
Home Made Simple at first glance looks like a Better Homes and Garden or a Martha Stewart website. It is actually owned and operated by Proctor & Gamble. They have at least 6 million people subscribed to their website. Wouldn’t it be great to have marketing that is so good that it doesn’t seem like marketing? What did they do? Well, they started with a content marketing mission statement.
“Enabling Women to Have More Quality Time with Their Families.”
Why is this so important? Let’s take a look at their content. There are not any six hour recipe on this site because it does not go with the mission of the media property. Right? Because women want to have more quality time to spend with their families, not spend it cooking for six hours. These are the things companies should keep in mind and be aware of. Who are they targeting? If someone wants to create a brief, set up a weekly blog post and make sure there is a mutual understanding of the mission statement.
Indium Corporations Blog has been blogging since 2005. They have 17 engineers who blog on a regular basis. They focus all their attention on their engineers, the experts. There content marketing mission statement:
“Help engineers answer the most challenging industrial solder questions.”
It is a very specific mission statement that helps them become the leading expert over that particular content niche. Their goal is to become the leading expert and build an audience around that.
Inc. is a magazine for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Its mission statement reads:
“Welcome to Inc.com, the place where entrepreneurs can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing businesses.”
There are three parts you need to complete to create a successful mission statement.
- Core Target Audience: Also known as a persona. Overall, many companies have six to nine personas or audiences they target depending on what product or service the company is offering. In order to be successful, a company needs to offer only one persona.
- What will be delivered? Be sure all content is comprised of useful information and that the content itself remains pure. It’s imperative that all sales are kept out of the business content.
- The outcome for your audience: Business owners must ask themselves two questions. One, how can they be more profitable? Two, how can they get more revenue? That’s it. How are they going to deliver this outcome and every piece of content? The point owners need to drive home is “here is what we are going to do for our audience.”
Creating your own mission statement is very important. About 99% of all businesses do not have this and that is why I believe businesses are declining.
Element 3: Don’t Build Your Content Ship on Rented Land
Facebook: For example, let’s look at Starbucks. Starbucks has over 36 million likes on Facebook. They spent millions of dollars getting people to like their Facebook page. See what happens with their Facebook algorithm. 5% or less of their organic posts make it to the people who have connected with that brand. That means that 95% of the audience will never see those posts coming through and that is a tragedy. Starbucks built this audience, this amazing value but they don’t own it. They have been building this ship on rented land all along.
It’s the same for Google+. It is such a mess and we do not even know what will happen to them.
Media companies will use these channels in order to get people to sign up, building their audience. A company should never put all of their eggs in one basket like many of these companies have done.
Linkedin recently opened a publishing platform. I think everyone needs to look at Linkedin. I do not care about how many followers I have on Linkedin. I want to focus on creating compelling content that resonates with my target audience. Resonates enough with them that they will go back to my website and sign up for a e-newsletter because that is where we have the most control over our audiences.
Let’s focus on the subscriber as a key metric. This is really important. It’s like we have done for years in the circulation business; we focus on the audience. That is the value, that is where the value is and how, ultimately, we figure out if our target program marketing is working or not. Copybloggers have 200,000 subscribers and they get them to sign up which is where 99% of their revenue originates from.
Food and Family magazine has 1.5 million paid circulation with Kraft Foods. This makes a huge difference for Food and Family because they are able to launch new products and data based on data obtained from Kraft foods.
Think Money Magazine is a magazine that goes to active traders of stocks and derivatives. These are active, active folks who doe this as a living. It has been proven that people who subscribe and receive this magazine will actually trade five times more than people who do not. If I’m a marketing person, a publishing person, etc., that is all I need to know. That is a game changer, folks. So, we have to ask this question: “What’s the difference between those who subscribe to my content and those who don’t? Even publishers are not necessarily great at figuring this out. What I want to start doing is figuring out these questions. Who is subscribing? What’s their behavior like? How long does it take them to subscribe? What is that holy grail of metrics? I think the best place to start is with the opt in email subscriber. Yes, even today, I still think email is the best option.
Element 4: Leverage Influences, Then Build an Audience
A company can be creating a lot of content but it may not have the audience for all the content you have made. To fix this problem, companies need to create an influencer strategy in order to build that audience. Rarely, will people have an audience that is built around content creation.
Influencer hit list:
An influencer hit list answers the question of where are my customers hanging out when they are not on my site. Tools to use to find this information out:
- Google Alerts
- Twitter hashtags
- Alexa (website)
- Social Media Management Tool
These sites can give some good data about where customers are hanging out after visiting a company’s website and who is talking about the type of content it is publishing.
Let’s use Twitter as an example. The 4:1:1. It is important to come up with 6 original tweets. The first tweet can be a sales tweet talking about the product and services. The second tweet should be about content like blogs and podcasts. The other four tweets should come from influencers posts that are relevant to the audience and content marketing mission. These tweets will come from the influencers themselves. By tagging those influencers, they will know that a company is sharing their content. It is important to build relationships with them. If I share content from them everyday for a month, the influencer will take notice and when I reach out to him or her, the influencer will be more receptive to hear me out.
Assets: The Content Marketing Playbook. We took 26 out of 42 case studies on content marketing from influencers. 24 out of 26 of those influencers shared to our audiences. We didn’t have a large enough audience at 3,000 so we turned to our influencers and we were able to reach a lot more people. It can’t stop here, though. We have to continue to move forward. Most people who come to our website will never visit it again. When people go to our websites we want them to return therefore we need to give them a reason to. It’s a value exchange. Surprisingly, over 60% of our daily sign ups come from pop up ads.
Element 5: Open Up Your Wallet
The buy or build scenario. Influencers are filled with individual bloggers which are filled with media companies and those are filled with associations and they all have subscribers.
Adorama buys JPG magazine: JPG magazine was going bankrupt because they didn’t have enough advertising and they were looking for a buyer. An investing group lead by Adorama bought JPG out. Why? JPG magazine is an enthusiast photography online media platform that had 292,000 photographers as their audience. Adorama sells photography supplies. Adorama’s target audience was JPG’s subscribers.
In conclusion there are 10 things to take away from this:
- Set your Goals for Sales, Savings, or Sunshine
- Why are you using each channel?
- Focus on readers outcome
- Create a content marketing mission statement
- Don’t build your content ship on rented land
- Focus on subscribers as a key metric
- Build an influencer list to build an audience
- Bake influencers into your content
- Create an engine to get and keep subscribers
- Consider buying
Any questions or comments: