Shweiki Media has teamed up with Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, to present a webinar how to build a successful content marketing strategy.
Let’s start with a quick overview of the mass volume of information that is being sent out today. The infographic shows that in every single minute of the day, we are getting about 4 million email messages and Google is seeing more than 4 million search queries. There are millions of pieces of content out there. How can you stand out?
The Brand is NOT What You Sell
In the context of marketing, consumers tune out unnecessary noise. So how does one break through the noise and get the customer’s attention? Leading brands are starting to realize that, in terms of content marketing, the brand is not what you sell. The brand is an accumulation of every experience you deliver to the consumer. The content readers pay attention to is not the promotional stuff, but rather, it is the content that educates and entertains them. As brands, we need to think about our content as the product and not the product itself.
In a world filled with vast amounts of information and content readily available, content consumers just want brands to stop. The average consumers are doing everything they can to avoid promotions in any situation. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and start creating, publishing and thinking like a publisher in order to create content and experiences that people are actually interested in.
“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” Craig Davis
Content, today, has to compete with cute pictures of babies and kittens. When thinking about the kind of content your organization is creating, do you think it can break through the noise and go viral like those cute puppy pictures?
The purpose of content marketing is to earn your audience rather than buy it, attracting an audience rather than interrupting them.
What is Content Marketing?
There are many ways to define content marketing. This venn diagram is a good way to simplify it.
Content marketing is the overlap between what brands publish and what customers want. This requires empathy by the brand to think about what customers are looking for and create content based on those needs.
Content Marketing Maturity Curve
“The buyer journey is nothing more than a series of questions that must be answered.”
The best way to answer these questions is by publishing content to a primary channel. The next step is optimizing subscriptions and offers and then distributing content across several social media channels. After distributing content across different earned media outlets, the next step is distributing it to paid media and measuring its ROI.
Best Practices of Content Marketing
There are 7 key factors to content marketing success:
- Documented content strategy
- Have someone accountable for content
- Map content to Buyer Journey
- Consistently publish quality content
- Balance paid, owned and earned media
- Focus on content subscribers
- Track content marketing ROI
Every single brand or client that I have worked with that is committed to measuring the effectiveness of their marketing efforts has shown a large increase to their overall marketing ROI.
Content Marketing Framework and Roadmap
Take each one of the answers from the framework and define what you need to do in a step-by-step fashion to get your company on the right track for content marketing.
Companies are often hesitant to publish content on branded channels and invest in content marketing. This requires a business case. A business case often comes down to a company understanding that they are reaching, engaging and converting buyers they would have never reached if not for content marketing.
You are attracting an audience that is doing web searches, then providing the best answer to the questions they are asking Google. If you can successfully optimize your platform while doing this, then you can convert those buyers.
Content Marketing’s Mission and Values
The mission of content marketing is: “Become a premiere destination for [what target audience] interested in [what topics] to help them [customer value].
One of the most important distinctions between effective and ineffective content marketers is that effective ones have a documented content marketing mission statement. While this may seem very simple, the desired outcome of a mission statement can be difficult to achieve.
Be Uniquely Valuable
Brands can become consumed with their brand story and not their customers. A large majority of customers do not want to hear about your brand story so do not become consumed with it. Instead, be consumed with the customers needs and be uniquely valuable to them.
The way to be uniquely valuable to customers is to focus on them, the topics they are interested in and the questions they are asking.
The Buyer Journey is a Series of Questions
Brands should define each question customers are asking at each stage of the buyer journey. Once brands know what questions are being asked, they can develop a content marketing plan. Remember, there are a hundred more people asking “What your product is?” and “Why is your product category important?” than “How can I become an expert?”
Content Architecture Mapped to Buyer Journeys
One way to envision a content marketing map is a funnel. The funnel diagram exists in marketing mainly to show that there are people at the top of the funnel asking more questions with a greater information need than the bottom. Think about the size of the audience.
The audience asking early stage questions is significantly larger than the audiences asking middle to late stage production questions.
Know What Content Your Audience Shares
I like this site called buzzsumo.com. Buzzsumo allows people to type in any search term, for example “product category.” If you type in “product category” on Buzzsumo, you can see what is the most shared content in that category. You can also use your own domain or URL to see what is the most shared content on your own website. Another way to use this site is by typing in a publisher’s site and looking at the top publisher to see what content is most shared. This way you can get a sense for the right kind of content to think about and create. How can you create content that attracts an audience and gets them to read and share it to their audiences as well.
Volume is Important
To be noticed, brands have to strive to make their content the best. In terms of volume, Hubspot found that when brands increase the frequency of publishing, even with an average level of quality, they see higher reach, more traffic and more conversions.
The Right Mix of Content
What is the right mix of content for your site? Normally, it is good to follow this type of breakdown:
- Custom Content: Sharing brand stories that are created specifically for the brand. (10-50%)
- Licensed Content: This type of content is used to boost credibility and direct traffic with a high volume of fully licensed, compliant content. (10-20%)
- Community Content: Leverage content from customers and employees that influences and engages the community. (50-80%)
Content marketing does not have to be expensive or difficult. The best way to start producing content at a very low budget is by looking at your community and leveraging current employees by asking them if you can repost content they are already creating. Often brands can do this for free.
Content Marketing KPI Framework
When measuring the success of content marketing, begin with the end in mind. Brands that focus on subscribers tend to measure brand awareness, brand health, conversions, and retentions.
Subscribers are nine times more likely to convert than non-subscribers. Whatever it is you are offering on you website, whoever subscribes to your content is 9 to 10 times more likely to convert than non-subscribers. B2B buyers engage with 20 pieces of content, on average, and 90% of the content they are consuming comes from their inboxes. So when you can get more subscribers, there is ultimately more value in it for you.
Here is a dashboard you can use to help measure content marketing. It is best to look at the volume of articles published and the amount of promotion behind it, social shares and conversions, and search traffic. Always make sure to drive engagement and conversions.