40 Content Marketing Tips To Extend Your Content & Reach
Content marketing is white hot! Over 90% of marketers plan to use content marketing according to Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs.
It’s a no brainer since prospects trust content and use it in the early phases of their purchase process before they contact your firm!
To get into their consideration set, provide the information your prospects seek in response to their needs and wants. Quality content marketing has to work unaided by sales and customer service before prospects are ready to contact you.
Don’t think it matters to your customers? Think again.
Buyers are between 67% and 90% of the way through their shopping before they reach out to you according to Forrester Research.
The problem: Many marketers need more content marketing budget due to content marketing’s recent explosive growth.
- Businesses haven’t aligned their content marketing budgets with their current content needs.
- Businesses view content marketing as a separate marketing activity that’s not integrated across their organization.
- Businesses haven’t developed content marketing best practices to use their existing resource at maximum efficiency.
So what’s a budget-strapped marketer to do to get additional resources?
Think inside your organization to leverage, improve and extend your existing content and distribution.
Most companies create huge quantities of information and correspondence as a part of their on-going business. BUT most of them don’t think about how to improve and use this content to respond to content marketing triggers.
To extend your content marketing budget start by assessing each content or information related activity to:
- Convert existing information and communications into quality content that can appeal to more people.
- Increase the distribution of existing content to a broader audience.
The secret to stretching your content marketing budget
Here’s how to stretch your existing content related assets and budget across your organization with 40 Actionable Content Marketing Tips.
1. Perform a content audit of existing business content to aggregate and catalog your organization’s existing content assets.
- Organize and tag the useable content to make findable when you need it in the future. This eliminates the need to re-create the same information that already exists.
- Update, improve and re-envision content where appropriate or necessary. Generally this is less expensive than creating content from scratch.
- Fill holes in your content assets. Don’t underestimate the possibility that some of these elements exist in employees’ files or on their computers.
2. Assess your website content to determine whether this content provides value to your prospects and visitors and is optimized for search. It should be updated on a regular basis and accessible across device types. Make sure your content:
- Provides detailed product information including photographs and videos (where appropriate).
- Includes your physical address, phone number, customer service and email access. It should also allow purchase where appropriate.
- Answers customers’ questions. Give your prospects the information they seek otherwise you may loose them to your competitors. Marcus Sheridan drove $2 million in sales with this tactic.
3. Offer easy-to-understand product-related information. It should sound like a human being and not need a PhD to read it.
- Transform product information from dry and boring to being useful information people find easy to use. Where appropriate add photographs, video and/or audio.
- Create easy-to-follow instructions. Write them for your target audience in plain English. Don’t just include the stuff that’s required by law. Add information that helps your end-users.
- Think outside the box. Make your packaging useful whether it’s recipes or other fun information. Consider how else you can re-imagine this information for sharing on social media or your website.
- Post product information on your website. Since most packaging doesn’t provide sufficient space, continue your content online. Make sure that it’s search optimized and easy-to-find.
4. Get sales involved in your content marketing efforts. Find out what type of information their prospects and customers want.
- Create easy-to-adapt sales presentations and content salespeople can quickly modify. At Citibank, I worked on an intranet site that enabled our bankers to do this from the convenience of their computer anywhere in the world.
- Transform sales collateral into useful content. Think about how to chunk and enliven the information so that it’s more useful.
- Answer customer questions in human terms. Where appropriate add photographs, charts, audio and video. Distribute this content across channels.
5. Help customer service reduce inquiries for common questions.
- Collect the questions your customers and prospects always ask. Even better, get them to draft answers to these questions. Then all you have to do is copyedit it into easy-to-understand language and make it visually attractive. Distribute this information across platforms.
- Leverage customer service emails to distribute other marketing messages and upsells. Often the challenge is having systems that know what information to include. At a minimum, add a P.S. that applies to everyone.
6. Review Marketing and MarCom where you’re already creating information and communications. Transform these materials into quality content that can be distributed across multiple platforms.
- Assess your advertising efforts. Are there ways to capture behind the scenes looks that your prospects and customer may be interested in? Think advertising outtakes. Of course, don’t forget to get rights to use this information in your talent contracts. This is important since this is usually a big chunk of your marketing.
- Extend the magazine quality of your catalogs. Create easy-to-share content that works online and on social media. Again consider the outtakes.
- Evaluate your customer communications. Think beyond your regular push promotional emails. Include your purchase email sequence and your sales communications. How can you improve their quality? Can you upsell prospects?
- Transform your email newsletters. Dare we suggest that you make them newsy and interesting. The goal is to get them opened. Think Daily Candy applied to your business.
- Give your one-pagers and other related content a make-over. Provide quality information in an easy-to-consume format.
