Does Your Content Marketing Improve Business Results?
Since the average person receives 5,000 messages daily, you need content marketing organized by the 5 different content categories to achieve your overall business and marketing goals.
86% of B2B marketers used content marketing according to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs 2015 research.
BUT only 35% of B2B marketers had a documented content marketing strategy. That’s a mere 1 out of 3 marketers. This is an important point since the research found that following a documented marketing strategy yields higher results.
Interestingly, after taking the time and resources to create a documented content marketing plan, only 42% of marketers followed their content strategy closely.
Translation: A content marketing strategy is mostly corporate busy work to be sent to corporate management and ticked off a To Do List.
But here’s the real content marketing problem:
- 70% of marketers plan to create more or significantly more content over the coming year.
Important Content Marketing Consideration:
- If this additional content, requiring budget and resources, isn’t associated with your key business goals, how useful or effective can it be?
Content Marketing Problem:
- Without a documented content marketing strategy how do you know what type of content you already have, what specific types of content you need, and which content is most effective for achieving your business objectives?
What can you do to ensure that the content you create going forward supports your business goals?
Ideally you should stop now and create a content marketing strategy to get your content efforts on track to generate leads and convert sales.
But you probably don’t have the luxury of stopping your current work to develop an effective content strategy. Even worse, the idea of adding one more thing to your To Do List translates to anxiety, not relief.
Content marketing Solution:
- Make sure you have the following 5 different content categories.
5 Different content categories that will help you increase sales
Here are 5 different content categories that will help you increase sales.
1. Core content
This is the information your customers need to know about your products and company before they’ll include you in their consideration set.
Follow Marcus Sheridan‘s “They ask, you answer” approach. (Here’s a case study of how one article generated $2 million in sales.)
Core content doesn’t have to be mega-budget big content. (I know that some will consider this heresy.) What’s most important is that your content helps guide your prospects to purchase from you, not win industry awards.
Include the 5 basic content types customers need to know before they’ll buy from you. Make this content available across distribution channels because customers both B2C and B2B will do their shopping research online without your help.
- Product information
- Customer FAQs
- Customer ratings and review
2. Ancillary content
This is the supporting and additional content. Think of ancillary content like the bonus tracks on a DVD.
What additional, related content can you create to inspire your audience?
- Take your prospects behind-the-scenes to show them how your product is made.
- Let your prospects get personal with your employees through interviews and videos.
- Encourage your customers to share photographs using your product.
Kapost created a webinar and Slideshare explaining their success.
It’s most resource effective (read lowest cost) when you plan for this extra content in advance and don’t just take the scraps from the cutting room floor. (There’s a reason that they weren’t included in the original.)
3. Re-imagined content
Plan different versions of your content to ensure it’s contextually relevant to each specific platform. Again, this is best planned in advance to maximize resources and include it in your content creation contracts. (To understand why re-purposed content is a win, read this article.)
Want some inspiration for re-imagined content? Here are 50 (almost) free ways to repromote your content.
This is the related content and comments that your employees, customers and fans create in coordination or as a result of your core content.
Commentary works best when your audience creates it out their desire to share with their circle of friends and social connections such as Facebook and Instagram posts.
Be prepared for negative feedback and be ready to take the issue offline and fix the underlying problem. This requires management support and customer service resources.
To this end, encourage your audience to talk about their experiences. For example the Barcelo hotel did a great job of this by placing a Facebook kiosk in their lobby. (Want more help, check these 6 other examples.)
This is where you maximize the value of your own previously published content by using it in the creation of new content and the re-promotion of old content, giving it new life. It has one or more of the following attributes.
- Makes content contextually relevant on one or more new platforms through the use of new headlines, images and/or excerpts.
- Extends content into a new format by re-imagining or repackaging it.
- Targets new audiences through distribution on new media entities and/or repromotion on the same platforms.
(BTW, here’s how to make the business case for content curation.)
5 Tactics To Create Different Content Without Feeling Overwhelmed
Before you feel overwhelmed, follow these 5 actionable content marketing tactics to get your content on track to succeed.
Determine where you still need content to fill the 5 different content types.
2. Curate existing relevant or evergreen content.
Take the quality content you already have and distribute and promote it to maximize your reach. (Note: This is a key advantage of having a curated versus original content strategy.)
3. Update or re-imagine existing content where appropriate.
This requires less time, resources and budget to fulfill your content marketing needs.
4. Create missing core content.
This is the information that’s crucial to your business. Remember that your prospects and customers seek it before you even realize that they’re in-market for your offering.
5. Encourage your employees and fans to support your content marketing efforts.
Understand that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Get your employees and customers to help you with commentary, photographs and distribution. The key: Make it fun and easy for them.
The bottom line: Content marketing requires a documented strategy that is aligned with your business goals.
Based on your content strategy, you need to create content that attracts prospects and guides them to purchase from you by giving them the information they want and actively seek, not what you want to create.
To this end, you must create these 5 different content categories: core content, ancillary content, re-imagined content, commentary and internally curated content.
Of these 5 different content categories, which do you have the most trouble creating and why?
A Revolutionary Approach to Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer, 2nd Edition, by Marcus Sheridan.
I've written often about Marcus Sheridan's approach to marketing. His book is one of the must-have guides for every marketer.
Now, for a limited time, you can get the updated edition as an ebook absolutely free!
Read the AMG Interview with Marcus Sheridan on the first edition of They Ask You Answer.
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