- Transform existing white papers into must view e-books and presentations. Share them on SlideShare and other social media venues. Don’t overlook the potential for the sharability of the more comprehensive slides. Todd Wheatland had amazing results when he changed 1 whitepaper into 3 SlideShares for Kelly Services yielding 250 sales qualified leads.
7. Expand the power of your PR department. PR professionals are good at outreach and are often creative at how they achieve their objectives.
- Use press releases to extend your content marketing reach where appropriate. Get the word out.
- Leverage your firm’s media connections. Give interviews and provide articles where appropriate. (Of course, it’s critical to do your homework first.) At The Economist, I got an article placed promoting our travel site in the South China Morning Post with the help of my Asian PR colleague.
- Connect with influencers. Encourage your PR department to become your ambassadors to expand your reach through influencers.
- Ask for help distributing your quality content marketing. Use blogger outreach and other means to expand your content distribution.
8. Get senior management into the act. Both internal and external audiences need to see them. The key is figuring how they can best communicate with diverse audiences. When I worked at Citibank, our division executive was great at rallying the troops in-person. We converted his talks into video (in the pre-Internet days.)
- Create an executive platform for your key executives. Think audio, video or blog.
- Leverage the power of live events. It’s particularly important to show your c-suite in action.
9. Ask employees to lend you a hand. Of course, you have to supply the necessary support including creative, copyediting and technology. Also, make sure that you have a set of social media guidelines in place.
- Get your employees who know your products best to explain them via text, photos, video and audio.
- Encourage employees to tell what your company is like from the inside.
- Extend the power of employee attendance at conferences and events. Get them to take photographs and write up summaries. Make sure that they get releases where needed.
- Request that members of your team create useful content. This doesn’t just mean people in Marketing and PR. Where appropriate, you can incorporate this into their job.
- Invite employees to share your content on social media.
10. Re-envision your firm’s human resources information. Some companies create a lot of internal communications. While doing a project for a Fortune 100 firm with 50,000+ employees globally, I recommended using their employee emailings to extend our marketing reach at no cost. I was told employees knew about the offers.
- Develop more human-oriented, easy-to-consume information. Consider sharing it on social media platforms like LinkedIn and SlideShare to promote your firm to potential employees.
- Create interesting company newsletters. Consider breaking the content into shareable bites for social media where appropriate.
11. Transform your investor relations communications into plain English content.
- Answer investors’ questions. Assess whether this information should be placed on your website.
- Re-envision your annual report. Convert it into an online document that can be used for other purposes as well.
- Use investor communications to distribute your content marketing more broadly.
12. Encourage customers to contribute to your content marketing efforts. Remember you can’t say this explicitly.
- Get customers to share their photographs and experiences with your products, either on your website or social media.
- Ask them to rate or review your products. Amazon does a great job of this by emailing customers a week after their purchase. Realize that it’s better if you find out from your customer that there’s a problem than if they tell others.
- Incent customers to share your content. Where appropriate reward them for bringing in friends and family via special offers.
Bear in mind that you’ll still need support from resources across your organization including copyediting, design and technology. The objective is to remove the fear of creating poor quality content. Also you’ll need analytics and project management to keep your content creation on track.
Going forward, keep a working list of your content marketing ideas in your editorial calendar as well as in your marketing plans so that you don’t lose important ideas.
The secret to stretching your content marketing budget is thinking within your organization. Assess how you can leverage your current content related plans to create quality content.
What’s your secret for stretching your content marketing budget? How is it working?
Even though Content Marketing World is finished until next September, you can still get all the content from 2014's exciting conference. The CMWorld On Demand package includes: Audio and video from the 2014 keynote sessions, audio and PowerPoint presentations of all the breakout sessions, over 40 audio sessions from the leading B2B and B2C brands, as well as keynote video performances.
An annual gathering of the best and brightest content professionals on the planet. People who know the secrets (and are willing to share them). People who value content as a business asset. People who have made it their life’s work to develop repeatable, systematic approaches to producing amazingly effective content.
Join the discussion on Tuesday, December 2 - Time: 2 PM (EST) / 11 AM (PST) to learn how small and medium sized businesses don't have to have an entire content marketing organization (or budget) to be successful in content marketing.
Joe Pulizzi, Author and Founder of Content Marketing Institute and Werner Mansfeld, President of NetLine Corp, discuss realistic and actionable methods for your company to get awareness, consideration and sales leads using marketing content – without the budget or resources of an enterprise-level organization.
Here are just some of the questions you'll get answered:
- What is content marketing and why is it important?
- What do I need to have in place to compete effectively using content marketing?
- How do I drive sales leads and get a positive ROI using content marketing?
- How can my small business (or budget) compete with my larger competitors using content marketing?
- What can I start doing today to start seeing results?
Joe Pulizzi and Werner Mansfeld are experts in Content Marketing and Content Syndication. Learn from their combined experience how to take advantage of content marketing for your business, no matter the size.
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